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Manchester to be the next Heathrow

news release

Friends of the Earth today accused the Government of abdicating its environmental responsibilities after it gave the green light to a massive expansion in air travel.

North West regional coordinator Frank Kennedy said that the White Paper announced by Transport Secretary Alistair Darling will allow Manchester Airport to treble in size over the next 25 years – making it the equivalent of another Heathrow. He called on North West politicians to accept that airlines and airports cause great damage to the region. “This will heap more misery on the many thousands who suffer from its noise, pollution and the nightmare of ever-increasing traffic congestion for many miles around.”

Although Transport Minister Alistair Darling also announced a number of ‘environmental measures’, these were greeted by Friends of the Earth as “window-dressing”, and predicted to have minimal impact on reducing the damage that will be caused through the expected increase in flights. The release of greenhouse gases from aircraft is especially damaging as it causes three times the climate change of emissions released at ground level.

Frank continued: “The Leader of the North West Regional Assembly is on record as saying that airports cannot expand indefinitely, and that councils and all businesses need to cut their ‘greenhouse gas’ emissions. The air travel industry is now being given a Government green light to do exactly the opposite [2]. We need to face up to the reality that are massively polluting, drain cash out of North West England, and consume billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in subsidies”.

Graeme Sherriff, Co-ordinator of Manchester FoE was extremely disappointed with the White Paper: “The Government has done it again, paid lip service to sustainability and quality of life and then jumped straight into bed with an industry that delivers neither. There’s a reason why there is so much opposition to the expansion of Heathrow. It’s because residents already experience the noise and pollution that so many flights cause. Now that Manchester has been given the go ahead to have that much air traffic by 2030 it has to ask itself if by then it wants to be where Heathrow is now.”


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: 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

[2] The Government has adopted a target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 60 per cent by 2050 compared with 1990 levels. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee recently concluded that the proposed growth in emissions “could totally destroy the Government’s recent commitment to a 60% cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050.”

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