Moving roads for airports - Birmingham gets critical

While the country holds its breath to discover what our oh-so-functional democracy will deliver in the next few days, it seems that new runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick are way down the agenda, if not totally dead in the water. Airport expansion outside of London is likely to be the new front line for aviation, so this weekend Manchester and Birmingham activists were out and about.

In Birmingham on Saturday we faced down farcical planning and rain. Students representing universities from across the Midlands gathered with folk from Birmingham Critical Mass, Friends fo the Earth, Coventry Peace House, and the Greens to take a sound system for a ride along the A45.

We started from outside Birmingham City Council, who, along with Solihull council, recently decided to move the road so that Birmingham International can expand. The council has failed to reveal exactly how much they intend to spend on this inspired project, but it's looking like £32 million of public money. That's £32 million just to prop up the profits of a buisness that intends to subject residents in the area to the emissions and noise polltion of 17,000 new flights every year.

It was a damp but often joyous 10 mile ride to the airport. We shook off our cycle cop escort after the first mile or so, and proceeded with some fine bike dancing and much ringing of bells to the A45, where we experienced the underbelly of incoming planes up close and personal. With blossom, snacks and many innovations in the assisting of heavy trailers up hills, it was a good day for new alliances and possibilites.