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Environment Agency boss slams ICE's 'unsustainable growth' plans for airports and seaports


ENVIRONMENT AGENCY chief executive Barbara Young this week criticised the ICE for backing the unsustainable growth of airports and seaports.

She said that last week's State of the Nation report ducked the issue of deciding how many airports and seaports could realistically be expanded.

State of the Nation called for the expansion of eight UK airports and says that all of the UK's commercial ports were 'crucial in developing and implementing a sustainable, integrated transport strategy'.

On airports, Young said: 'The reality is that most of the airport expansion is based on exponential growth, but you cannot predict this.

'Environmental concerns over air travel and the rising cost of fossil fuels will increase the cost of ying, which will have an impact on passenger numbers.' She added that a strategy for expansion was needed and she would have liked the ICE to be calling for an aviation tax.

However, State of the Nation panel member for Airports Richard Lambert said: 'We were producing something that was factual rather than polemic. We weren't going to hand out soundbites on aviation taxes when more research needs to be to carried out on the environmental effects of air travel.'

State of the Nation also called for government to invest in the expansion of the UK's 100 ports to ease congestion on the country's roads and help regenerate local communities.

But Young said the government should focus on a small number of ports that have large potential for commercial growth, especially as any expansion is likely to mean the shifting of important natural habitats.

However, State of the Nation panel member for Seaports John Chaplin said that these issues were likely to be addressed in the Marine Spatial Planning section of the forthcoming Marine Bill.

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