Projection Activism

The Managing Director of Southend Airport, Alastair Welch has been targeted for pushing for expansion at Southend Airport - something which is not acceptable considering the climate change impacts.

Alastair Welch was giving a lecture at Southend's Royal Naval Association HQ when suddenly STOP AIRPORT EXPANSION amongst other messages were projected onto the building. There was no custard thrown, no superglue used - this was a simple, clever, imaginative and effective way to make a very valid point. A pat on the back is in order to whoever was behind this one.

Aberdeen expansion plans approved

Expansion plans at Aberdeen Airport have been given the go-ahead, with work expected to start in March 2011 and finish in Summer 2012. This 124m extension plan will leave us with no chance of meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. We need a ban on all airport expansion if we are to have any hope of preventing runaway climate change.

Other groups such as Aberdeen Against Climate Change are also opposing these plans. The chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) stated that "transport and connectivity are key to acheiving economic growth and enhancing the quality of life in the region". As seen with other airport expansion plans, it is clear that quality of life for those around the airport is certainly reduced significantly, with the threat of having houses bulldozed, increased air pollution and the construction of other infrastructure such as large access roads.

Tourism deficit means that more money is actually lost from our economy, as people spend more abroad than people spend when in the UK. Plane Stupid calls for a ban on all airport expansion, including at Aberdeen.

Victory: expansion at Siena Airport bites the dust

Campaigners in Italy have scored a fabulous victory against airport expansion.  There were plans to turn Siena’s Ampugnano runway, currently just an airstrip with just a handful of flights a week, into a commercial airport bringing short-haul operators such as Ryanair into the area.

It would have devastated the Tuscany countryside around Siena – amongst some of the most tranquil areas left in Europe. Local people, fighting to preserve their way of life, organised a feisty campaign which brought together local residents, students and politicians from the Greens and the Left.

Siena has a long history of radical protest and this campaign both tapped into and maintained that proud tradition. Campaigners made links with other airport campaigns across Europe, organised colourful, high-profile demonstrations, questioned the economic need for the airport. Critically, they exposed the murky links between the local council, the main bank in Siena and the developers of the airport.

 The decision of the authorities not to proceed with the airport is a triumph for local people who, when faced with the threat, chose not to dance to the authorities' tune but to pro-actively take them on, to challenge, to set the agenda and to expose their corruption. A great example for campaigners everywhere.

Hypocrite Trump blocks expansion at airport near home in Florida

Who would’ve guessed it? Donald Trump, the American golf course tycoon who has been a driving force behind aviation expansion at Aberdeen airport, has launched a lawsuit in a bid to stop the expansion of an airport near his home in Florida.

The Celebrity Apprentice boss filed papers in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on Monday 19th July, accusing county officials of failing to assess noise and associated pollution from jet engines at Palm Beach International Airport, near his Mar-a-Lago estate and members-only beach club.

The complaint, which also targets the airport's director, Bruce Pelly, aims to block construction of a second runway and prevent planes flying over his properties. Plans for the expansion are currently on hold.

Johnny Agnew, 22, from Plane Stupid Scotland said: "This is amazing hypocrisy. Donald Trump's plans would significantly contribute to expansion at Aberdeen Airport. He has created a living nightmare for families who don’t know if they will see their next Christmas in their own home."

"This new information that he is actually fighting to block Airport Expansion near his own home shows that he can only act in self-interest and will never benefit Aberdeen.  He is simply acting to make big money for himself, and shows complete disregard to the local community's suffering and to the environmental degradation that expansion at Aberdeen Airport would cause."

Alan Flemming, an Aberdeen resident commented, "For years now we have been opposing Aberdeen Airport expansion because of the greenhouse gas emissions and excessive noise pollution it would cause. Trump has been a driving force for this expansion. He supports the airport expansion plans as they will allow rich Americans to fly into his resort and money to fly into his pocket."

"To find out that he's blocking an airport from expanding in his home town in the states is an outrage to those who have been fighting the proposed expansion at Aberdeen Airport."

GLA: tell us why expanding City Airport is a rubbish idea

It's official. Newham council is crap. Last year, Newham gave the go-ahead to a massive increase in the number of flights at London City Airport, a decision which was given the green light by London Mayor, Boris Johnson. This decision recently earned Johnson the 2010 award for worst planning decision and Newham Council is in the proverbial dodo.

Not only have local campaigners Fight the Flights launched a High Court challenge against the council’s expansion decision but now the Greater London Authority’s environmental committee is holding a public debate and review of the impact that expansion would have.

This is where you come in. The committee want all of us to tell them why Newham's decision to allow City to expand sucks. So, while City Airport flights spew out greenhouse gasses and deafen East London residents in order to fly fat bankers around, here's a summary of why you might want to tell the GLA that expansion at City flies in the face of common sense.

Climate change. Yes, we'll keep saying it until we're blue in the face. No matter what industry would like to have us believe, there's no way we can keep expanding air travel all over the UK and reduce our carbon emissions: high carbon industry is incompatible with a low carbon society. Period.

It’s probably unlawful. Just last week, Lord Justice Carnwath ruled that the decision to expand Heathrow Airport must be reviewed (and hopefully scrapped) in the light of the 2008 Climate Change Act. Following the same logic, this ruling for Heathrow should also stand for City Airport.

Local noise and air pollution. Newham already has above average levels of child mortality, asthma, cancer and respiratory illness. More jets will mean more local air pollution for Newham and East London residents. The airport has also persistently failed to monitor noise pollution levels: since 1999 their noise readings have been based on estimates. How convenient.

Newham council is well dodgy. The relationship between the head of London City and Newham Council is a bit too close for comfort. Conflicts of interest are rife. Newham council didn't bother to consult on the expansion with... well, anyone.

The consultation was a con. Newham claimed to have sent out 10,000 letters to local residents (apparently the opinions of the other people in the borough didn't count), but many residents received up to 6 letters at a time, with many others receiving nothing.

No consultation in neighbouring boroughs. None of the other East London boroughs were consulted, despite the fact that changes in flightpaths from the airport are already blighting the lives of thousands of East London residents.

Unfortunately, as with so many political decision-making processes, we have to spell out the obvious and make sure Newham council are held to account. Normally we encourage people to take direct action to achieve this. On this occasion, the GLA enquiry is important enough to support. So get in touch with them now and tell them why you think City airport shouldn't be allowed to increase its flights.

For more info on why City shouldn't be allowed to expand, check out the Fight the Flights' website and fact page.

They destroy the planet. We get locked up for talking about it

4 men and 1 woman were arrested and charged on Wednesday 31st March for speaking in public about the climate effects of aviation at the reopening of Glasgow Airport Terminal 2. The group from Stop Expansion at Scottish Airports (SESA), including a legal observer and two photographers, were leaving the airport after holding a banner for a photograph outside Terminal 1 when a police van and police car pulled up and arrested 4 of the group.

Late into the night, riot police later went to the homes of the arrested without warrants. On Thursday the 5 were charged with obstructing normal airport business. All of the accused deny the charges. The group believes that those arrested were targetted because SESA is calling for a public non-violent peaceful protest at the airport on October 10.

Amelia Birrell, had riot police at her door after midnight saying that they wanted to question her son, Robbie. She said: "I think that this justice system is a joke when it locks up peaceful individuals until 6pm the next day when they are talking about such serious measures as climate change. We were made to feel like criminals when riot police searched around the whole of our house in the middle of the night. I know that the airport is a sensitive place but they are all passionate individuals worried about the future of our country and they were doing nothing to cause any disturbance. I am proud of my son, we are supposed to have freedom of speech in this country and such heavy handed policing is disproportionate and hypocritical."

This is not the first time that Scottish anti-airport expansion campaigners have been subject to heavy-handed policing tactics. In January 2009 Geoff Lamb, a pensioner from Aberdeen was been held in a cell overnight for innocently writing 'you fly, we die' in the snow in food dye. Later in 2009, Plane Stupid exposed a massive police operation to bribe and infiltrate peaceful protest groups.

The disproportionate tactics we have seen by Strathclyde police mirror those infamously used by the Metropolitan police. Arrested for voicing concerns about the aviation industry’s massive and growing contribution to climate change? Who are the real criminals here?

Call out for public shut down of Glasgow airport on October 10

For several years now we've sat by and listened as MP after MSP pledged to do something about climate change. So far, they've achieved sod all, and time is running out. It's crunch time: if the authorities won't make climate change policy work, we need to, openly and together. But how, you ask? Well, we're going to start by shutting down Glasgow airport on October 10.

We've formed a new coalition, Stop Expansion at Scottish Airports, and we're calling on anyone who believes in a sustainable future to join us. There have been a number of public actions against climate change in England, but this is the first in Scotland.

We've got to do something about flying. The Air Transport White Paper and the Scottish Climate Change Bill go in opposite directions. One forecasts a massive increase in passengers and the other demands a 42% reduction in greenhouse gases. It's the politics of the madhouse.

An increasing number of people will not stand by and watch airports blast more and more emissions into the atmosphere. We will not let the airlines and the aviation industry destroy any hope of reaching targets defined in the "world leading" Climate Change Bill.

We're targeting Glasgow airport because it's the perfect example of expansion plans gone mad. Over two-thirds of flights are to airports within the UK and half of those are to London. It's right next to a major population centre, with thousands of flights over already-deprived communities. But our problem is with the industry, not passengers, which is why we've given everyone so much notice.

So form a group, get dreaming, and get advice on safe ways to plan effective action. We'll see you on October 10.

High Court: Heathrow expansion "untenable in law or common sense"

It is a great day to be alive - unless you're BAA or the Government. In one of the most devastating condemnations of Government transport policy ever seen, the High Court has ruled that the case for Heathrow expansion has no economic or environmental basis. The ruling is so damning that the 2003 Air Transport White Paper - the cornerstone of the Government's aviation policy - is now only suitable for lining cat litter trays.

Firstly, Lord Justice Carnwath found that the economic case underestimated the economic impact of climate change - the external cost to society of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. The actual cost is three times larger than the figure used to calculate the economic benefit.

Two years ago WWF and transport academic Keith Buchan found that using proper Treasury calculations and doubling the value of climate change used in the Government's calculations turned the £5 billion claimed benefit into a £5 billion deficit (i.e. it cost society £5 billion). Imagine what tripling the value would do!

Having dispatched the economic case, Carnwath turned to climate change. It was ridiculous, he argued, for the Government to ignore its own legislation, i.e. the Climate Change Act 2008. When the Government rewrites aviation policy later this year, it will have to take account of climate change in a real and considered manner. This means that all airport expansion can be challenged on climate change grounds, until the Government or industry can show how having ever more planes in the sky is compatible with reducing CO2 emissions.

Finally he looked at surface access. The Government claimed that you could increase by around 40% the number of people travelling to Heathrow without turning West London into a giant car park and pushing the Picaddilly line beyond capacity. Nonsense, cried the judge, citing evidence from Transport for London which showed very, very clearly that there wasn't going to be anything like enough road or tube space for all these extra people to fit into.

As if that wasn't enough, Carnwath turned his mind to the wider idea of challenging Government policy at public inquiries. It was not enough for the Government to say "this is our policy, so shut up and take it". While some aspects of policy were cut and dry there were some grey areas which the public had the right to challenge. The need for a particular motorway or airport should be open to challenge and debate, and public inquiries were the forum for doing this.

I've read the occasional verdict in my time, and this one is sensational. It's well worth reading through the judge's reasoning, if only to see just how spurious and ill-thought out the Government's case is. For once, I have nothing but praise for the legal system... normal service to resume shortly!

Hoon: "£50k and I'll tarmac Sipson for ya!"

Three cheers to Dispatches for catching buff-Hoon shouting his mouth off about how much (or how little) it costs to buy his support. You know you've crossed the line when the Prince of Custard, Peter Mandleson, goes on Newsnight to call you corrupt (I mean talk about pot... kettle).

So how much do we think Hoon charged BAA for pushing through arguably the most controversial bit of infrastructure since, well, the last Heathrow expansion? BAA and Labour operate a revolving door policy, but still, persuading the Cabinet to ignore over 80% of the responses to a consultation you've already tried to rig tends to be costly.

Now that everyone knows that Hoon is as crooked as a thrupenny bit, it's time to go back to the third runway decision and consider it afresh. Sure, we don't know that Hoon took cash from BAA to influence Government policy, but the man's got form. The man's got form.