Residents from flood stricken areas of Yorkshire and Humberside today blockaded the Government Office at 8 City Walk, Leeds to protest at its continued promotion of airport expansion.
The timing of the protest coincided with the final stages in the adoption of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) – the area’s fifteen year development plan which is currently on the desk of government minister Baroness Andrews, awaiting final approval. The plan allows for a threefold expansion of passenger flights from Yorkshire and Humberside.
Government transport policies were singled out for criticisim by the plan’s Sustainability Appraisal, which commented that any positive impacts of proposed changes to the RSS might not be able to counter wider negative trends.
The protestors made a formal presentation of a scientific briefing for consideration by Baroness Andrews and issued the following statement::-
“We are continually bombarded with messages asking us to “do our bit”, but this should go for government too. It is shameful that their policy to expand aviation and unsustainable economic development is totally at odds with their stated policy to reduce CO2 emissions.
They are flying in the face of science, and undermining any hope of preventing climate change accelerating beyond control. Yorkshire and Humberside will be particularly hard hit, because of our vulnerability to coastal erosion and flooding. This will spell misery for hard working families throughout the region".
It's clear that Baroness Andrews needs to instigate a major revision of the regional transport plan element of the RSS to remove the emphasis on airport growth, and to ensure a significant decrease in carbon emissions from our area. A fifteen year plan that ignores its own sustainability appraisal is a bad fifteen year plan, but maybe science and common sense aren't enough on their own when Government policy is made in the boardrooms of multinationals like BAA?