Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day 2 of the trial: guilty verdicts, but the fight continues

Amanda Walters and Mark Haworth were found guilty this afternoon, but said that the campaign against the airport will continue.
Today the court heard the defence case, that the expansion of the Airport would have significant impacts on local homes and globally in contributing to climate change. Furthermore, the court heard how other methods of redress had been tried prior to the protest action in May 2010.
In February 2010, residents at Sipson Village – which was earmarked for demolition if the previous government had pressed ahead with plans to add a third runway to Heathrow Airport – joined forces with Manchester campaigners in a ‘twinning’ ceremony – which joined Sipson with Hasty Lane, a row of houses near Manchester Airport currently earmaked for demolition if expansion plans go ahead.
Speaking after the case, defendant Mark Haworth said, “The battle against airport expansion at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick was won because ordinary people came together, joined forces and took on the aviation industry. We’ve linked up with residents in Manchester and Heathrow and we’ll continue to challenge Manchester Airport’s expansion plans.”
Fellow defendant Amanda Walters said, “The judge accepted that our concerns were legitimate and that other means of making our views heard had been tried. Whilst the Council continues to impose expansion of the airport onto local people, we will continue to oppose it.”
A large part of the defence case focussed on the ‘reasonableness’ of the action given that other methods of redress had been explored. The witness statements of Manchester Councillor Martin Eakins and Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson were read out verbatim by the Defence Counsel. In the statement, Eakins described his close involvement in the campaign to Save Hasty Lane, including making official representations to the Wythenshawe Area Committee, petitions and letters to national government.
From Cllr Eakin’s written statement:
“I feel that all democratic avenues were exhausted and I think it is reasonable to say that the only way avenue to achieve carbon reductions through traditional politics in this case was closed.”
In Peter Johnson’s written statement, he described his efforts to prevent his family home from being demolished.
From Peter’s written statement:
“We are now in a position where help and support from other areas in continuing to oppose the decision means that another route must be used if we are to halt this and/or further expansion already proposed or identified by the airport.”
Commenting on the verdict Peter Johnson said,
“I’m disappointed for the individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty – for a cause we should all be worried about. This isn’t just a matter of concern for those of us living at Hasty Lane – the expansion of the Airport will have effects on the whole of Manchester, and the world too. Sadly, actions like these are seldom recognised as being right at the time, but the fight continues.”
Mark Haworth and Amanda Walters were given a fine of £175 an £250 respectively plus were ordered to pay £460 in costs each plus a £15 ‘victim surcharge’ each.
Manchester Evening News coverage

Monday, December 6, 2010

The end of day one

So by the end of day one, the nine defendants pleading guilty, unable to bear the cost of a trial, were sentenced at 1pm today. The court heard how the protest had been a ‘response to a flawed planning process’ and the ‘democratic process being thwarted’. The judge handed out fines of on average £300 each before opening for the prosecution.
Ali Garrigan, from Manchester Plane Stupid, said “Today the defendants have taken responsibility for the protest, been accountable for their actions and will pay their fines. 

Meanwhile, Manchester City Council refuses to take responsibility for the emissions from the airport by excluding them from its Climate Change Action Plan and the aviation industry gets a free ride by paying no tax on its fuel.”

The trial continues tomorrow and is set to be an interesting day. Amanda Walters and Mark Haworth, the two defendants pleading not guilty, will be asked to tell the court what effects the expansion of the airport will have both locally, such as on the residents at Hasty Lane, as well as internationally in terms of CO2 emissions and climate change.

Local councillor Martin Eakins will also be speaking to highlight the local democratic deficit and resident Pete Johnson from Hasty Lane will talk about the threat to local homes.

Manchester Airport on Trial begins today!

Day 1

Huge show of support for defendants at Trafford Magistrates Court this morning for the first MAoT(Manchester Airport on Trial). Despite freezing temperatures people from all walks of life including Hasty Lane resident Pete Johnson came down to the courthouse with banners to wish the defendants well. 11 local campaigners are in court charged with willful obstruction of the public highway as a joint enterprise. Nine of the eleven are pleading guilty unable to bear the cost of the trial and two Amanda and Mark are pleading not guilty.

Margaret Westbrook a Trafford resident who came to court to support the defendants said 'the campaigners needed to take direct action due to the devastating environmental impacts of expanding Manchester Airport', she said 'it was a reasonable use non violent direct action to protest against the demolition of local homes and rising emissions especially since they have tried every other political avenue'.

Anne Power another Trafford resident expressed her dismay 'that people are so focused on the business side of the airport expansion and little thought is given to the homes that have to be knocked down or the biodiversity that will be lost.'

The campaigners believe the wreck less expansion of Manchester airport and the effects this is having on the local community and undermining our efforts to tackle climate change are worth risking legal sanctions. Their actions were further justified by the fact that official decision making channels had been exhausted and proven to be ineffective.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Nellie drops in on City Council’s climate change conference

On Tuesday 30th November, a cold and snowy morning, campaigners from Manchester Climate Action took a giant white elephant (lovingly named Nellie) to greet the public and organisations attending Manchester City Council's Climate Change stakeholder conference at the Museum of Science and Industry.

The first annual stakeholder conference aimed to engage with residents and businesses of Manchester about reducing their emissions. It was an initiative which came off the back of the council’s Climate Change Action Plan, named ‘Manchester: A Certain Furture’ (MACF), which was published in 2009 and took some important first steps towards considering the impact of our lives and industries on the environment.

Most significantly, MACF set targets for the city to reduce emissions 41% by 2020. However, as this commitment doesn’t include the flight emissions from Manchester Airport (55% owed by the city council and the regions biggest source of emissions) it seems a little feeble.

So the airport is still the council’s ‘elephant in the room’, and Nellie assisted campaigners in highlighting this, and embarrassing the city council. Everyone attending the conference, including the airport’s biggest supporter Councillor Richard Leese, was handed flyers explaining the elephant and detailing the councils omission of the airport from its climate change plan, as well as its plans to drastically expand over the next 30 years and demolish local homes to do so. Campaigners received a warm reception from both those attending the conference and staff at the museum who express their concerns about the council’s attitude towards the airport.

Sarah Thomas from Manchester Climate Action said “Although the city council are engaging with climate change and intends for the airport to be carbon neutral within the next two years this does not include the emissions from flights taking off or landing at the airport. Our concern is that if the council supports the airport in going ahead with plans to increase flights from 30 million flights a year to 50 million by 2030 then any emission reduction achieved elsewhere will be outweighed. Essentially residents and businesses in the city will be cutting their emissions in order for the airport to increase theirs.”

The event succeeding in getting new people and organisations discussing their emissions reduction plans - as well as the creative delivery of some of the six parallel workshops that happened throughout the day.

The protest was raised in a Mule interview with Councillor Nigel Murphy, Executive for the Environment at Manchester City Council:
MULE: The protestors in the lobby complaining that you’re ignoring the airport, do they have a point that you can’t really make a climate change plan for Manchester without considering the impact which the planes taking off from the airport have?

Nigel Murhy: We’ve never said that we don’t consider the effects but we’re trying to deliver where we can make change. As an organisation the airport are doing their own delivery plan. Airside emissions are not something we can change on our own in Manchester, there has to be an international agreement. More than happy for them to protest, but we’ve got to look at what we can change and what we can change now.

Nellie’s appearance at the conference took place just a week before 11 activists from Manchester Plane Stupid stand trial at Trafford Magistrates Court following their involvement in shutting down the airport in May 2010 in order to draw attention to the council’s plans to allow Manchester Airport to expand at the expense of demolishing local homes and destroying areas of important biodiversity. Their hearing begins on Monday 6th December 2010 and is expected to last one week.

A campaign titled ‘Manchester Airport on Trial’ is being run around the court trial and has received support from Heathrow Labour MP John McDonnell, Johann Hari, writer and journalist for the Independent, and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas. The campaign is playing an important role in highlighting to both the airport and council that people from all sectors of society are concerned about the planned expansion, and also that direct action is being increasing recognised as a legitimate way of opposing the plans due to the lack of effective democratic avenues.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

£100,000 payout as Manchester Airport runway hits value of houses

From Manchester Evening News - Friday 12th November 2010

By John Scheerhout

Two families have been awarded more than £100,000 compensation from Manchester Airport after being plagued by plane noise.
The couples took the airport to the Royal Courts of Justice in London claiming their lives were ruined by jets using the second runway, which opened in 2001.
And a judge ruled the value of their homes had been slashed since runway two opened.
Retired builders’ merchants Andrew and Annette Spark, who live in an Edwardian semi in Mobberley, were awarded £40,000.
After the ruling, Mrs Spark, said: “At times it’s an aerial bombardment.”
Their neighbours, Adrian and Kathleen Robertson, were awarded £72,500 after telling how the windows of their 19th century farmhouse are rattled by passing planes and it was impossible to hold a conversation in the garden.
The couples took the airport to the Upper Tribunal (Lands Chamber) of the Royal Courts where judge Andrew Trott said their account of vibration, fumes and ‘discharge of substances’ was not exaggerated and their evidence was ‘balanced and reasonable’.
Without the second runway, the Sparks’ home would be worth £515,000 and the Robertsons’ farmhouse £725,000, the judge ruled – 7.8per cent and 10pc respectively more than their current market value.
An airport spokesman said: “These were the only two of several hundred claims that were not settled by agreement. The claimants took their cases to the Lands Tribunal who have awarded them compensation and this award is in line with our own expert assessment.”

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Manchester Plane Stupid plead not guilty to airport protest charge

Six Manchester residents from the group Manchester Plane Stupid pleaded not guilty to their charge of aggravated trespass as they claim that in the light of Manchester airports contribution to runaway climate change, it was the necessary action to take. The trial will take place on February 21st 2011 and will be the first climate change trial of its kind in Manchester where expert climate scientists will defend the six against the polluting activities of Manchester airport.

On 24th May 2010, the six created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons in order to keep the plane grounded. The six are challenging the recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of historic homes on Hasty Lane.

Manchester airport faces continued scrutiny for wanting to increase airport capacity whilst aviation expansion continues to be incompatible with climate change targets across the UK [1]. Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits. The environmental and social impact of Manchester airport will further be on the spotlight during the trial as all the local councillors around the airport had their unanimous objection to expansion overturned by the Manchester Council Planning Committee in November 2009 [2].

Penny Woodson from local campaign group Manchester Climate Action said, "Despite the threat of climate change, Manchester Airport wants to demolish local people's homes to expand flight numbers and increase emissions. The public are facing VAT rises this January yet the aviation industry pays no VAT at all. With all these injustices stacking up, direct action is necessary." [3]

Another group who simultaneously used tripods to blockade the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in and out have been charged with obstruction of the highway. Those defendants have already pleaded not guilty and will stand trial on 6th December 2010.

Notes for the Editor:

[1] A Briefing Paper from AirportWatch 'The Expansion of Regional Airports Really a Good Thing?

[2] In September 2009, local Councillors on the Wythenshawe Area Committee vote unanimously to reject the Airport's plans to demolish homes on Hasty Lane to expand the World Freight Centre.

SEMA submission to planning framework consultation

SEMA made an official submission to the "Core Strategy Pre-Publication Partial Consultation". This is part of forming the Local Development Framework for the Greater Manchester region. This is the framework against which future planning decisions will be made, including airport expansion plans.
You can see the documents that are being consulted on here:

The 'Need for Land' documents exactly details exactly how Manchester Airport is proposing to expand. It's a long read but how individual projects such as expanding the Freight Centre over Hasty Lane are part of a much larger, long-term plan to increase capacity and flight numbers. More flights, more noise, more emissions.

SEMA's submission argues that since the future of national aviation policy is unclear, including the High Court ruling that the 2003 Air Transport White Paper is not compatible with the 2008 Climate Act, it would be unwise for the Council to support expansion plans at this time. It also details arguments about the effects of the airport on jobs and the economy in the North West region.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

End Domestic Flights demo at London City and Manchester Airports

On Saturday 4th September, campaigners from Manchester and London held a joint demonstration calling for an end to domestic flights. There are currently around 38 flights per day between Manchester and the London hubs.

Rally at London City Airport - Sept 2010

The day began with a rally in the morning at London City Airport. Campaigners then travelled through London on an open top bus to Euston where they boarded a train to Manchester. They were greeted off the train at Manchester Picadilly by a group of Manchester campaigners with placards and banners reading, "Trains Not Planes" as well as "Railways Not Runways".

Greeting the London campaigners at Manchester Picadilly train station.
They then joined a larger rally at Terminal 3 of Manchester Airport. Councillor Martin Eakins, Amanda Walters from Manchester Plane Stupid, Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change, John Stewart from Airportwatch and local Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson all spoke about different airport expansion issues - including climate change, jobs, direct action and effects on local communities.

Rally at Manchester Airport - Sept 2010
Speaking before the event, Phil Thornhill from Campaign against Climate Change said “As unprecedented flooding devastates Pakistan,record temperatures stoke raging wildfires around Moscow and torrential downpours cause landslides that kill thousands in China - its time we got serious about the escalating threat from climate change before its too late. Aviation symbolises the high-emission lifestyles of the developed world that are threatening billions, especially in the most vuLnerable communities, around the world. We can start to get to grips with the growth in aviation by eliminating the shorter journeys that can be made in other, less carbon intensive, ways.”

Councillor Martin Eakins said, “Aviation from Manchester Airport contributes more greenhouse gasses than all other polluters put together in Manchester. Reducing our carbon output by ending domestic flights would go a long way to making our city environmentally sustainable.”
Some weren't convinced by Manchester Airport's green claims.

After the rally, the group headed to Hasty Lane for some fruit picking with the Abundance Project followed ba an evening party. The fruit was donated to a local community centre in Wythenshawe - showing what positive contributions Hasty Lane can make to the area without being turned into cargo sheds.

Friday, August 27, 2010

NEXT EVENT: End Domestic Flights and Evening Party at Hasty Lane

End Domestic Flights Demonstration and Evening Party at Hasty Lane
Saturday 4th September 2010
Meet at 4.30pm - Terminal 3 - Manchester Airport

Manchester Evening News pre-coverage:

SEMA, Campaign against Climate Change and Fight the Flights from London
City Airport have teamed up to organise a joint demonstration against
domestic flights on Sat 4th September.

The day will begin at 11am at London City Airport. Residents fighting the
increase in flight numbers will join climate campaigners on a special
chartered train from London Euston to Manchester.

There will then be a rally at Manchester Airport at Terminal 3 at 4.30pm.

Afterwards, join us for an evening party at Hasty Lane where we'll be
picking surplus fruit with the Abundance Project to donate to a local
community centre.

Abundance Manchester is a project which picks surplus or unwanted fruit
from gardens and public trees around South Manchester and distributes it
to local groups and communities.

This will all be followed by food and live ceilidh music with the Fig Band.

We hope you can join us for this enjoyable protest and party.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Manchester Plane Stupid breach airside security

On Monday 24th May 2010, activists from the group Manchester Plane Stupid breached airside security at Manchester Airport in a protest against the expansion of the airport. The protest involved two groups. The first group of 6 people breached the perimeter fence and created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons.

A second group used tripods to blockade the road entrance to the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in or out. They have unfurled a banner reading: “More air freight = more climate change. Stop all airport expansion now.”

The group were protesting against the recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of historic homes on Hasty Lane.

Lisa Jameson from Manchester Plane Stupid said, “This isn't just about airport expansion or rising carbon emissions. This is about challenging an economic system based on the absurdity of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources, a system which prioritises bail-outs for the banks and then makes us pay for it in public service cuts. Capitalism is the cause of the problem, climate change is one of its many symptoms.”

Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits.

“The third runway at Heathrow was stopped because ordinary people stood up to the government at the time and the aviation industry using a broad range of tactics. Direct action has historically played an important role in creating social change and will continue to do so.”

The aviation industry consistently overstate their importance in creating jobs and their contribution to the economy.

The lack of tax on aviation fuel is costing the UK economy £9 billion per year. There is also a tourism deficit in the North West region of £2.2 billion. That is the difference between what Britons flying abroad spend in foreign countries and what foreign visitors spend in the North West.

Each round of airport expansion is justified on the promise of more and more jobs. In the 1990s Manchester Airport promised to create 50,000 jobs with the second runway – but the actual number was far lower. We need to begin a just transition to a low carbon economy by creating jobs in sustainable industries such as rail and renewables”

Annie McLaughlin said, “Recently, we've seen attempts by British Airways to use the courts to overturn workers' right to strike. We support the rights of all workers to fight for good conditions. It is essential that the changes needed to prevent climate change are not used as an excuse to restrict workers rights.”

McLaughlin continued, “The proposed expansion of the freight terminal makes no sense, economically or environmentally. The existing capacity is not fully utilized and an expansion would simply be a stepping stone to expansion of the airport as a whole, which would be an environmental disaster.”

“With the planet on the verge of climate breakdown it is essential that the real cost of aviation expansion is taken seriously – currently emissions from aviation are not included in Manchester City Council's Climate Change Action Plan.”

Press Links

The Guardian - on the wider movement against airport expansion - 25th May 2010

The Sun - 24th May 2010

The Daily Mail - 24th May 2010

Daily Mirror - 24th May 2010

Key 103 (Manchester Radio)

Sunday Mercury - 24th May 2010

Radio City - Liverpool

Airport International - 24th May 2010

Friday, May 21, 2010

Elephant attends Council meeting

On 19th May 2010, new councillors were greeted with a giant inflatable elephant at Manchester's town hall. The eight metre long animal was used to remind councillors that Manchester Airport is still the 'elephant in the room' when it comes to Manchester's climate change action plan - as the council have refused to include the emissions from flights in their carbon reduction targets.

The elephant in the room

Members from Stop Expansion of Manchester Airport handed out flyers to councillors and the public warning that the council's climate change plans are undermined by the omission of the airport - especially considering that Manchester City Council owns 55% of Manchester Airport Group (MAG). Members of the public were also warned of the dangers of airport expansion such as rising carbon pollution and noise impacts.

Above: talking to the public

As Councillors met for the first time since the general election, a trailer bike sound system played a set of aircraft noises as a reminder of what life under the flight path can be like for communities in Stockport and Knutsford.

Above: Aircraft sounds

In November 2009, Manchester City council released Manchester: A certain Future which laid out plans to reduce the city's C02 emissions by 41% by 2020. These calculations did not include the full impact of the airport. The next day the council planning committee approved plans to bulldoze residents homes on Hasty Lane to expand the world air freight centre at Manchester Airport.

A recent report by the Committee on Climate change (December 2009) has predicted that Manchester Airport could become as busy as Heathrow with the number of flights doubling by 2050, leading to a flight taking off or landing every 70 seconds.

Recently, the new Coalition Liberal Conservative Government have blocked expansion plans in London at Gatwick, Stanstead and Heathrow. It seems the Aviation industry will be looking to regional airports to expand their profits.

Zoe Creighton-Hird from Stop Expansion of Manchester Airport Coalition Said, "We're here to say that if we're serious about stopping climate change, then we need to invest in sustainable green jobs like rail and put an end to all airport expansion across the country, not just in the South East."

Alex Fountain from Stop Expansion of Manchester Airport said, "There is a tourism deficit in the Northwest of England amounting to £2.2 billion. That's £2.2 billion more being taken out of the region that being brought in by jobs. The argument that the airport is good for the economy and jobs is unfounded. We need an update assessment of the airports role in the region."

Manchester Airport plans to become carbon neutral by 2015 but this doesn't include the emissions from the flights.

For more pictures of the action click here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Biodiversity Walk at Manchester Airport

Sunday 9th May 2010

Around 60 people took part in the Biodiversity Walk organised by the Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport coalition. Local residents and campaigners visited green belt areas threatened by the planned expansion of Manchester Airport to learn about the habitats and species which are under threat.

Members of other environmental campaigns around Greater Manchester came along to share their experiences of fighting to protect our natural landscapes from development. As well as a number of homes at Hasty Lane, several important habitats are either scheduled for destruction or likely to be badly affected by expansion plans.

On a family-friendly day out, residents and campaigners were able to see first hand some of the natural beauty still thriving in the shadow of the airport, as well as to learn from the Save our North West Green Belt and Save Chorlton Meadows campaigns about how best to build support and take on a process which too often disregards public opinion and environmental issues.

Manchester Airport has plans to remove areas such as parts of Sunbank Woodfrom the Greenbelt in order to build more carparks and freight sheds.  (Source:  Manchester’s Core Strategy, Manchester Airport Issues Paper, Refining Options Consultation April 2009 - page 8)  

The event is a continuation of the 'Adopt a Resident' scheme where campaigners have teamed up with threatened residents at Hasty Lane to help save their homes.

The areas visited included irreplaceable ancient woodlands directly adjacent to the site of planned development. These woodlands are home to a wide variety of plants and tree species as well as animals like badgers, foxes and buzzards. The proposed airport development would drastically alter the landscape in the area affecting for the survival of these woods.

Campaigners also visited an ancient pond which is home to a population of great crested newts, an endangered species found only in north west England. As well as the destruction of habitats like this, development can separate and isolate populations of a species; this interrupts the natural movement of animals and reduces their genetic diversity, harming their chances of survival.

Local biology enthusiasts explained how development has effects on biodiversity beyond the direct destruction of habitats, and how attempts by developers to offset the damage they cause are no substitute for leaving existing natural environments untouched. The areas earmarked for development should be protected by green belt status, but the airport seems determined to have this status removed to clear the way for development.

Hasty Lane resident Holly Johnson said, "This biodiversity walk aims to give people a visual experience of what airport expansion looks like. Not only is it bad for the climate and responsible for knocking down people's homes, it's also destroying beautiful green spaces. You cannot replace a 400 year old ancient woodland by planting some new trees down the road. That's not how biodiversity works."

Biodiversity enthusiast Alison Hunt said, "I never realised what historic and untouched corners of countryside still exist around the Ringway airport boundaries- ancient woodland and hedgerows, historic cottages and farms, tranquil fields and ponds. These hidden gems are now all threatened by the Airport's expansion plans to become the 'Heathrow of the North'."



Monday, March 29, 2010

High Court rules against the government's third runway decision

From the Sunday Times

Sunday 28th March 2010

CO2 ruling may halt new airport runways

By Steven Swinford and Chris Gourlay

CAMPAIGNERS will seek to block airport expansion across Britain following a High Court judgment which criticised the government’s decision to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Environmental groups linked to Stansted, Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and a string of other airports hope to use the ruling to launch fresh challenges against plans for mass growth in flights and passenger numbers.

The judgment on Friday 26th March found that ministers had failed to take account of new, legally binding targets to reduce carbon dioxide emissions when they approved the expansion of Heathrow.

It comes after a two-year campaign by The Sunday Times revealed how BAA, the owner of Heathrow, colluded with the government to build the case for passenger growth.

Justine Greening, a Tory frontbencher who has led opposition to the third runway, said: “This ruling has profound consequences for airport expansion, not just at Heathrow but across the country. The law is there to protect people from overpowerful and vested interests and Friday’s ruling was a victory for the people.”

The government’s case for expanding Heathrow hinged on a seven-year-old aviation white paper. A coalition of local councils, residents and green groups argued that it failed to take into account statutory limits on CO2 emissions that were introduced in 2008.

Lord Justice Carnwath agreed, saying the government’s position was “untenable” and should be reviewed. The judge said: “Common sense demanded that a policy established in 2003, before important developments in climate change policy, should be subject to review in light of these developments.”

Carnwath declined to rule that Heathrow’s third runway should be abandoned, but the verdict could still have repercussions across the country.

At Stansted, BAA has announced plans for a second runway which would see passenger numbers rise from 24m to 68m by 2030. Carol Barbone, the director of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “Without the security blanket of government policy to rely on, BAA knows its chances of securing a favourable result from a public inquiry are extremely doubtful.”

Activists believe that plans for a second runway at Birmingham international airport, outlined in the 2003 aviation white paper, are now dead in the water. Proposals to increase the number of passengers at Bristol international airport from 6.2m to 10m by 2020, currently being considered by the local council, could now be challenged. Carnwath’s ruling could also scupper the introduction of more flights at Manchester airport, Southend airport in Essex and Biggin Hill in Kent.

It means that proposals by this newspaper and backed by Boris Johnson, the London mayor, for a four-runway island airport in the Thames estuary are now highly unlikely to proceed. However, Manchester city council has already approved plans for its airport to expand to handle up to 50m passengers a year by 2030.

Robbie Gillett, spokesman for the Stop Expansion At Manchester Airport coalition, said: “The expansion plans are based on outdated thinking. This ruling gives us strong grounds to challenge further growth.”

Under the climate change act, Britain is committed to reducing its CO2 emissions by an average of 80% from 1990 levels. Ministers denied that Carnwath’s decision represented a setback but said that aviation policy will be re-examined in 2011 when the new climate targets will be taken into account.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Related articles:

Manchester Evening News - "Manchester Airport urged to put expansion plans on hold" - 28th March 2010

"It's not just about airports" - The Telegraph - 26th March 2010

Monday, March 8, 2010

Manchester Evening News front page exclusive

From the Manchester Evening News

Manchester Airport 'to be as busy as Heathrow'
Exclusive by Alice McKeegan

8th March 2010

Manchester Airport will double the number of flights it handles and become as busy as Heathrow is today, the government has predicted.

According to the official forecast, there will be 449,000 take offs and landings at Manchester by 2050 – up from 213,000 in 2005.

It would mean a flight taking off or landing on average every 70 seconds.

The forecast was published in a report to the Committee on Climate Change and has been described as ‘shocking’ by opponents of the airport’s expansion.

Campaigners warned that the surge in air traffic would lead to another terminal being built at Manchester, although airport chiefs denied the claim.

The Department for Transport put forward the predictions as part of efforts to determine Britain’s carbon dioxide emissions. They predict Manchester will be the fastest growing of the four biggest airports in Britain and will overtake Gatwick to become the second busiest. By 2050, it is predicted to handle as many flights as Heathrow does now.

But Heathrow is also forecast to expand, albeit at a slower rate than Manchester, and will still be the country’s busiest airport, with just over 700,000 flights.

Lib Dem councillor Martin Eakins, who has campaigned against airport expansion, said: “Nobody I’ve spoken to was aware of the extent to which Manchester Airport hopes to expand, indeed those I’ve told are both shocked and stunned by the news. The wider community should be consulted as homes under or near flight paths will surely lose their value due to the increased noise and pollution.

“Manchester council, which jointly owns the airport, should come clean and assess the impact these extra flights would cause before pressing ahead.”

Robbie Gillett from the Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport pressure group said: “It’s time to update our thinking about airport expansion. We need to create jobs in low carbon industries and move away from this ‘all-growth-is-good-growth’ mentality.”

The figures are included in a report by the Committee on Climate Change. It warns that Britain’s aviation demand could grow more than 200 per cent over the next 40 years and the number of passengers could rise from 230m to 695m per year.

That would threaten the government’s aim to keep carbon dioxide emissions at or below 2005 levels and put Britain 600,000 take-offs and landings over the target limit.

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: “We welcomed the report published by the Committee on Climate Change and as an industry pledged again to reduce levels of carbon dioxide emissions substantially in the years ahead. Aviation holds a key role, not only in providing essential transport links that enable economies to grow, but in bringing important benefits to society, the value of which should not be underestimated.”

MEN EDITORIAL - Monday 8th March 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hasty Lane twins with Sipson

Residents and campaigners against the expansion of Manchester and Heathrow airports have joined forces in a show of solidarity between both places threatened by airport expansion.
Around 80 people turned out for the launch of the 'Adopt-a-Resident' scheme on Hasty Lane which involved campaigners from across Manchester and across the country pledging to support the residents in their battle to save their homes and that if it came to it – to take direct action against the bulldozers trying to demolish their homes.

Peter Johnson and daughter Holly Johnson hosted the event in front of their house. They were joined by Tracy Howard – a resident from Sipson, as well John Stewart, Chair of AirportWatch, and activists from Plane Stupid.

The day also involved a visit to the nearby 300 year old natural pond and home to endangered Great Crested Newts.

SEMA spokesperson Sian Jones said: "The residents aren't alone in this - climate justice campaigners from across Manchester and the country are backing them all the way."

Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson said: “Together with Sipson residents, we are going to fight these irresponsible and unnecessary plans. Our local councillors all opposed the plans, but they were overruled. The council has let us down, but we’re not going to give up that easily.”

Sipson resident Tracy Howard, 35, who made the trip up north for the twinning event said: “The story of Hasty lane is a way too familiar story to ours. Local communities suffering from a big airport that is destroying our homes, our health and the climate. If a 3rd runway at Heathrow is built I face losing my home, my job and my grandmother’s grave will be dug up. This is why I have been adopted by a Plane Stupid activist as there direct action tactics could be all we have left.”
BBC Website

Manchester Evening News report