Last Chance to Stop Plane Insanity

26th June 2003
news
release

www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/planetruth

News Release

Embargo: 00:01 26th June 2003

Manchester Friends of the Earth [1] are calling on Manchester residents and workers to take their last chance to limit the growth of Manchester Airport. The Government’s consultation on the expansion of the aviation industry [2] ends on Monday 30th June and the group’s website at https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/planetruth offers people a quick and simple way to respond.

If the scenarios outlined by the Government are put into effect then there could be a trebling of flights at Manchester by 2030. This will result in a lower quality of life due to the vast increases in noise levels and road traffic to the airport. Internationally, the increase in flights will increase the likelihood of drastic climate change. Experts disagree with the aviation industry’s claims that expansion brings economic benefits.

Graeme Sherriff, coordinator of Manchester Friends of the Earth, “The consultation has been going on for a year and now is the time for people to speak up, before it’s too late. If the Government gives the go ahead for another runway and terminal, which will mean the skies above Manchester being crowded with planes keeping people awake all hours of the night. But it’s not just about planes – more planes means more people driving their cars to the airport. This in itself will release vast amounts of dangerous fumes into the local environment.”

Expanding Manchester Airport is also bad for local jobs and the local economy, says Professor Whitelegg [3]. Whitelegg said, “The airline industry has been very successful in winning subsidies and support and for its expansion on the back of flawed arguments claiming that airports are vital for the local economy. This is simply not true and airports account for small numbers of jobs, only 0.6% in the Northwest, and are just as likely to accelerate job loss to other parts of the world as they are to bring jobs to Manchester. It’s now time for aviation to grow up, pay its own way and pay for the huge damage that it causes to the local and global environment.”

Dr. Michael Bane, climate campaigner for Manchester Friends of the Earth, warned, “Dangerous decisions that the Government makes today will certainly effect us and our children for decades. The aviation industry is set to profit at our expense. Go to our website today and make sure you voice your concern.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

[1] Manchester Friends of the Earth is a prominent pressure group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on their website: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is part of a national network of local groups, affiliated to the national organisation (further information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk).

[2] The Government is currently considering the future of air transport in the UK (www.airconsult.gov.uk). It is planning a massive increase in air travel over the next 30 years. This would mean the expansion of airports and building of new ones – all with knock-on effects on communities across the UK not just people living near airports. In Manchester this could mean a trebling of passenger numbers to 70 million per year, a third runway and a fourth terminal making it the Heathrow of the North. Effects will include:

· Increased climate change – aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change which is starting to be felt in the UK and could increase flooding and extreme weather events;
· Taxpayers subsidising the airlines – the average UK taxpayer already pays an extra £500 a year to the aviation industry. This is because of the large subsidies the Government hands to the industry from the public purse. Expanded air travel and airports will may mean taxpayers paying even more to subsidise the airlines and airport operators;
· Road congestion – Most people travel to airports in cars. More air travel will have huge knock-on effects on traffic and congestion across wide areas, not just around airports;
· Loss of wildlife and countryside – Building new airports, runways, warehouses, service areas and roads will take up valuable land and destroy precious wildlife habitats;
· More noise pollution – Hundreds of thousands of people already suffer from noise pollution. This number will soar as a result of more flights, airports and runways.
· Negative effects on rural economies – more flights provide a gateway for cheap imports, such as fruit and vegetables, which could have been produced locally by UK growers.

[3] Professor John Whitelegg is leader of the Implementing Sustainability Group at the Stockholm Environment Institute, University of York. He is also Managing Director of the transport consultancy Eco-Logica.