Category Archives: Climate Change Action Plan

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/

Manchester Airport on Trial

In May 2010, seventeen people staged a non violent protest/direct action at Manchester Airport, temporarily shutting it down. They did this to stop some of the 5 million tonnes of carbon emissions that the airport is responsible for annually and in opposition to plans to destroy local homes and biodiversity spots to expand the World Freight Centre. We have built up strong links with the local community in this area and together have managed to hold off previous expansion plans supported by Caroline Lucas(the Rose Cottage Campaign). This is the regional equivalent to the Heathrow campaign and any support you can give would be very welcome.17 people are now facing two trials as a result of this action. 11 people will be tried for ‘obstruction of the highway’ in Dec 2010. The remaining 6 will face a trial in early 2011.

Please email statements of support to or simply leave a comment on this facebook page< http://www.facebook.com/pages/Manchester-Airport-On-Trial/162820910424769?v=info >

For more information – http://www.manchesterairportontrial.org

Labour isolated in favour of airport expansion plan?

On Thursday 19th November, Manchester Council Planning Department approved the demolition of 200 year old cottages,and a neighbouring environmental and historical oasis on Hasty Lane. This to make way for an extra airport freight hanger to double its air freight capacity. Campaigners from the Stop Expansion at Manchester Aiport group were inside and outside the meeting to show their support for the residents. All five votes in favour of the demolition of the 2 cottages came from the Labour Councillors despite the wishes of the local residents, environmentalists and even local Labour Councillors who had previously rejected the plans at the Wythenshawe Area Committee on 22nd October 2009.                                                      
                                                                                             Hasty Lane now

This very unpopular decision has even been described as “worrying” by the Tories. Marie Raynor, the Wythenshawe Conservatives spokesperson commented that “to allow the demolition of two cottages, the destruction of a meadow, and the removal of a habitat for local wildlife sets a bad precedent. It sends a message to ratepayers, that Manchester’s Councillors put the interests of big business before those of the people they were elected to serve.”

With the Greens, the Lib Dems, Tories, residents and environmental campaigners opposed to the plans, it seems Labour are increasingly isolated on the issue. A coalition of English Heritage, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit, the Council for British Archaeology, local councillors and residents and SEMA have all opposed the previous plans and Manchester Airport had to withdraw its application to demolish Rose Cottage. The new plan still intends to demolish the buildings, fell the trees and concrete over the pond to build two giant air freight cargo units whilst arguing that the development will be good for the local economy. This renewed assault seems even more damaging than the last and will be met with fierce opposition.
                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                                       Intended Plan for Hasty Lane

The decision to go ahead with the expansion of the air freight facilities is in spite of the fact that air freight has been falling consistently for over 2 years (LINK http://stopmanchesterairport.blogspot.com/2009/02/manchester-air-freight-nose-dives.html). Added to this, it could seriously undermine the councils commitment to becoming a low carbon city. The Councils Climate Change Action plan was launched on the 18th of November, it makes bold commitments to reduce the City’s climate change impact by 41% by 2020; it also talks about more green spaces whilst agreeing to build on Hasty Lane an area of biodiversity. Hasty Lane is one of the last parts of the Green Belt left out in Wythenshawe. If the council was serious about tackling climate change would they have made this decision?

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 …………….