5th November 2006

“Cheap flights cost the earth”

SSE message at climate change rally 

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) supporters rallied and marched in central London this weekend.  They were among 20,000 people calling for urgent action on climate change.

The event was one of many which took place around the world on the eve of the United Nations climate change talks in Nairobi.

Aviation, the fastest growing source of the global warming gas carbon dioxide (CO2), was uppermost in their minds because of the added burden that the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport would have on climate change. Many of the SSE supporters carried placards and banners to make clear that cheap flights could, quite literally, cost the earth.

Airport developer BAA has stubbornly refused to quantify the emissions of CO2 that would result from increased use of Stansted’s single runway, the application for which is due to be decided by Uttlesford District Council on 29 November.  SSE has estimated that if expansion were to be approved, CO2 emission levels would rise from the current seven million tons a year (including the effect of radiative forcing at altitude) to 12 million tons. A second runway would take this figure to 23 million tons.

Carol Barbone, SSE Campaign Director, commented:  “The time has come for the Government to radically rethink its aviation policy.  It must stop pricing people onto planes and ensure that the real cost of flying and its impacts on climate change are acknowledged and addressed with meaningful action.”

Other organisations with a strong presence at the day’s events included umbrella group AirportWatch, the RSPB, Woodland Trust, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Christian Aid.  A number of Uttlesford and Braintree district councillors also took part.


The London event was marked by two rallies, the first outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square organized by The Campaign Against Climate Change following which participants joined the March For Global Climate Justice to Trafalgar Square for the second, larger, Stop Climate Chaos rally.

PHOTOGRAPHS (higher resolution available on request)
Photo A
Climate Change Rally 4 November 2006:  L to R – Janice McDonald (holding ‘Cheap Flights’ placard in foreground), Uttlesford Councillors Alan Dean and Martin Foley.
Photo B
Cheap Flights Cost The Earth – protestors from Stop Stansted Expansion make the link between climate change and emissions from aviation at the climate change march and rallies on 4 November 200

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits