Nine activists sentenced in first day of Airport protest trial

Article published: Monday, December 6th 2010

Nine climate activists who pleaded guilty to obstruction of the highway for their part in a demonstration at Manchester Airport last May have been given fines at Trafford Magistrates Court today.

The varying levels of fines and costs imposed by the District Judge average around £350 per defendant. The defendants were involved in a road blockade of the World Freight Centre using two tripod structures. The court heard how the protest had been a “response to a flawed planning process” that had approved plans to demolish local homes at Hasty Lane and that the “democratic process being thwarted.”

A further two defendants, Amanda Walters and Mark Haworth have pleaded not guilty. Their trial began after the sentencing and will continue for the next two days. Lib Dem Councillor Martin Eakins is expected to appear as an expert witness.

The defendants were joined outside court this morning by local supporters, including local Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson. Margaret Westbrook, a Trafford resident who came to court to support the defendants said, “The campaigners needed to take direct action due to the devastating environmental impacts of expanding Manchester Airport. It was a reasonable use of nonviolent direct action to protest against the demolition of local homes and rising emissions especially since they have tried every other political avenue.”

Ali Garrigan, from Manchester Plane Stupid, said, “Today the defendants have taken responsibility for the protest and been accountable for their actions. Meanwhile, Manchester City Council refuses to take responsibility for the emissions from the airport by excluding them from its Climate Change Action Plan and the aviation industry as a whole operates free of VAT while communities face drastic cuts.”

A public campaign titled ‘Manchester Airport on Trial’ is being run around the two court trials. The defendants have received support from members of the public, local groups, academics, barristers, Independent journalist  Johann Hari, as well as prominent national politicians such as Heathrow Labour MP John McDonnell, Green Party MP Caroline Lucas and Conservative Party MP Zac Goldsmith.

A second group of six protesters who blockaded a Monarch Airline jet at the same time as the protest in May will stand trial for aggravated trespass separately in February 2011.

More: Manchester, News


  1. […] were ordered to pay £460 in costs each plus a £15 ‘victim surcharge’ each. On Monday, nine other defendants involved in the protest pleaded guilty and received fines and costs averaging around £340 each. Peter Johnson, Holly Johnson and Cllr […]

    Pingback by Airport protesters found guilty but vow to fight on  —   MULE on December 8, 2010 at 5:49 pm

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