Communities at their wits end living under Scottish flightpaths join forces with ClimateAction group Plane Stupid Scotland
For half an hour the residents surrounded the building dressed in bright pajamas, night caps, clutching teddybears, with ear defenders to display the dangerous levels of noise pollution endured by their families and communities. Their placards stated ‘its time to wake up to the impacts of aviation’ and 'have a taste of your own medicine'.
The residents took these extraordinary steps to state loud and clear to the First Minister, who holds ultimate say over the fate of the expansion plans,that he cannot ignore any of the effects of airport expansion. These impacts include dangerous noise levels, rising air pollution, climate change and increasing economic uncertainty during the current ‘credit crunch’.
Anne, 29, a teacher from Kirkliston said:
‘We have taken our issue to the top to say that we cannot be neutral on airport expansion plans anymore. For years we have had to endure environmental injustices perpetrated from the Government and the British Airport Authority and today we are taking a stand.’
The campaign has just started. The non-violent direct- action is the first to arise from the ‘Plane Speaking’ community self-determination workshops, where communities over the summer have been planning their responses, action plans and pledges (1) to the expansion plans. Networks have formed to highlight the hypcrises' of the Scottish Government's desires for a healthy economic strategy and a strong Climate Change Bill whilst also intending to expand airports (2). Communities around the airports are calling for BAA to be slapped with an Anti Social Behavior Order (ASBO)
Jimmy Kerr,33, Paisley community worker said:
‘For us it is a continuous descent into depression. Most mornings I am woken at 4am by the first flights. A sense of frustration with the consultation process has galvanised me into taking action’
Today's action is particularly appropriate as Scotland’s planning system is undergoing its most extreme overhaul in 60 years and both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are due for expansion,directed through the ‘National Planning Framework 2’ (NPF2) (3).
Plane Speaking have built alliances with AirportWatch UK and Plane Stupid Scotland and are publishing a full dossier of evidence against BAA highlighting anti-social behavior, including films, photographs and actions at www.planestupid.com.
Notes to editor
(1) The Communities Pledge states ‘We are actively involved in calling on the Government to look again at the plans to expand Scotland’s airports. Instead we call on them to produce a coherent national transport plan which is equitable and sustainable.’
(2) Aviation is the fastest growing source of global CO2 emissions.
(3) The proposed NPF2will undergo sixty days scrutiny in Scottish parliament in autumn 2008. Plane Speaking and Plane Stupid Scotland opposes airport expansion and wants to ensure that the voices of communities directly affected under the Scottish Government’s ‘National Planning Framework’ are given due weight.
The World Health Organisation has expressed concern about the impact of aviation on human health. Long term (5-30 years) exposure to air traffic noise levels averaging 65 to 75 decibels increases blood pressure and the risk of hypertension. Sleep disturbance leads to fatigue, hypertension, greater risk of heart and respiratory problems, poor concentration in work and school, increased risk of accidents, depression, anxiety and higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse.(Greenskies Alliance)