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

No comments:

Post a Comment