Category Archives: John Stewart

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:

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.

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.


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