Council Leader Sir Richard Leese has refused to rule out a third runway at Manchester Airport. Green Party activists wrote an open letter (see MCFly 44) that included a specific question: “When the current agreement not to construct a new runway expires will the Council be applying for planning permission to build a third runway?” In his Friday April 9 reply, Leese wrote “the Manchester Airport Master Plan sets out plans for the airport business developing over a 25-year period to 2030. This plan makes it clear that the second runway will be adequate to meet the forecast demand to 2030. The figures you refer to are from the Committee on Climate Change and were based on modelling conducted by a consultancy working on behalf of the CCC. It was not a prediction. It looked at range of scenarios for emissions and was not an official forecast of demand or based on any airport specific plan.”
MCFly hired linguistics experts from Chomsky Associates to examine this text. They state that the word ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is nowhere to be found.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats manifesto (see story at foot of page 1) states that Labour “took 18 months to come up with a strategy, and then let down the City by excluding aviation and Manchester Airport, owned by the Council, from the Climate Change Action Plan. Some 85% of the Airport’s CO2 emissions come from flights. The Airport cannot be given a free pass.” That’s the extent of their comment, with nothing concrete about ruling out a third runway, or about freezing expansion at the airport.
The Greens, who won’t be running Manchester anytime soon, have “No expansion of the Airport” on their policy page. Marie Raynor, Chairman of Wythenshawe & Sale East Conservatives wrote last year “any further expansion of the Airport is, in our view, unwarranted, given its current size.” [see correction at foot of this entry]. At time of going to press, it’s unclear if this represents her view, or if official Manchester Conservative policy is to call for a freeze on Airport expansion. MCFly will pursue the story.
The open letter, the response and MCFly’s analysis can be seen at http://www.manchesterclimatefortnightly.info/airportletter.html
The MCFly Says: Richard Leese believes “air travel is a vital part of people’s lives and crucial to becoming a truly competitive world city.” This world city guff is inspired by American urban theorist Richard Florida (see his book “Cities and the Creative Class.”) But climate change is going to come at us. Chunks of Florida- both the ideology and the place – are going to be flattened by hurricanes and underwater in a decade or three. Building hostages to fortune now, as oil peaks, is myopic. Our children will curse us.
CORRECTION: In the print version of MCFly 46, we wrongly attributed the Conservative’s quote to Janet Clowes,the Conservative candidate for the parliamentary seat of Wythenshawe and Sale East. Thanks to the diligent reader who pointed this out.