Birmingham airport extension

Welfare cuts for the majority, more flights for the minority

Birmingham and Solihull councils have a month to decide whether to give the go ahead to Birminham Airports runway extension plans. To extend the runway, the plans are going to have to include the £32 million realignment of the A45, money in which the airport is relying on from the council. Both councils have until the 28th October to make a decision about whether to put this money in or not.

This is why they should NOT put the money in:

  • With a looming climate catastrophe ahead of us, and while most other industries and individuals are trying to make cuts in emissions, it is not just for the aviation industy to continue down the road of expansion.
  • Social welfare is being sacrificed on the god of corporate welfare - if the council decide to put the £32 million in towards the airport expanding, the money will come at an expense to services like local public transport, schools and social services.
  • The aviation industry continues to state they are simply responding to demand - this is clearly not true as we see adverts for cheap flights everywhere we go these days. Also, if people stopped flying on unnecessary flights domestically, ie from London to Manchester and London to Birmingham then we would straight away see a reduction in air passengers.
  • The increased noise impacts - there are many estates close to the airport which already suffer from the noise. An increase in air traffic is only going to make this worse.
  • Pollution levels - pollution levels are already really bad in areas around the airport, an increase in flights will add more kerosene and diesel into the air in the surrounding areas, making it an even more unpleasant place to live.

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.