Manchester Airport to be as big as Heathrow

Campaigners against expansion at Manchester Airport have been digging around in the Committee on Climate Change's aviation report, and discovered that the airport's expansion plans would make it as big as Heathrow by 2050.

Unsurprisingly people near the airport - including those at Hasty Lane who risk losing their homes to make way for a freight depot - are not best pleased. A Liberal Democrat councillor, who's been campaigning against expansion, told the Manchester Evening News that "Nobody I’ve spoken to was aware of the extent to which Manchester Airport hopes to expand, indeed those I’ve told are both shocked and stunned by the news."

The airport recently drew up a carbon reduction strategy, including magic lightbulbs in the toilets and all sorts of eco-gubbins. It omitted the emissions from planes, making it as useful as a chocolate teapot. It still received a Carbon Trust Standard award... which just shows up the Carbon Trust as arch-greenwashers.

Residents are fighting back though: recently they twinned with Sipson to show solidarity between blighted communities. Rumours abound about their latest plans... we'll bring you updates as we receive them.

Residents fighting expansion at Manchester and Heathrow airports join forces

Residents who live on Hasty Lane at the edge of Manchester Airport are preparing to twin with Sipson at Heathrow. Campaigners will organise a live video link-up with residents near Heathrow airport, who would lose their homes if a third runway were built.

Manchest Airport has proposed expanding their freight terminal, which would demolish homes and a large section of the historic Hasty Lane. Hasty Lane residents aren't taking this threat to their community lying down, and have launched Adopt a Resident, which links local residents with direct action campaigners who will help them resist the demolition of their homes and acres of greenbelt land.

Last November Manchester City Council announced its climate change action plan. Despite owning the majority of Manchester Airports Group (which also owns Nottingham East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth airports) their supposedly visionary strategy ignored emissions from planes at Manchester Airport . The next day the Council Planning Committee approved plans to bulldoze people's homes on Hasty Lane.

Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson said: "Together with Sipson residents, we are going to fight these irresponsible and unnecessary plans. Our local councillors all opposed the plans, but they were overruled. The council has let us down, but we’re not going to give up that easily."

Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport spokesperson Sian Jones said: "The residents aren't alone in this - climate justice campaigners from across Manchester and the country are backing them all the way." More power to their elbow!

Manchester Plane Stupid disrupt industry gala dinner

Just hours after disrupting an aviation conference with rape alarms and helium baloons, Manchester Plane Stupid targeted the aviation industry's gala dinner held at the town hall. Protestors scaled two lamposts and erected a 15m banner reading, "Aviation Industry Conference - Climate Criminals Inside".

The banner drop created a lot of attention from the public and continued the pressure on the aviation industry who are attempting to greenwash the climate issue. The Aviation conference included the launch of a new initiative to make airports carbon neutral. However, this does not include the emissions from flights which currently account for around 13% of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

"It's time for the aviation industry to wake up and to start a just transition to replace aviation jobs with emerging sustainable industries such as wind turbines," said Vanessa Hall, former city councillor and Green parlimentary candidate for Manchester Central.

"There is no such thing as a 'carbon neutral' airport, 'carbon neutral' is a term used for offsetting projects that rarely result in any real reduction in emissions. This project is even more deceptive as it won't include the massive emissions from planes," said James Alden, Green parlimentary candidate.

Manchester Plane Stupid disrupts industry greenwash conference

Campaigners disrupted an airport industry conference today using rape alarms tied to helium balloons. The protesters from the group Manchester Plane Stupid entered the Manchester Central conference venue and sent the helium balloons reading 'Happy Retirement' to the top of the ceiling where they remained with the alarms ringing.

This occurred just as the industry delegates were posing for a photo shoot for the launch of a new carbon reduction scheme at European airports - which will not include emissions from aircraft. Meanwhile, other protesters held a banner outside the entrance reading, 'Aviation Industry Conference – Climate Criminals Inside'.

Check out the photos on our Flickr photostream.

The group were protesting against the aviation's growing contribution to climate change. Megan Sims from Manchester Plane Stupid said, "The airport industry is recklessly pushing ahead with expansion plans across the UK and Europe despite all the warnings about climate change. We cannot pursue this growth agenda if we are serious about tackling global warming."

"Their latest back-patting exercise is yet more greenwash from the airport industry. They provide the growth of the facilities for aircraft to operate and encourage more flights, more emissions and more climate change."

The three day conference was being hosted by Airports Council International. The conference was suspended whilst house staff struggled to remove the floating alarms from the ceiling.

Manchester airport: emissions cleared for take-off

Manchester airport take off

Manchester City Council announced their 'Call to Action' on climate change last month, which plans to reduce the City's emissions by one third by 2020. "Great!" we thought: the Council owns 55% of Manchester Airport Group (MAG), so surely this call to action would see the Airport's emissions reduce as well?

Alas no: the Council simply washed their hands of this issue. Council Chair, Sir Richard Leese thinks they can't constrain the Airport and is using that old excuse that if the planes didn't fly out from Manchester then they would just fly from somewhere else. That two of MAG's directors, Brian Harrison and Lord Peter Smith are on the Council can't have influenced his decision, right?

The Council Executive are going for a green airport; this oxymoron involves letting the airport grow as big as it likes while talking a lot about it becoming carbon neutral. Unfortunately this carbon neutrality won't include emissions from planes, but will cover magic lightbulbs in the toilets. It's clear that finding credibility in Manchester's climate change plans is like attempting to nail jelly to a wall - the harder you try, the more it falls apart.

Tory MP: scrap Manchester-London flights

Thomas the Tank Engine

It seems that Plane Stupid's call for domestic flights to be scrapped has not gone unheeded. Tory MP and former environment minister John Gummer called for Manchester-London flights to be scrapped, and said that passengers should take the train instead.

Sounds familiar. This was exactly Plane Stupid's message when it blockaded the domestic departure lounge of Manchester Airport back in October.

Manchester climate debate report

Manchester Climate Forum debate

The 'Great Aviation Debate' in Manchester Friends Meeting House took place last Thursday in front of an audience of around 150 people.

We organised the debate after the head honchos at Manchester Airport responsed to our blockade of domestic flights back in October. The airport had slagged us off in the Times, saying:

"We would encourage those groups, including environmental groups, to engage in sensible debate and not pull stunts like this."

video_iconWatch the video

Manchester airport goes 'carbon neutral'... ish

Greenwash chart

Pity the bright spark who thought this one up. Manchester Airport has caught the greenwash bug, and announced grand plans to be carbon neutral by 2015. The catch? It's expanding flights by 50% and, quelle surprise, not including emissions from flights in in magic calculations.

Its "ambitious plans" involve using renewable energy to power the terminal, swapping some lightbulbs about and, most excitingly, "All toilets in the terminals will be fitted with movement sensors so the lights go out when not in use"!