Article published: Saturday, November 28th 2009
Several households will be forced to leave their homes after the City Council agreed to a proposed expansion of Manchester Airport.
Last week the Planning Committee agreed by a majority of five to four that the building work should go ahead despite protests from local residents and environmental groups. All five Labour members sitting on the panel voted for the proposal while the remaining members all voted against.
This decision came after the Wythenshawe Area Committee had already rejected the proposal earlier this year in a separate hearing on 22 April. The decision will force through plans to demolish two cottages to make way for a freight terminal and dual carriageway at Manchester Airport.
It is expected that the development will mean an increase in traffic and revenue for the airport. However, in a presentation to the Committee local resident Pete Johnston reasoned that “according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change, Parliament passed enforceable legislation to reduce aviation emissions to 95 per cent of their 2005 levels by 2012. In other words in three years time time the aviation industry will have to be operating below their 2005 levels. Doubling air freight capacity therefore makes no sense at all when you will never get to use it.”
Wythenshawe Lib Dem Councillor Martin Eakins was outraged by the Committee’s action. In a statement he said: “I am all for a sustainable Airport, but this is the wrong plan in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps this is why [the Council] didn’t include the airport in their Climate Change plans!”
Local resident Mary Di Mauro added: “Local residents will wonder what is the point of electing Labour Councillors in Wythenshawe if they can be so easily ignored by their Labour colleagues. Like the rejection of a Parish Council for Northenden, this is another example of Labour ignoring the wishes of local people.”
Earlier this month Manchester Airport Group were the first applicants to be rejected from the 10:10 campaign, of which MULE is a member. The campaign asks people, business and government to commit to cutting their carbon emissions by 10 per cent by the end of 2010. Its founder, Franny Armstrong, explained the decision to the Guardian: “Sticking solar panels on the roof and all that is great, but Manchester Airport is planning to double passenger numbers in the next 20 years. So for the first time ever, 10:10 is saying no to a new sign-up. When they’re ready to cut 10 per cent of all emissions – including flights – we’ll welcome them with open arms.”
Similarly, Robby Gillett of Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport (SEMA) said: “Manchester Airport likes to portray itself as green but they don’t include fights to and from the airport when they count their emissions. Now they are even knocking down people’s houses to further expand.”
In an internet blog the group wrote that “this was not the end of the fight”, and that they would appeal to the national Planning Inspectorate.
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