Plane Stupid Scotland: BAA ASBO crackdown


What would you do if your neighbour blasted loud noise every couple of minutes until late in the night; pumped toxic gases into the air and generally went out of their way to be anti-social? Welcome to the world of Clydebank residents, living near Glasgow airport. Sick of BAA dismissing their complaints as "isolated occurrences", they've banded together and demanded BAA be served with an ASBO.

This is one of the first outcomes of the Airportwatch Scotland's 'PlaneSpeaking' community mobilisation against airport expansion. Whilst Clydebank slaps an ASBO on BAA, other activists are working with airport staff on 'just transition' issues. Meanwhile other locals are plotting hard, with talk of mass kite-flying or balloon-releasing activities (which could ground planes for 'health and safety'). Watch this space...

Scottish Government ignores Climate Bill consultation responses

Gamerz ignore

What if you threw a consultation and nobody came? Not a problem for the Scottish Executive, whose recent consultation into the Climate Bill garnered 21,000 responses, most demanding that international aviation be included in the emissions reductions targets. Despite what civil servant automatons claim, it's not too complicated - basically you just convert 'bunker fuel' into emissions and include it within your calculations. An A grade GCSE maths student could probably do it.

But like their British counterparts, it all got too hard for the Scottish Government. They really, really don't want to include international aviation, because then they'll either have to tackle wanton flying or miss their emissions targets. Faced with thousands of responses, the Government did something rather sneaky - they lumped all the responses together into 8 different responses (one for each NGO that got its members to respond) and promptly announced that just a third of respondents wanted aviation emissions included.

Dr. Richard Dixon, head of WWF Scotland, was understandably pretty pissed off. "When the government themselves solicited tens of thousands of responses on the smoking ban, they were delighted to count them all. However, with more than 20,000 people telling the government to do the right thing by including flying in the climate bill, it is hugely disappointing that they have gone out of their way to sideline these responses." Some faceless civil servant responded, "Difficult to assess emissions... international effort... more than one flight... can't be arsed... going to miss my flight."

Plane Stupid Scotland: Holyrood is undermining democracy

PS Scotland Holyrood 2

Double whammy! With two consultations ending this April, Scottish Minister John Swinney is pulling off a fabulously nefarious coup. Two proposed reforms - one to planning, one to climate change - will massively increase emissions, cutting democracy out of the deal. A whole generation of Scotland's development is being removed from public debate.

The planning reforms and climate change laws look like very different beasts, but both will have the same impact - increased emissions. The National Planning Framework, alongside the Planning Scotland Act 2006, gives Government central control over planning. The Climate Change Bill takes the most important thing we need to plan for –- control of emissions -– and gifts it to the big polluters. One centralises government, the other decentralises - but both lock citizens out of politics.

Plane Stupid Scotland: oppose the National Planning Framework

PS Scotland Holyrood 4

Plane Stupid Scotland have taken to the roof of Holyrood to fight plans that will make it all but impossible to block new roads and runways. Under National Planning Framework (NPF) proposals, Ministers will designate a whole generation of dirty development as 'National Developments', which bypass public or parliamentary approval. The meager consultation exercise on the proposals ends tomorrow, with legislation expected in the autumn.

Ministers plan to lable Edinburgh and Glasgow airport expansions as National Developments, reinforcing existing plans to expand all Scottish airports by 2030. As a blank cheque for massive airport expansion with no scrutiny or accountability, the NPF is recipe for disasters like Heathrow in every major Scottish city.

Ediburgh airport: new runway surface, same BAA spin


Six members of Plane Stupid Scotland attended an information evening hosted by BAA about the impact that runway resurfacing will have on local communities around Edinburgh Airport. BAA wants to resurface the main runway at Edinburgh airport, renewing its life for 10 years and enabling it to cope with the planned increase in passenger numbers.

The resurfacing work will mean that flight paths will be changed, causing noise pollution over houses that have not previously been affected. Noise pollution from aviation has been linked to high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, strokes and problems in children’s mental and physical development. Unsurprisingly, BAA is keeping kind of quiet about all that - come to think of it, they kept pretty quiet about the consultation meeting as well. The only advert in the local paper gave the wrong venue.

Edinburgh airport: runway climate change

Plane Stupid Scotland logo

It’s official now. Whilst BAA are busying themselves with "community consultations" regarding Edinburgh airport expansion, Ryanair have been signing the contracts and smoothing the runways for their expansion in 2008-9. Last week the BBC News reported that Ryanair is investing £70 million in expansion at Edinburgh airport over the coming year.

I imagine the communities around the airport, in the pathway of the runways and the pollution, have been notified. The announcement included the aim of creating 1,200 new jobs. But for those who cringe upon hearing well-rehearsed company lines of ‘economic boost’ without any thought on social and environmental implications these arguments may not sit comfortably. Indeed, for all those who hold any stake in the health of Scotland, what we are left thinking is this:

VisitScotland loses the plot

Visit Scotland

Regional tourism board VisitScotland are, unsurprisingly, tasked with promoting tourism north of the border. It's not a difficult job, as Scotland has fantastic scenery, internationally renowned outdoor sports facilities and the whole Edinburgh festival thingie. It's also served pretty well by trains - although a high-speed rail link certainly wouldn't go amis.

So why has the QUANGO jumped into bed with easyJet? Eagle-eyed readers of the Times this week may have spotted joint adverts promoting cheap flights to Inverness. Now, flying to Inverness isn't exactly environmentally friendly, but it's not just about emissions. The UK has a £17 billion tourism deficit, mostly brought about by the ludicrous growth of cheap flights. Jumping into bed with an airline is just making the problem worse.

BAA greenwash goes into tailspin

Traffic jam

Sometimes things happen for a reason; other times, it's just coincidence. The day after Leo's post about the methods the aviation industry use to fudge their emissions, BAA puts out a press release claiming that cars arriving at Edinburgh airport pollute more than the planes. It's a classic example of greenwash.

In a slight of hand so unsubtle that even the Edinburgh Evening News mentioned it, BAA set up NOx readers at 20 locations around the airport to measure pollution levels. They showed that NOx levels were higher in the car park and on the approach roads than on the airfield - although, crucially, the readers do not measure gases emitted at altitude. BAA is comparing thousands of cars driving in and parking with the NOx emissions of aircraft taking off or landing while discarding those in flight.