Thursday, December 3, 2009

Labour isolated in favour of airport expansion plan?

On Thursday 19th November, Manchester Council Planning Department approved the demolition of 200 year old cottages,and a neighbouring environmental and historical oasis on Hasty Lane. This to make way for an extra airport freight hanger to double its air freight capacity. Campaigners from the Stop Expansion at Manchester Aiport group were inside and outside the meeting to show their support for the residents. All five votes in favour of the demolition of the 2 cottages came from the Labour Councillors despite the wishes of the local residents, environmentalists and even local Labour Councillors who had previously rejected the plans at the Wythenshawe Area Committee on 22nd October 2009.
Intended Plan for Hasty Lane This very unpopular decision has even been described as "worrying" by the Tories. Marie Raynor, the Wythenshawe Conservatives spokesperson commented that “to allow the demolition of two cottages, the destruction of a meadow, and the removal of a habitat for local wildlife sets a bad precedent. It sends a message to ratepayers, that Manchester's Councillors put the interests of big business before those of the people they were elected to serve.”With the Greens, the Lib Dems, Tories, residents and environmental campaigners opposed to the plans, it seems Labour are increasingly isolated on the issue. A coalition of English Heritage, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit, the Council for British Archaeology, local councillors and residents and SEMA have all opposed the previous plans and Manchester Airport had to withdraw its application to demolish Rose Cottage. The new plan still intends to demolish the buildings, fell the trees and concrete over the pond to build two giant air freight cargo units whilst arguing that the development will be good for the local economy. This renewed assault seems even more damaging than the last and will be met with fierce opposition.
Hasty Lane Now
The decision to go ahead with the expansion of the air freight facilities is in spite of the fact that air freight has been falling consistently for over 2 years. Added to this, it could seriously undermine the councils commitment to becoming a low carbon city. The Councils Climate Change Action plan was launched on the 18th of November, it makes bold commitments to reduce the City's climate change impact by 41% by 2020; it also talks about more green spaces whilst agreeing to build on Hasty Lane an area of biodiversity. Hasty Lane is one of the last parts of the Green Belt left out in Wythenshawe. If the council was serious about tackling climate change would they have made this decision?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Councillors approve plans to demolish residents' houses

Manchester City Council Planning Committee has approved plans by Manchester Airport to demolish a row of houses to to build a new air freight terminal.

The nine committee members voted 5:4 in favour of the plans – with the Labour majority voting in favour and the Lib Dem minority voting against.

Campaigners from the Stop Expansion at Manchester Aiport group were inside and outside the meeting to show their support for the residents.

After the decision was made, the residents and campaigners agreed that this was not the end of the fight, and that they would investigate ways to appeal the decision.

There will be public meeting this coming Thursday 26th October to discuss ways of opposing the Airport's expansion plans. All members of the public are invited to attend.

Manchester Evening News article - here

MULE article here

CRAIN's article here

Our Local Elephant - Manchester Airport

and Save Hasty Lane – Public Meeting

Thursday 26th November 2009


@ The Bowling Green

Grafton Street, M13 9NZ

With John Stewart (Airport Watch Chair) and Peter Johnson (Hasty Lane resident) and other guest speakers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Manchester Airport rejected from 10:10 campaign

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) have been the first applicant to be rejected from the popular 10:10 campaign, which asks people, business and government to commit to cutting their carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010.

Although Manchester Airport is committed to becoming 'carbon neutral' by 2015, this does not include the emissions from the aircraft that land and take off from its premisies. With this in mind, their otherwise laudable efforts of installing energy efficient lightbulbs, motion sensors and biomass burners can be seen as greenwash deception – an attempt to fool the public that the airport is green, when it is actually far from it.

MAG wants to pass the buck, saying that the responsibility for aircraft emissions lies with the airlines. But with a business plan which aims to more than double passenger numbers to 50 million per year by 2030, it's obvious to everyone else, including 10:10, that the airport is also responsible for emissions by encouraging and facilitating more and more flights.

It is MAG that competes for airlines to use its four airports (Manchester, Nottingham East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth). And it is MAG which runs advertising campaigns across Manchester encouraging people to use their airport as much as possible.

Pass the buck

So Manchester Airport is passing the buck onto the airlines. So who will take responsibility for the hot potato of carbon reductions? It seems that the aviation lobby is also keen to defer responsbility.

Flying Matters's chairman Brian Wilson blundered into the debate saying that the 10:10 decision was “the eco equivalent of political correctness gone mad,” and that, “if the 10:10 campaign were serious about making a difference it wouldn’t matter where the emission cuts came from, so long as they were made.”

Clearly issues of climate justice are not prominent in the minds of th aviation lobby. By Flying Matters' logic the aviation industry can carry on polluting as much as it likes so long as someone else - somewhere else, make the carbon cuts so that they don't have to.

Let's take a look at what aviation expansion would mean for the rest of UK economy. In July 2009, the government's Committee on Climate Change reported that if we are to allow airport expansion to go ahead as planned, then the rest of the UK economy will have to decarbonise by 90% rather than 80% to meet the 2050 targets of the Climate Bill.

So everything else that we all use regularly, from electricity for lighting to fuel to heat our homes – everything else will have to make more carbon cuts to accommodate the aviation industry's insatiable appetite for growth. This would push up the cost of these changes, thus penalising essential services to accommodate the luxuries of binge flying, and exacerbating issues of fuel poverty.

Since MAG, won't face up to its responsiblities, and neither will the Manchester Council, then it's time we brought these carbon contradicitions to the table, by placing a cap and then annual emission reduction targets on all the airport operations, including the flights.

Get involved here.

For more info on MAG's rejection from 10:10, see the detailed 10:10 blog here. (Click on the 'Should 10:10 let airport's sign up' link on the scroll down list)

See Guardian article on the subject here.

See the Manchester Evening News article here.

See the Crain's article here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Next SEMA Event: Our Local Elephant - Manchester Airport

Our Local Elephant - Manchester Airport

Thursday 26th November 2009
The Bowling Green
Grafton Street, M13 9NZ

With plans for a third runway a Heathrow looking less and less likely, the battle against airport expansion will need to be taken to regional airports around the country.

Manchester Airport already emits twice the amount of carbon emissions as Uganda and has plans to more than double passenger numbers to 50 million per year by 2030. It is owned by the councils of Greater Manchester but its true emissions of are consistently overlooked and ignored by local authorities in climate change action plans.

It is in effect - our local elephant in the room.

Come along to hear what's already happenening to reign in airport expansion both nationally, regionally and in Manchester.

With presentations from:

John Stewart - AirportWatch Chairman
Liz Snook - Plane Stupid
Marc Hudson - Co-editor, Manchester Climate Fortnightly, speaking in personal capacity

Hosted by Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport group
and Manchester Climate Action

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Call out for Support:

Save Hasty Lane and show your opposition to Manchester Airport's plans

Come to the Council Planning Committee meeting

Thursday 19th November 2009

Meet @ 1.45pm outside the Manchester Town Hall (Albert Square entrance)


Air freight expansion rejected by Wythenshawe Councillors

Thursday 22nd October 2009

The Wythenshawe Area Committee have rejected Manchester Airport's plans for new air freight sheds at Hasty Lane.

The plan to double air freight capacity at the expense of the historic and important ecological site at Hasty Lane was unanimously rejected due to economic and environmental concerns.

Air freight has halved in two years, and has suffered a constant decline in the last 15 months as the recession shows no sign of recovery in aviation.

Cllr Eakins and Peter Johnson, tenant of one of the threatened homes, made representations to the committee outlining their objections on environmental and economic concerns. The committee then unanimously rejected the plans citing these concerns.

The minutes from the meeting should be available on the Council's website here at some point in the future.

Cllr Eakins said: “As air freight has halved in the last two years, it makes no economic sense to double the capacity when the Airport will never get to use it! Two beautiful family homes and an ecological paradise at the edge of the Airport would be bulldozed if this had gone ahead, and I'm delighted the Wythenshawe Area Committee have seen sense and rejected it.”

The plans will now go to the main Manchester Planning committee which will have the final say on Thursday 19th November.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rose Cottage Saved - now time to save Hasty Lane from the expansion of Manchester airport

Wythenshawe Area Committe meeting
Thursday 22nd October 2009

Wythenshawe Forum

The Save Rose Cottage campaign team met with Manchester Airport management in June 09, who said that they were dropping the application to demolish Rose Cottage.

However, they said that the cottage would be brought inside the expanded airport perimeter and wouldn't be tenanted.

In September 09 we were sent new plans that showed that Rose Cottage will now be outside the airport perimeter, and could remain tenanted.

This meant that whilst Rose Cottage was saved, Peter Johnson's home - Breeze Hill, is one of the two to go under the new plans.

The Wythenshawe Area Committee will meet this Thursday 22nd October 2009 at the Wythenshawe Forum at 7:30pm. They will discuss the application and vote on whether to adopt the planning officers recommendation to approve it.
Regardless of the outcome, it will still go to the main planning meeting in November, where the future of Hasty Lane will finally be decided.

For more information and campaign history see: The Save Rose Cottage Website

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Manchester ID trials go awry

Manchester Airport is at the vanguard of biometric ID trials that were planned for rolling out across the country, but the programmes have been beset with technical hitches and staff opposition. The airport trialled the UK’s first biometric access control portal for staff, using iris recognition to monitor and control access to restricted areas. The biometric identity cards were to be compulsory for all staff at Manchester and London City Airports. Pilots warned that they would not co-operate with the trial. The ID scheme was quietly scaled down earlier this month, abandoned for existing employees, with only new staff expected to apply for an ID card.

Biometric face recognition for passengers, with five machines at Terminal 1 targeting so called ‘high risk’ passengers, began in August 2008 but has met with technical problems. Initially, the kit was set so that an 80 per cent likeness with passengers’ digital passports. David Lepard writes in The Times that leaked information from a member of staff claimed the machines were throwing up so many false negatives, a 70 per cent error rate, that long queues were developing, so the machines were recalibrated to a 30 per cent likeness. Ron Jenkins of Glasgow University, a leading expert was of the opinion that this would render the machines so ineffective as to be unable to distinguish between UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and actor Mel Gibson, or between Osama Bin Laden and actor Winona Ryder. The UK Border Agency categorically denied that the machines had been recalibrated.

News contributed by Rose Bridger

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Today SEMA got word, a group of campaigners rushed an airport industry conference using rape alarms tied to helium balloons.

The three day conference was being hosted by Airports Council International. The protesters from the group Manchester Plane Stupid entered the Manchester Central conference venue (formerly GMEX) and sent the helium balloons reading 'Happy Retirement' to the top of the ceiling where they remained with the alarms ringing.

This occurred at exactly the time when the industry delegates were posing for a photo shoot for the launch of a new carbon reduction scheme at European airports which will not include the emissions from aircraft.

Meanwhile, other protesters held a banner outside the entrance reading, “Aviation Industry Conference – Climate Criminals Inside”.The conference was suspended whilst house staff struggled to remove the floating alarms from the ceiling.

A member of Manchester Plane Stupid said, “The airport industry is recklessly pushing ahead with expansion plans across the UK and Europe despite all the warnings about climate change. We cannot pursue this growth agenda if we are serious about tackling global warming”

..............SEMA concurs!

Crains Report on the action here

Monday, May 18, 2009

Biofuels are Not the Answer event -------------- Tuesday 12th May 2009

SEMA hosted an event on Biofuels on with Deepak Rughani and Rachel Boyd from Biofuelwatch.

Rachel Boyd relayed her experience of the effects of agrofuel expansion during her time in Columbia. She discussed the use of bribery and the threats of violence by paramilitaries to push people from their land in order to make way for large-scale mono plantations of fuel crops, rather than subsistence farming for food. She also discussed the cycles of debt that plantation workers fall into as well as the life threatening health hazards of heavy pesticide exposure with little protective clothing.

Deepak Rughani discussed the broader threat that biofuels present in terms of eco-system collapse, especially of the world's main carbon sinks such as in the Amazon. Worryingly, the aviation industry is looking towards biofuels as a way of greenwashing their growth. Deepak cited some test cases from airlines such as Virgin using aircraft fuel from plant matter such as coconuts. He argued that these were little more than publicity stunts given the amount of coconuts that would be needed to run the industry in this way.

Biofuels have already caused rises in world food prices in recent years. Studies show that when we factor in the fossil fuel needed to produce and refine agrofuels, as well as the loss of carbon sinks and potential to absorb, biofuels present little by way of CO2 cuts. If the world continues to pursue this false solution to climate change, it will find itself faced with the threat of eco-system collapse as well as the social injustice of land displacement and world hunger caused by rising food prices. Clearly - biofuels are not the answer.

You can download Deepak's powerpoint presentation 'The Greening of Aviation: Biofuels, the final justification for airport expansion' from the SEMA website soon.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Manchester Airport to become ‘mini-city’

Originally uploaded by RoseBridger
Manchester Airport Group has announced that Manchester Airport is to be transformed into a ‘mini-city’ with hotels, leisure, entertainment and conference facilities, along with yet more retail outlets. There will be more cargo and logistics facilities like warehouses, and possibly manufacturing. The Airport has purchased 30 acres from Burford Group, a property firm, at a cost of more than £15 million, for development, which will also extend into the surrounding area.

So, what will all these diverse elements have in common? Manchester Airport City is based on established airport centric developments including Schiphol in the Netherlands, where the airport city concept expands the airport’s role as a gigantic landlord. If this is the model for Manchester Airport City, the new facilities will generate revenues for the airport, in the way as the existing retail and car parking facilities. This keeps the landing and navigations fees down for the airlines. The revenues also help fund further aviation infrastructure growth, such as terminals and runways. Tenants are chosen to boost the airport’s passenger numbers and cargo volumes.

Airports around the world aspire to Schiphol Airport’s role as a gigantic landlord, generating 75 per cent of its revenues from non-aeronautical activities. In addition to what the aviation industry sometimes refers to as ‘airport support community’ of related industries, airports around the world generate revenues from a bewildering range of seemingly unrelated functions. This encompasses golf courses (compatible with airports as the grass can be controlled to minimise wildlife and the risk of bird strikes), museums, theme parks and even what might be thought of as civic functions like schools and hospitals. Even though the facilities form part of the airport’s revenue stream, they can be outside the airport fence and appear to be part of the host community.

If Manchester’s ‘airport city’ plans are similar to others around the world, this development could be central to the airport’s growth plans and future financial viability. According to the Manchester Airports Group, the development of Manchester Airport City will help the airport meet its goals of doubling passenger numbers to more than 50 million per year by 2030, and increase cargo volumes from 166,500 tonnes in 2007 to 250,000 tonnes by 2015. Like many airports, Manchester Airport’s business is declining, with passenger numbers falling by nearly 4 per cent in 2008. Cargo volumes have plummeted month after month, with January 2008’s freight volumes 42 per cent less than January 2007.

News contributed by Rose Bridger

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mancester Council - We must grow the Airport to cut emissions

In responding to Friends of the Earth's submission to the Local Development Framework consultation, >Manchester City Council argue that it must grow the Airport in order fund a reduction in CO2 emissions.

"The Friends of the Earth (FOE) alternative option is a low growth scenario but with particular emphasis on restricting growth at the Airport. When considering options for the Core Strategy the validity of a low growth scenario was considered but discounted for the following reasons:-
  • Without economic growth the target to reduce CO2 emissions could not be reached. Growth is essential to fund critical infrastructure e.g. renewable energy networks and to ensure innovation and progress in technology together with retrofitting to achieve carbon reduction in existing development."
We at SEMA have been left scratching our heads at this seemingly bizarre conundrum. An expanding airport will mean even more emissions to cut. Surely we can't grow our way out of the problem of climate change? In any case, >the economic growth argument is routinely overstated by the industry. We look forward to more capers of logic from the Council soon.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Save Rose Cottage Petition Handed-In

Over thirty people arrived at the Town Hall on the afternoon of Monday 23rd to voice their opposition.

The campaign describes Rose Cottage as a stunning grade II listed 17th Century dwelling, beautifully maintained by the current tenants, a family of three. It, along with three other properties are situated on the historic "Hasty Lane" on the edge of Manchester Airport.
Nearby is a 300 year old natural pond hosting a colony of great crested newts. It is surrounded by dozens of mature trees and beautifully preserved and balanced ecology. It is an environmental and historical oasis in the midst of heavy modern industry.

The Airport plan to demolish the buildings, fell the trees and concrete over the pond to build two giant air freight cargo units. They argue that the development will be good for the local economy.
A coalition of English Heritage, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit, the Council for British Archaeology, local councillors and residents and others all oppose the plans.

The petition urges Manchester Planning and Highways Committee to reject the airport's application. To find out more, or to sign the petition follow the link below.
Campaign website

Steady State Economics Teach-in

On Wednesday 18th March over 40 people took part in the ‘teach in’ organised by SEMA (Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport). Promotion for the event explained that,
“As the international economy begins to re-articulate itself in light of the recent and ongoing financial crisis, it’s time to look at the alternatives to the growth-for-growths-sake economic model.”
The teach-in aimed to help people challenge the idea that we can have infinite economic growth on a planet of finite resources. Mike Prior began by explaining that Steady State Economics is a moral and social issue, as well as an economic issue, so we shouldn’t allow economists to dominate the discourse on how society is run.

The session itself was broken down into three sections: What is Steady State Economics? What are the social and moral issues that underpin it? Followed by a discussion on what we can do in order to support Steady State Economics.

Prior began by debunking some of the myths that shroud this subject. For example, he was not going to talk about freezing the economy as it is right now. Instead, the concept is about re-thinking the whole system; dealing with areas of dependency like fossil fuels, as well as places that need development, such as poverty stricken areas.
The origins of the Steady State Economic theory lie in ‘sustainability’, which existed as a new economics from the 1980’s. The crux of this theory was that every generation should aim to leave behind the same amount of resources that they consumed for the next generation.
For Steady State Economics to work, we would need a new way to measure the success of a society. The measure of GNP (Gross National Product) is currently highly valued by economists, policy makers and politicians alike, but it fails to measure the happiness and wellbeing of a society.

The New Economics Foundation has a lot more information on the short comings of the GNP measurement. They also propose a host of well-researched indicators that should be taken into account when measuring wellbeing and happiness. These include looking at equality of income or wealth, leisure time enjoyed, stability of relationships and job security.
In Prior’s opinion, you are by definition a Steady State Economist if you make an effort to “develop an economic indicator or set of statistics that enable the wellbeing of a society to be measured in a way that would be useful for policy making, from a local to an international level”.
New Economics Foundation website

Authored by Jenny Nelson-EN4M

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Green leader lends weight to Rose Cottage campaign

Green Party leader Dr Caroline Lucas MEP has become the first national party leader to support the campaign to save the historic Rose Cottage in Wythenshawe's Woodhouse Park.

Dr Lucas, who has campaigned nationally and in the European Parliament for an end to airport expansions and a fairer tax regime for the aviation industry, said today:

"Rose Cottage is an important piece of local heritage, but this is definitely not just a local issue. If Manchester airport increases its air freight capacity, Rose Cottage won't be the only casualty. There will be bad consequences in terms of climate change, as well local traffic generation, local air and noise pollution and resulting ill-health effects.

"The airport will talk about jobs, but the truth is that we can create huge numbers of jobs by greening the economy. Manchester and North West England could become major centres, and even leaders, of the green industrial revolution that Britain urgently needs.

"We could fund much of Britain's economic recovery if we stopped giving aviation its billions of pounds of tax breaks every year, and if we made airports and airlines pay the full costs of their pollution.

"And Manchester airport could start by developing a proper sustainable development strategy. That would mean scrapping plans for new air freight facilities - and Rose Cottage would be saved."

Speaking for Manchester Green Party, Withington parliamentary candidate James Alden added:

"It's completely irresponsible of Manchester airport and other airports to keep driving the expansion of the most highly-polluting form of transport when the rest of the world is trying desperately to tackle climate change.

"We need Manchester airport's surpluses to be diverted away from further airport expansion into sustainable industry. That way we could pump money into new industrial sectors like renewable energy that could sustain thousands of jobs in Manchester."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

90 Jobs to go at Manchester Airport

SEMA is not revelling in the statements coming out of the airport this week. Ninety jobs to go in the initial wave of redundancies at Manchester Airport. SEMA’s campaign is against reckless airport expansion not against the workers who are in our thoughts at this difficult time. Our campaign is against those bosses with a view to unlimited economic growth at the expense of our planet. We strive to work with unions and workers to develop more sustainable jobs. Jobs which maximise quality of life for all.Over 200,000 people a year are already suffering from the effects of Climate Change due to the ‘go-for-growth’ attitude of the minority. It will be the workers, not the bosses who are hit the hardest by the effects of climate change. These bosses show as little regard for the wages and working conditions of their staff as they do for our planet and this is most evident when they are faced with a choice between their profits and peoples welfare."The City Council agrees that global rates of air traffic growth are unsustainable in the long term" according to Manchester City Council who own 55% of the airport. Manchester Airports is faced with an uncertain future burdened with rising fuel costs, taxation as well as national and international regulations to combat climate change but how does the Council/MAG react? they support the Airports Master Plan to double passenger numbers and will continue blindly on this path once this recession passes.We must move our economy away from carbon intensive industries such as Aviation. We must make that move now rather than continuing to invest in jobs with no futures. The economic arguments put forward by Manchester Airport to expand their air freight facilities by the demolition of Rose Cottage look even more short sighted than ever.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Manchester air freight nose dives

Shocking new figures released by Manchester Airport show a 42% drop in air freight compared to the same period last year.
The statistics, published on Manchester Airports' website, show a persistent downward trend of air freight, falling every month since May 2008.
January's figure of a 42% drop is the first time that air freight has fallen through the -40% threshold.

Last week, Manchester Airport CEO Geoff Muirhead CBE, told the BBC that UK air freight has dropped by 30%.
These latest figures show that air freight movements are particularly weaker at Manchester Airport .
This is unwelcome news for Airport bosses who are attempting to steer through a £20m plan to double air freight capacity by building two giant air freight cargo sheds.
Four tenanted properties on the edge of the airport, including a 400 year old grade II listed cottage will have to be demolished if the plans are given the go ahead.
SEMA, Local Liberal Democrats and Green party activists have joined forces with local residents in running a petition and staging a Tea Party protesting the plans late last year.

Wythenshawe councillor and Lib-Dem parliamentary candidate, Cllr Martin Eakins, said "Before we entered recession the Airport was predicting we would need to double our air freight capacity by 2015. Well, these figures show that prediction to be totally unrealistic. Instead of spending £20m on an embarrassing white elephant, we should invest this money in sustainable green collar jobs in the local area."

Manchester Green campaigner and fellow Wythenshawe resident, Lance Crookes, said: "All the indicators show that we have reached peak oil, and as aviation fuel becomes rapidly more expensive this £20m will be a stranded investment, left empty on the edge of the airport failing to return the cash the 10 local authorities had hoped for."

Rose Cottage tenant, Anthony Lowe, said: "Manchester airport continue to advertise warehousing and office space on their existing Freight site; their claims about Job generation are ridiculous, we are seeing right now that simply building complexes for non existent tenants is a pointless and costly exercise - three large empty hotels spring to mind! Their “build it and they will come” attitude is blindly optimistic; look at the number of passengers through terminal 2 since it was built!"

SEMA member and Manchester Green party spokesperson for the Airport, Gayle O'Donovan said: "Whilst were in the midst of a treble crunch: the credit crunch, peak oil and climate change, Manchester City Council are now choosing to support the demolition of a family home and needlessly throw money at a declining industry. Aviation is a carbon intensive industry, so the expansion at Manchester Airport undermines any commitment MCC have made to tackle climate change."

Hasty Lane tenant, Peter Johnson, said: "We as residents will not feel secure until the whole idea of expansion has been dropped and a sustainable plan that achieves assurances for the future of ALL the properties in Hasty Lane is in place!"

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Green Building for Concorde at Manchester Airport

The ‘greening’ of Manchester Airport will soon take a great leap forward with the opening of a viewing park for a retired Concorde plane, see BBC article Concorde retires to new eco-home. A new building in the Aviation Viewing Park will be powered by biomass from willow grown on the airport site. Rainwater will be harvested and it will have solar panels on top.

Concorde was deafening with its sonic boom as it broke the sound barrier. People on the ground complained about the damage to their eardrums. Concorde was an ecological disaster. A flight from London to New York would burn 94 tonnes of fuel, almost a tonne each for the capacity of 100. It took two tonnes of fuel just to taxi the monster plane onto the runway. Concorde was bankrolled by the British and French governments but could never pay its way.

On 25th July 2000 a Concorde taking off from Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris hit a piece of debris on the runway which burst a tyre and ruptured a fuel tank and the plane crashed into a hotel near the airport killing everyone on board, 100 passengers, nine crew members and four people on the ground. Mercifully, Concorde was retired from service in 2003. Yet the iconic plane still attracts fascination, with tours, corporate events and even weddings hosted on the grounded planes around the world.

I suppose the Concorde at Manchester Airport is indeed now green, in the sense that it won’t actually be flying anywhere. The building will showcase some impressive green features, but that does not tackle the core business of Manchester Airport, which is servicing the flights.

The area for the new building was declared a ‘newt free zone’ when a protected species of newt found on the site were moved to a new home. But newts are at risk elsewhere in Manchester Airport’s expansion plans. Nearby, Rose Cottage, a listed building with its ponds providing a rare habitat for newts, faces demolition as there are plans to demolish the site for two giant cargo sheds for growing Manchester Airport’s cargo volumes. For more information see Save Rose Cottage Campaign.

News contributed by Rose Bridger

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Manchester Council announce their Climate Change 'Call-to-Action'

Manchester City Council announced their 'Call to Action' on climate change last Wednesday 14th January. This stated plans are to reduce the City's emissions by one third by 2020.

"Great!" we thought, surely if the Council owns 55% of Manchester Airport Group (MAG - which also owns Nottingham East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth – and are considering buying Gatwick) then surely this 'Call to Action' would have to curtail the Airport's ambitions by 2030?

Alas no. The Council simply washed their hands of this issue. Council Chair, Sir Richard Leese replied that they can't legally constrain the Airport and that if the planes didn't fly out from Manchester then it would probably be from somewhere else, causing more pollution.

Following this logic, extending the airport is the only sensible way to stop more CO2 emissions. Intriguingly two of MAG's directors, Brian Harrison and lord Peter Smith are also Manchester Councillors.

The Council Executive stuck by their plans for a 'Green Airport'. This involves the continued support for the Airport's growth whilst helping it to achieve its aim of becoming carbon neutral. Unfortunately this carbon neutrality will not include the emissions from the planes. Finding credibility in the Manchester's climate change plans is like attempting to nail jelly to a wall -the harder you try, the more it falls apart.

This article is based on a blog from Manchester Climate Fortnightly.

Also see: Manchester Evening News coverage

Rose Cottage decision postponed

Rose Cottage decision postponed

The decision to delay the Rose Cottage decision has been delayed for the following reason.

The information English Heritage (EH) wanted off the Airport's agents, White Young Green (WYG), has not been sent over.

WYG were supposed to supply EH with either plans that incorporate Rose Cottage within the development (which they have resisted) OR information over WHY they cannot incorporate Rose Cottage within the development.

It's very important that WYG gets this right due to PPG15 - the most important bits being:

"...The Secretaries of State would not expect listed building consent to be granted for demolition unless the authority is satisfied that real efforts have been made without success to continue the present use or to find compatible alternative uses for the building...

...There may very exceptionally be cases where the proposed works would bring substantial benefits for the community which have to be weighed against the arguments in favour of preservation. Even here, it will often be feasible to incorporate listed buildings within new development, and this option should be carefully considered: the challenge presented by retaining listed buildings can be a stimulus to imaginative new design to accommodate them..."

What this delay means

The Airport (or in this case, their agents' WYG), are NOT sympathetic to their suggested compromise, and they left with the opinion that they would simply get reasons why the compromise could not be reached. They said if that's the case, they would continue to oppose the plans.

If WYG are writing up the reasons why they can't compromise, then they have to make sure they are very good reasons, as stated above: unless the authorityis satisfied that real efforts have been made without success to continue the present use or to find compatible alternative uses for the building...

And those are the key words: "REAL EFFORTS". If WYG don't demonstrate that they have put in enough "REAL EFFORT" to incorporate, and we can demonstrate this at the hearing, then under PPG15 they should (in theory) refuse.

If on the other hand, this delay is because WYG can't find feasible reasons why they can't incorporate Rose Cottage into the design, then they may be re-designing the thing, and this is why it's delayed. If this is the case then it may be more than a few weeks delayed as it would require a substantial effort to re-draw the plans and possibly re-consult the statutory bodies (Police, GMPTE, etc).

You can voice your objection to the demolition of Rose Cottage by following the steps below:

Go to:

The application can be found through application search as


Click on: 'click to view' and then submit your comments

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Northern Climate Rush

The Northern Climate Rush -


Monday 12th January 2009

Terminal 3, Manchester Airport.

For VIDEO footage see

Around 50 climate change activists gathered in Terminal 3 of Manchester Airport last night to protest against airport expansion and domestic flights. The demo mirrored the Climate Rush ‘Dinner at Departures’ protest at Heathrow’s Terminal 1 at the same time.

There are around 32 flights a day between Manchester and the London hubs, despite the high speed rail connection.

The protests at Manchester and Heathrow airports was a follow up to the first">Climate Rush on October 13th 2008. This date marked the centenary of the Suffragettes’ rush on Parliament to demand women's right to vote.

The protesters dressed in Edwardian period arrived to find Terminal 3 locked down with around 70 police officers, including Forward Intelligence Teams from the Metropolitan police. They were read parts of the Riot Act before entering a ‘designated protest area’.

Former Manchester City Councillor, Vanessa Hall, who attended the Northern Climate Rush said:

“ With the speed of intercity trains there is no longer any just or sensible reason to take domestic flights. All expansion plans, including those at Manchester and Heathrow should be shelved. Passenger numbers at Manchester Airport have been falling for at least the last 6 months.”

She added, “In a time of recession and climate crisis, government money should be spent on improvements to rail, trams, and buses, not on subsidies and infrastructure for the aviation industry.”

Aviation accounts for 13% of UK global warming emissions and is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases. Airlines pay no tax on aviation fuel, costing the public purse an estimated £10 billion.

Manchester Airport claims it intends to go carbon neutral by 2015 - but this will not include the emissions from the aeroplanes.

Other press coverage

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Next Meeting

NEXT MEETING - Wednesday 28th January 2009


University of Manchester Students' Union

Oxford Road - M13 9PR

All welcome.

SEMA meetings are on the last Wednesday of every month at 7pm - provisionally at the University of Manchester Students' Union.