4th November 2019

Communities call for moratorium on airport expansion

A coalition of airport communities has called on the Government to suspend any increase in UK airport capacity until it has developed a plan for tackling the aircraft emissions which contribute to climate change.

The call for an immediate moratorium is set out in a letter [see Note to Editors] to the Secretaries of State for Transport and for Housing, Communities and Local Government. The letter is signed by a number of environmental and community campaign groups including Stop Stansted Expansion (‘SSE’).

Many UK airports including Belfast, Bristol, East Midlands, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manston, Newcastle and Stansted currently have expansion plans. However, there is still no policy setting out how greenhouse gases from the aviation industry can be reconciled with legislation committing the UK to delivering net zero emissions by 2050. The Government recently delayed until next year the publication of its new long term strategy for UK aviation, which will address the sector’s noise and climate impacts.

Expansion proposals announced by UK airports would increase the country’s airport capacity by an estimated 200 million passengers per annum, an increase of over 70% compared to the 285 million passengers that passed through UK airports in 2017.

The current plans to expand Stansted Airport to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers would, if approved, put more than a million extra tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year.

Mike Young, SSE’s adviser on climate change issues said: “Whilst other sectors are reducing their carbon footprint, aviation CO2 emissions continue to grow apace. On present trends aviation will, by 2050, be the UK’s biggest contributor to climate change. Recently issued figures for global aviation passenger transport for 2018 have the UK in third place for the greatest CO2 emissions behind the USA and China. That is not a proud record for a country with less than one per cent of the world’s population.”

Mr Young added: “The need to tackle climate change is an urgent challenge if we are to prevent a climate emergency becoming a climate disaster. Until a settled Government policy is established for tackling aviation greenhouse gas emissions there should be a moratorium on all airport expansion planning applications.”


The letter can be read here

Mike Young, SSE Climate Change Adviser T 01799 599089; (M) 07486 592334; reynoldson-young@aldridges.eclipse.co.uk

SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; info@stanstedairportwatch.com

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