Gov't will no longer consider closing Bromma airport
The government will no longer consider the closure of Bromma airport in Stockholm. The Green Party regrets the decision, but says there is not sufficient support in parliament for a closure.
Last year, the government appointed a special investigator to look into the future of Bromma Airport, which is the third biggest, but also the most centrally placed, airport serving the Swedish capital. The new political majority in Stockholm, made up of Social Democrats, Greens, the Left Party and the Feminist Initiative, had demanded that the government also reviewed the possible closure of the airport, to make way for much needed housing in an attractive part of town. This became part of the task for the investigator Anders Sundström.
But on Friday, the government decided to remove that particular part of the directive. Sundström's inquiry will only be looking into whether the capacity of the airport can be increased and what possibilities there are for new housing in the vicinity.
"This means that he will not be looking at ways to finance, or the time-frame for, a closure of Bromma Airport," clarified the Minister for Housing and Urban Development Mehmet Kaplan, from the Green Party, in an interview with daily Dagens Nyheter.
The reason for the decision is that the Swedish parliament twice, in no uncertain terms, has told the government that it does not want an inquiry into the closure of the airport. The four centre-right Alliance parties and the Sweden Democrats are against closing the airport, thereby overruling the government.
The Green Party has pushed particularly hard for an investigation into the closure. They mean that the location of the airport affects not just the ground that the airport itself is on, but also the area around it, making it impossible to build high-rise buildings in the vicinity of the airport and the route the planes take when they come in for landing.
Housing Minister Mehmet Kaplan says he regrets the decision, but that the motion by a majority in parliament means there was no other choice.
In Stockholm City Hall, Traffic commissioner and Green Party representative Daniel Helldén says he would have liked his government to make a different decision, but he puts the main blame on the centre-right opposition.
"A government must be able to investigate such a thing, because we need to know if it is possible to build apartments on this land. Now we have a debate about this, and we won't get all the facts. We can't get a decent discussion if we don't make this investigation," he told Radio Sweden.
"I don't know why the parliament should intrude in the government's right to investigate things. It is another thing if they decide something. If the parliament says something about a decision - I could understand it. But this is just an investigation, why shouldn't the government be able to investigate such a thing? I can't understand it, it is ridiculous," said Helldén.