Last November Manchester City Council Planning Committee gave approval to plans to build two huge air freight units in order to double the amount of space available for airport hangers. This will allow twice as many flights to enter and leave the airport. Two family homes will be demolished, trees will be felled, and a pond which hosts a colony of Great Crested Newts – the most endangered newt in the country – will be concreted over if the plans are followed.
Peter Johnson lives in Breeze Hill cottage which is directly under threat, with his daughter and son. He believes the process of acquiring the plan’s approval was partisan: “The decision to reject the expansion was unanimous among local politicians, however, this was overturned by the City Council, which has 55 per cent shares in the airport.”
“We need support, we need pressure to be brought upon the airport and the Council,” he adds.
The Adopt-a-Resident campaign is launching on Sunday 7 February and is open to everyone, taking place on Hasty Lane from 1 – 3pm. Residents and local biology teachers will give tours of the houses and wildlife spots at risk and there will be a live video link-up with Sipson village in London where residents are coming close to winning their campaign to prevent the construction of a third runway. Airport Watch Chair John Stewart will talk about the national aviation picture and a Sipson resident is coming to Manchester to talk at the event and share their experiences.
The day will end with the official adoption, in which people will be teamed up with residents to whome they will pledge their support in helping prevent the expansion plans. There will be refreshments and music and SEMA are providing transport from central Manchester.
Liberal Democrat Councillor Martin Eakins who is supporting the campaign commented: “The plans are not economically sustainable. If airports such as Manchester continue to expand in accordance with the 2003 White Paper, international aviation will account for between 86 per cent and 128 per cent of our total carbon budget by 2050, leaving no room for the rest of the economy.”
Cllr. Eakins has started an e-petition asking the Prime Minister how he expects to reduce the country’s carbon footprint when unnecessary expansion in aviation capacity is being rubber-stamped. 347 people have signed the petition so far but at least 500 are needed by 6 February for it to be officially considered. You can sign it here.