Well we say: destroy the airport!
As part of the original airport deal brokered by the Sheffield Development Corporation, the company is required to maintain the airport to operational standards until 2007. There is nothing in place in the original agreement to extend this period.
Sheffield City Council has received a planning application for the development of a business park on part of the airport land. There's an online petition to save the airpot here - http://www.ssca.co.uk/ - but we say no to the airport and no to a flippin' business park too.
Why? Just consider the following:
"Climate change - greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft are uniquely damaging and are likely to increase substantially over the next 50 years. By 2050 emissions from aircraft will contribute to between 4 - 15% of predicted manmade climate change. Technological and operational improvements will not be sufficient to offset the effects of increasing emissions. The Government must aim to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions from all UK origin flights at levels forecast for the year 2005. An urgent study is therefore needed to establish this prognosis and follow-on national and international policies. We do not believe that emissions trading schemes as currently envisaged will be effective.
We need to see clear evidence of greenhouse gas reductions by this sector.
International aircraft noise and emissions standards - the body that sets and controls the environmental performance standards for aircraft noise and emissions, the UN International Civil Aviation Organisation, is unfortunately, a kind of private members club for the industry. The standards it sets are invariably lowest common denominator, low cost, low effectiveness pretend "solutions". Technology forcing, not technology following, innovative performance targets to achieve the very highest environmental standards should be this body's watchword. We would strongly recommend that the UK government
takes the lead in increasing the role of Environment Ministry and Environment Protection Agencies within ICAO's standard-setting bodies and urgently sets out a regime of ambitious technological goals for emissions and noise reductions targets at source. We know this can be done! R&D and manufacturing subsidies given to the industry should be linked to achieving the highest possible performance standards.
Local and regional airport-linked impacts - quite simply, noise and air
quality environmental impacts will deteriorate as flight and passenger numbers increase. At the moment, local impacts get a completely "free ride". Local authorities and environment protection agencies need statutory responsibility for aircraft noise and air pollution enforcement standards in line with the World Health Organisation Charter on Transport, Environment and Health guidelines and policy recommendations that the Government says it has a "political commitment" to applying to the air transport sector. The Government must confirm that it will unhesitatingly apply the WHO Charter on Transport, Environment and Health to the air transport policy development process under way right now .We would like to see an independent pollution control agency for this industry as well.
Switch short haul air to rail - rail travel is substantially less
environmentally damaging than air transport when comparing emissions per
passenger kilometre. And if you consider door-to-door journey times for
distances up to 1,000 kilometres, rail can be quicker! We want the Government to urgently begin a 10-year programme to transfer all flights of up to 1,000 kilometres around the UK and to our near European neighbours from air to rail. We are confident that simply by encouraging an air to rail shift within the UK, NO extra runway capacity would be needed in the South East, permanently removing 30 million air passengers from planes to trains!
Patterns of consumption - as we move towards a low-carbon economy, all sectors of our industrial and personal transportation activity must play their part in reducing how, when and where we consume fossil fuels. The ways in which businesses ship people and goods around need to be challenged - for instance does any business or profession really need to ship paper-based documents overnight by express air courier when they can be sent electronically at 3,500 kilometres per second? Can videoconferencing installations and their use be linked to cuts in air travel emissions by business? Could we get by without air freighting strawberries from Mexico? We recommend that the Government looks at
ways in which alternatives to air transport can be encouraged and consumer education programmes used to highlight the need to decide how much air transport the environment can afford in our low carbon, sustainable mobility future.
Subsidies in the air transport sector - We need to see the early and
progressive removal of inappropriate subsidies to the air transport sector. The immediate imposition of a tax on kerosene or emissions charging, the introduction of VAT on ticket sales and aircraft purchases would go someway towards removing the tax advantages that lead to the current massive over-supply of aircraft seat capacity. The best current estimate for the external costs of air transport - the climate change, health, accident, noise, air pollution, landscape, nature loss and so on - presently unaccounted for and unpaid, is about 44 euros (£28.39) per 1000 passenger kilometres (European Environment Agency TERM 2001 report, INFRAS/IWW study). So, for instance, on a return flight
from Luton to Glasgow each passenger should pay an additional £28 for the external costs of their environmental impacts. We believe these figures may be on the low side! The Government is committed by European legislation, the Amsterdam Treaty, to incorporate the external costs of transport in ticket prices. We want to see this happen in the 2003 Budget at levels which will encourage the switch from air to rail for short distance travel; facilitate the rapid introduction of videoconferencing and form part of a demand-management programme designed to control and reduce - not mitigate! - pollution and
emissions from air transport.
Planning policy - We strongly suggest that land-use planning policies need to facilitate and ensure the physical separation of affected populations and airport development to reduce the inevitable noise, air pollution, health and third party safety problems. We urge the Government to set up an appropriately funded scheme for the fully-compensated removal and demolition of what we know
to be large numbers of affected properties around the UK's major airports.
We eagerly await the development of a sustainable Air Transport Policy for the UK for the next 30 years., which we hope will feature a range of environmental limits and demand management options. We fervently hope that the Government will act to control and limit the harmful expansion of an industry that badly needs "sustainable" as its watchword not "predict and provide" and which reflects the guidance set out by the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution in 1994:
"An unquestioning attitude towards future growth in air travel, and an
acceptance that the projected demand for additional facilities and services must be met, are incompatible with the aim of sustainable development…" and that "The demand for air travel might not be growing at the present rate if airlines and their customers had to face the costs of the damage they are causing to the environment".
For more info see http://www.airportwatch.org.uk.
The idea that we need regional airports to fly to other cities in the UK is ridiculous. What we need is energy-efficient high-speed railways. Don't sign the petition.