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.