Climate change activists blockade domestic flights

Activists from Manchester Climate Action and Manchester Plane Stupid have blockaded the security check-in of terminal 3 of Manchester Airport.

Passengers are being denied access to the departure lounge by seven activists locked together using arm-tube devices. Two banners have been unfurled reading, “Manchester City Council... supporting climate chaos” and “Domestic flights cost the Earth”. Other protesters are leafleting passengers with information about aviation and climate change as well as handing out train timetables for route destinations.

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Aviation is the fastest growing source of green house gases and according to the government is responsible for 13% of the UK's global warming contribution. The overwhelming majority of flights from terminal 3 are to domestic UK destinations such as London Heathrow. These are the most unnecessary flights. The group are calling for an end to all domestic and short-haul flights and for international aviation to be included in the Climate Change Bill.

The protesters are also highlighting the contradiction between Manchester City Council's 'Green City' initiative and their 55% ownership of Manchester airport . The airport intends to expand its annual passenger numbers from 22 million in 2005, to 39 million by 2015, to 50 million by 2030.

Green Party Councillor Vanessa Hall, who is taking part in the blockade said,

"Manchester Council say we need the income from the airport to fight poverty. The Airport costs the people of Manchester in tax breaks and subsidies – this money should be invested directly into green industries directly creating jobs and relieving poverty. Climate Change will have a massive impact on our economy, health and well-being. It is environmental and economic lunacy to consider any expansion of aviation."

"We can't be a Green City with an expanding Airport. I am blockading domestic flights to highlight the true cost of flying and to call the council to account for their hypocrisy."

The action today was inspired by the Camp for Climate Action which saw around 2000 protesters gather next to Heathrow airport in London this summer.

Robbie Gillett, also present at the protest said, "It is no longer socially acceptable to fly from Manchester to London given what we know about climate change. It's absurd when there are train alternatives readily available. The money earmarked for the expansion of British airports needs to be redirected towards improving our rail infrastructure. We're the last generation who can stop climate change and time is running out."