Shutting down London City Airport good for economy

Shutting down an airport.  Officially.  Legally.  For good.  It sounds like the impossible dream.  Wild.  Impracticable.  Impossible in this day and age.  It sounds even more ridiculous to claim that it will benefit the economy.

Yet that is exactly what a new report published today by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) claims will happen if London City Airport closes.  Royal Docks Revival: Replacing City Airport, commissioned by the campaign group HACAN East, shows that, if City Airport were shut down, the land freed up would be able to cater for businesses which produced many more jobs and created a lot more income than the airport does.

The stats are convincing.  City Airport contributes £750 million each year to the UK economy.  The nearby Excel Centre, which occupies roughly the same amount of space as the airport, contributes £1.3 billion. City Airport employs the equivalent of 1,900 full-time jobs.  The proposed Silvertown Quays development, just along the road, estimates it will employ 9,000.  Even if that turns out to be an overestimate, the difference remains huge.  But the report’s emphasis is more about replacing the airport with community-run businesses rather than with more big corporations.

The closure of London City would not add to the pressure to expand Heathrow or any other London Airport.  City only accounts for 2.4% of the traffic at the London airports, easily absorbed by the other airports.

Currently the airport messes up the local community with noise and air pollution. The local choir who sang at the launch said they couldn’t perform outside because of the noise of the planes.  The airport also contributes to CO2 emissions.  What could be cooler than closing it down.  This report shows that would also benefit the economy.

Resistance to airport expansion spreads to Toronto

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2c/Toronto_City_Centre_Airport.jpg

From England to France to Germany resistance right now to airport expansion across the world is rife. The wave of reistance appears to of now made it way now to Toronto.

This week, Toronto council voted unanimously, 44 - 0, to accept the city manager's report calling for way more study on the proposed addition of jets to the inner harbour airport.

This is a resounding victory as Porter Airlines was looking for a conditional approval. No dice! Now, they must fund many, many studies on its potential impact.

The City made it clear it won't spend a nickel on infrastructure. This saddles the Port Authority (a federal patronage trough of an agency), which operates the airport, to come up with $300 million - and that's just for groundside infrastructure improvements, let alone all the necessary additions to the airport, including the 400 metre runway extension.

No one wants to fund this. Passenger levies wouldn't work (unless they saddle them with $100 building fees, or something that would turn customers away). What's even better, the council won't consider this again until next year after the next municipal election when we're hoping the left wing Olivia Chow gets in; the only mayoral candidate dead set against jets downtown. We can take a well-earned break for a bit.

This blog was first written by an aviation campaigner from Toronto but has been edited by Plane Stupid.

No third runway video competition announced

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HACAN (Heathrow Association for Control of Aircraft Noise) and Zac Goldsmith MP have announced today a new video competition against expansion of Heathrow Airport.

The project is called 'No Ifs, No Buts' in reference to David Cameron's promise before the last election to rule out expansion at Heathrow. "Yet within 30 months of taking power he set up a commission to look again at the question of a new runway" the website says. 

We like video competitions and this one has a first prize of £10,000 and celebrity judges including actor Hugh Grant. Tempted? To find out more details and to enter the competition see http://www.no-ifs-no-buts.com/ and follow @videoheathrow

Zac Goldsmith MP said:

“The competition is open to absolutely everyone, and will be judged on the night by a high profile panel, as well as the audience itself. Among the submissions, I’m looking for some really powerful messages that will be taken up on social and conventional media, and ram home the message that Heathrow expansion is not only the wrong solution for our economy, it is politically undeliverable."

He added:

“A green light for Heathrow expansion is effectively a green light for a vast, foreign-owned and taxpayer-subsidised monopoly on one edge of our great city. The Chancellor needs to stop being led by the lobby groups and think the issue through himself.”

HACAN Chair John Stewart said:

“Many people are hugely disappointed that David Cameron has gone back on his promise not to build a new runway at Heathrow. This ‘No ifs; no buts’ competition can highlight that.”

Plane Stupid to run direct action training in Frankfurt

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Angry at Frankfurt Airport expansion plans? For years at Frankfurt, campaigners against the expansion of Frankfurt airport have been squatting the forest of Kelsterbach, where the airport's bosses plan to clearcut 100,000 trees to build a new runway. The new runway would double the number of flights, destroying any last remnant of peace and quiet for local residents.

On February 22nd, Plane Stupid's Dan Glass will join a UK delegation which includes John Stewart from HACAN to run a direct action training in Frankfurt. Germany, here we come again!

Rumours Plane Stupid are coming back to London

That lot at HACAN (Heathrow Assoication for Control of Aircraft Noise) are suggesting a Plane Stupid revival in London is on the cards.

Is it true or not? Only time will tell.

Plane Truth book review

Easily one of the most comprehensive reviews of aviations impact on the environment, 'Plane Truth' has all the facts required to destroy the aviation industrys arguments for expansion.

Author Rose Bridger is clear that we cannot have endless aviation expansion by simply creating quieter and more efficient planes. The effect of more efficient planes is minimal at best and profit seeking greenwash at worst. The chapter on alternative fuels is one of the best as Rose proves that alternative fuels such as biofuel and others are both unproven and totally unsustainable.

Despite the introduction of cheaper flights over the last two decades Rose points out that "flight remains the preserve of a small minority, who are, in global terms, affluent" but yet the impact of these emissions has implications for everyone.

Rose picks apart the economic case for expansion by for example looking at the tourism deficit in the UK which highlights how more money actually leaves the UK through aviation than income made from inbound tourists. She also highlights how the aviation industry is one of the most subsidised industrys here in the UK but also in the US and other countries round the world. In the UK aviation pays no VAT and is exempt from paying tax on its fuel.

Do we as a country want to protect lifestyle habits of primarily the rich while devastating efforts to combat climate change in the process? After reading this book the answer to this question is a big fat NO.

The book is available to buy at Pluto Books