Anti-aviation expansion groups gather to coordinate campaign activities across Europe
Mon 9 Nov 2009 – Campaigners from 11 countries met in Brussels last week to forge new alliances and coordinate their activities to halt the expansion of airports and the growth in the number of flights in Europe. They included local airport groups, representatives of national environmental organizations and direct action activists such as the UK’s Plane Stupid. The campaigners agreed to produce joint reports, set up networks sharing information and coordinate demonstrations.
John Stewart, from HACAN, the campaign group opposing expansion at London’s Heathrow Airport, and who helped organize the conference, said: “We all believe that the growth in aviation in Europe is not needed, nor is it sustainable. Many of the trips done by plane could be switched to a good train service. At present aviation is the fastest-growing source of climate change emissions. It causes millions of people’s lives to be blighted by noise. And new and expanded airports are threatening some of Europe’s most tranquil areas.
“It makes no sense for aviation not to pay tax on its fuel and for it to be exempt from VAT. If these tax breaks were removed, the demand for air travel could be cut significantly. If the climate summit in Copenhagen comes up with measures to regulate CO2 emissions and the considerable additional climate effect from aviation, the demand could also be reduced. Unfortunately such agreement on regulation is already out of the question.”
There are currently around 26 local anti-airport expansion groups in the UK alone.