Category Archives: Call to Real Action

Manchester Airport protesters found guilty but vow to fight on

Speaking after the case, defendant Mark Haworth said, “The battle against airport expansion at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick was won because ordinary people came together, joined forces and took on the aviation industry. We’ve linked up with residents in Manchester and Heathrow and we’ll continue to challenge Manchester Airport’s expansion plans.”

Fellow defendant Amanda Walters said, “The judge accepted that our concerns were legitimate and that other means of making our views heard had been tried. While the council continues to impose expansion of the airport onto local people, we will continue to fight it.”

A large part of the defence case focused on the ‘reasonableness’ of the action given that other methods of redress had been explored. The witness statements of Lib Dem Manchester Councillor Martin Eakins and Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson was read out verbatim by the Defence Counsel Richard Thomas.

Hasty Lane is set to be demolished if plans to expand the World Freight Centre at Manchester Airport are allowed to go ahead.

In Peter Johnson’s written statement, he described his efforts to prevent his family home from being demolished, “We are now in a position where help and support from other areas in continuing to oppose the decision means that another route must be used if we are to halt this and/or further expansion already proposed or identified by the airport.”

Commenting on the verdict, Johnson said, “I’m disappointed for the individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty – for a cause we should all be worried about. This isn’t just a matter of concern for those of us living at Hasty Lane – the expansion of the Airport will have effects on the whole of Manchester, and the world too. Sadly, actions like these are seldom recognised as being right at the time, but the fight continues.”

In his statement, Martin Eakins described his close invlovement in the campaign to Save Hasty Lane, including making official representations to the Wythenshawe Area Committee, petitions and letters to national government; “I feel that all democratic avenues were exhausted and I think it is reasonable to say that the only way avenue to achieve carbon reductions through traditional politics in this case was closed,” the Court heard.

Mark Haworth and Amanda Walters were given a fine of £175 an £250 respectively plus were ordered to pay £460 in costs each plus a £15 ‘victim surcharge’ each. On Monday, nine other defendants involved in the protest pleaded guilty and received fines and costs averaging around £340 each.

A public campaign titled ‘Manchester Airport on Trial’ is being run around the court trial and has received statements of support from local members of the public, local groups, academics, barristers, Independent journalist Johann Hari, and prominent national politicians such as Heathrow Labour MP John McDonnell, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Conservative Party MP Zac Goldsmith.
You can see all the current statements of support here: http://www.manchesterairportontrial.org/support-2/support/

In February 2010, residents at Sipson Village – which was earmarked for demolition if the previous government had pressed ahead with plans to add a third runway to Heathrow Airport – joined forces with Manchester campaigners in a ‘twinning’ ceremony, which joined Sipson with Hasty Lane, a row of houses near Manchester Airport currently set for demolition if expansion plans go ahead.
http://stopmanchesterairport.blogspot.com/2010/02/hasty-lane-twins-with-sipson.html

The trial of a second group who staged an airside blockade of a Monarach Airline jet at the same time as the roadside protest will commence in February 2011. Six defendants will plead not guilty to a charge of the aggravated trespass.
http://www.manchesterairportontrial.org/trials/

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A Climate Change Action Plan for Manchester City Council

On Wednesday Manchester City Council will be agreeing its Climate Change Action Plan at an Executive Committee meeting in the Town hall. This action plan is basically a document outlining how the Council plans to reduce CO2 emissions by one million tonnes in Manchester in the years up to 2020.

Richard Leese, Leader of the Council will be eagerly flying a copy of this new document to the Copenhagen Summit(COP15) so that he can show off Manchester as a shining example of what a council can do to tackle climate change(I think?). As I haven’t seen the document yet I am trying to hold off on the cynicism and despite their appalling record I am willing to give the council the benefit of the doubt for now. At the end of the day it is in none of our interest for the Council to produce a limp or ineffective plan and so what if it helps Sir Richard boost his non existing environmental credentials to a bunch of politicians in the process. These politicians will probably be too busy looking for ways to get out of committing to making any real and meaningful changes to notice……hmmmmm……that’s best kept another blog post .

To be fair, I’m sure there will be some interesting initiatives in the new Action Plan, enough groups including us Greens and allot of well intentioned people have chipped in; it will no doubt ‘talk the talk’ as the Call To Action did early last year. I really hope that the Climate Change Action Plan is more than a collection of buzz words and token initiatives. There wont be any earth shattering revelations lets not kid ourselves and ultimately it won’t tackle the root cause of Climate Change – the system – but it could mark a new era in the Council – it might actually start to take Climate Change seriously.

But if you are nervous about the whole thing, thankfully the Call to Real Action(C2RA), a group of concerned citizens, are going to write their own Alternative Action Plan. Just encase the Council misses out some things, as has been their habit in the past – Don’t mention the war, I mean the Airport or its 13 million tonnes of CO2! The next step for C2RA will be to publish our version of the Climate Change Action Plan ready for Sir Richards trip to Copenhagen. The C2RA Group has cleverly been using what in battle is termed a ‘pincer movement’ to ensure that the Council achieves their aim of developing a climate change strategy. They have taken an inside/outside approach participating in writing groups, the environmental advisory panel and attending consultations that the Council set up whilst almost simultaneously the C2RA have been producing an Alternative Action Plan to plug the holes so to speak.

This week could be an interesting one …………….

We need a ‘Just Transition’


Manchester Green Party is saddened by the statements coming out of Manchester Airport this week. Several hundred jobs to go due to the loss of nine of Ryanair’s routes from October. Manchester Green Party campaigns against reckless airport expansion not against the workers, who are in our thoughts at this difficult time. We campaign against those bosses intent on unlimited economic growth at the expense of our planet. As a party keen to push positive long term solutions, we strive to work with unions and workers to develop more sustainable jobs; jobs which maximise quality of life for all.

Over 200,000 people a year are already suffering from the effects of Climate Change due to the ‘go-for-growth’ attitude of the minority. It will be the workers, not the bosses who are hit the hardest by the effects of climate change. These bosses show as little regard for the wages and working conditions of their staff as they do for our planet and this is most evident when they are faced with a choice between their profits and people’s welfare.

Manchester City Council, who have a 55% share in the airport, agree that global rates of air traffic growth are unsustainable in the long term* and they are aware that it faces an uncertain future burdened with rising fuel costs and taxation as well as national and international regulations to combat climate change. Yet knowing all this Manchester City Council support the Airports Master Plan to double passenger numbers and will continue on this path once this recession passes.

We must move our economy away from carbon intensive industries such as aviation. We must make that move now rather than continuing to invest in jobs with no future. We can solve both our economic and environmental crises at the same time by investing in green jobs.

Gayle O’Donovan
Manchester Green Party

*p45 Call to Action, MCC

Art courtsey of Polyp. Check out his work on these links:

http://www.polyp.org.uk/

http://www.speechlessthebook.org

Manchester City Council has spent years promising a Climate Change Strategy for Manchester. Then back in January they released a paper titled the ‘Call to Action’. This was written by a London based consultancy firm. We felt that the document lacked local knowledge and the firm who wrote it made no effort to consult with the people of Manchester, despite claiming it was aimed at engaging the local community on Climate Change? The Council’s Call to Action seems to have shied away from targets and showed very little real initiative. It contained lots of ideas on how to re brand work that the council or other groups were already doing paying lip service to the environment. A perfect example of this is the retro-fit of the Town hall. Of course we agree this needs to be done in order to make it more energy efficient but alas when the details of the retro-fit were announced it transpired that it is going to cost 165 million pounds. The plans included putting glass tiles on the bridge going into the town hall extension as well as providing retail space; we are not sure how much value this has as a green initiative. Overall we decided that a ‘Call to Real Action’ needed to be written.

So, what is the Call to Real Action (C2RA)?

Well, we felt that in order to tackle climate change we must ‘act local but think global’. We are writing a bottom up document that can set out the foundations for how we can collectively tackle climate change here in Manchester. We need to be reducing our carbon emissions while recognising that we have an opportunity to improve people’s quality of life in the process.

The first two meeting were inspiring, lots of new faces mixed with a few of the familiar. Allot of local activists have spent years trying to get the Council to recognise climate change as a real issue. There are a wealth of skills and experience to draw from and there is a broad spectrum of individuals and groups involved. We have tried to give people the option of contributing while not having to attend countless meetings. Allot of community activists are very busy people. You can contribute via the blog or help out at different points in the process. All the sections we need to tackle have been divided up between working groups.

My main area of interest is transport…yes I’m a transport nerd. I work in cycling and campaign against Airport Expansion. I decided to stick to what I know. One of the aims of the C2RA is to capitalise on the vast amount of knowledge that groups and individuals here already have. I’m heavily involved with the Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport group. This C2RA is giving us a chance to develop our own policies even further. The SEMA coalition is made up of Manchester Friends of the Earth, Manchester Green Party, Campaign against Climate Change and Plane Stupid. Together we will help to formulate ideas for how the Council can practically deal with the emissions from Manchester Airport. Catalytic Action number nine in the Call to Action is about supporting Manchester Airport to be green. Currently it emits the same amount of CO2 as Uganda and MCC is in a very strong position to address this issue as it owns 55% of it; sadly the council have forgotten to include the emissions from the planes when talking about how to green the airport.

We are calling the next meeting the Call to Real Action 100% Proof. This gives us all a chance to come together and talk about where we are all up to and how we can synthesise the various sections.

So how can people get involved?

There is a wordpress-calltorealaction.wordpress.com
Or email: calltorealaction [at] googlemail.com

When where is next one?There will be another meeting next Monday the 16Th of March in the Friends Meeting House, Manchester, from 6.00pm til 9.00— Call to real Action 100% Proof—-All are welcome.

The main event will be the launch on Monday the 6th of April 7.00pm til 9.00 at the lovely Nexus café on dale Street in Manchester City Centre

There are lots of little sub meetings that people have arranged for their writing groups including the SEMA Teach-in on the topic of Steady State Economics at Manchester University on the 18th of March from 7.15.