Open letter to Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council and Chair of Manchester Airport’s Shareholders Committee

Dear Sir Richard,

At the full Council meeting on the 2nd December, you dismissed objections to the decision to expand Manchester Airport, and you down-played the future impact aviation emissions will have on our climate. You erroneously claimed that aviation only accounts for 2% of the UK’s CO2 output and re-confirmed your enthusiastic support for the continued expansion of Manchester Airport. Intentionally or not, you have allied yourself with climate change deniers and the Aviation industry, whilst your opponents are scientists, public opinion and your own government – this is not where you should be.

In 2006, the Centre for Air Transport and the Environment at MMU published a report commissioned by DEFRA which calculated that aviation emissions would contribute between 86% and 128% of the country’s total CO2 budget by 2050, if allowed to expand in line with the 2003 Air Transport white paper. In other words, aviation alone would take up most, if not exceed, our total carbon budget by 2050 if allowed to fully expand.

Last week the world was dismayed when our leaders failed to reach a legally binding agreement at the Copenhagen Climate Change summit. Although you travelled to Copenhagen and presented Manchester City Council’s Climate Change plan, we regard it as flawed as it does not recognise the dangers of expanding Manchester Airport. What’s the point in Manchester City Council attending the summit, only to tell everyone that whilst we are expanding our biggest polluter, the rest of the world should cut back?

You are in a unique position as leader of Manchester City Council and chair of Manchester Airport’s Shareholders Committee to reduce Manchester’s contribution to aviation emissions by halting any further expansion. We urge you to announce a moratorium on any future expansion at Manchester Airport, and cancel the recently approved plan to double air freight capacity.

Yours sincerely,

Peter and Holly Johnson – Threatened residents of Hasty Lane
Jon Harcourt – Threatened resident of Hasty Lane
Anthony Lowe – Rose Cottage, Hasty Lane
John Stewart – Chair, Airport Watch
Liz Snook – Plane Stupid
Robbie Gillett – Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport group
Gayle O’Donovan – Green Party Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Manchester Central
Dr Mary Di Mauro – Chair, Wythenshawe and Sale East Liberal Democrats
Cllr Martin Eakins – Lib-Dem Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Wythenshawe and Sale East

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