Skip to content

AEF Newsletter: Campaigners line up to resist airport expansion plans

2nd March, 2021

Our 2020 Annual Report is out!

Have you read our 2020 Annual Report? We look back on a year largely shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. This saw new issues added to our agenda, including whether the aviation industry recovery could be tied to climate and noise objectives, building on 2019’s momentum that had seen climate protests and the introduction of net zero legislation.

Read our 2020 annual report here.

Airport expansion ‘frenzy’

Contrary to the latest advice from the Climate Change Committee (CCC) that there should be no net increase in airport capacity, airports across the country are lining up to expand. Many community groups, meanwhile, have mounted strong campaigns to challenge these proposals and AEF has been supporting these where possible. 

On February 11th, Leeds Bradford Airport expansion was approved in principle by Leeds City Council, subject to the further negotiation of conditions. Campaign group GALBA has written to ask the Secretary of State to call in the application, and is raising funds to legally challenge the Council’s decision if a call-in isn’t granted.

Meanwhile both Bristol and Stansted airports are appealing council decisions to reject their applications to expand. In January, AEF presented its views at the inquiry into Stansted Airport’s appeal, arguing that the expansion is incompatible with UK climate commitments. 

In better news, the High Court has quashed the Government’s decision to open Manston Airport as a freight hub, after the Government accepted it had not provided sufficient reasons for overturning the Examining Authority’s recommended refusal on grounds that “the airport will damage the local economy and impact negatively on the UK’s carbon budget and our commitments to the Paris Agreement”. 

Finally, AEF’s analysis about the cumulative climate impacts of planned airport growth in the UK was the basis for the Sunday Times’ story Airport growth plans fly in the face of climate targets.

Click here for a full list of current and planned airport expansions in the UK.

Communities call for no night flights

As the Government’s consultation on night flights gets underway, Aviation Communities Forum (ACF) has launched a petition calling for the Secretary of State for Transport to protect public health by introducing a ban on night flights. To find out more about responding to the consultation and how you can get involved in the #NoNightFlights campaign, click here. Click here to sign the petition.

Government Transport Decarbonisation Plan must provide clear pathway to net zero aviation

AEF, in conjunction with other environmental NGOs, including Green Alliance and Transport & Environment, has set out four criteria that the Government’s Transport Decarbonisation Plan must meet in order to put the sector on track for a 2050 net zero emissions target… read more

In other news

The French government has decided to cancel planned expansion of the country’s biggest airport, Paris’s Roissy-Charles-de-Gaulle ‘because it no longer corresponded to environmental policy’… read more

74% of respondents intend to curb flying to combat climate change once restrictions lift, EU poll finds… read more

AEF’s Communications Officer Lizzie talks to Flight Free UK about her flight free journey… read more

Affected by aircraft noise from Heathrow or other airports? This PhD project is looking into how aviation noise impacts the everyday lives of residents. Get in touch here.

What’s coming up?

3rd March: Part 1 of the Government’s consultation on night flight restrictions closes. 

31st May: Part 2 (Question 13 onwards) of the Government’s consultation on night flight restrictions closes. 

Spring 2021: Publication of the Transport Decarbonisation Plan (though we wait to see whether or not this will address aviation).

To sign up to AEF’s bimonthly newsletter, click here.