Airport expansion plans for South East risk breaching Government’s climate pledges: event Saturday September 12

Expanding Heathrow or Gatwick could breach international obligations on reducing carbon emissions – aviation experts are advising the Government.  The Green Party has organised a public event in London this Saturday September 12 presenting new information from experts and campaign groups who agree on no new runways.

Jonathan Essex, the South East Green Party Chair, will join Sian Berry, the Green Party candidate for Mayor of London, campaign groups from Heathrow and Gatwick, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Prof Bows-Larkin from the Tyndall Centre at Manchester University.

In a briefing for the event, based on information from the Aviation Environment Federation, the Green Party is saying:

  • MPs are in no position to choose between expanding at Heathrow or Gatwick as they’re being asked to do this autumn
  • Any expansion is likely to breach international carbon commitments and air quality law
  • A decision should be delayed until a full assessment is made on carbon and air quality impacts

Brighton’s Green MP Caroline Lucas says: “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change then it must ditch any ideas of building new runways in the South East.”

Prof Alice Bows-Larkin of the Tyndall Centre at Manchester University says: “Whilst air travel may bring with it benefits to the minority of the global population in a position to take advantage of it, the impacts of climate change caused by breaching the 2°C threshold will affect everyone”.

Speakers at the event have been asked to suggest how demand for air travel can be curbed to bring it into line with the need to cut carbon emissions, and what the alternatives are.

Leo Murray, of A Free Ride, who proposes a Frequent Flyer Levy says: “Air fares are kept artificially low through an industrial tax avoidance scheme enforced at the global level. Technology cannot solve the problem of aircraft pollution; the only way to reduce aviation emissions sufficiently is to reduce the number of flights. Raising air fares for frequent flyers is the fairest and most promising way to do this”.

Keith Taylor, South East MEP says: “The ‘No New Runways’ event will highlight a unified position that is beginning to emerge against the building of new airport runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and across the rest of the UK. The event is unique because it will bring together for the first time anti-Heathrow expansion & anti-Gatwick expansion campaigners in a joint show of strength against building new runways anywhere because of the damaging implications for climate change”.


Notes to editors:

The event is being held at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Ave, London WC2H 8EP starting at 2pm. Media welcome.

Photo opportunity: gather at 3pm for mass photo from the balcony with banner

Speakers: Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP, Prof Alice Bows-Larkin, Tyndall Centre, Manchester University; Christine Taylor, Stop Heathrow Expansion; Brendon Sewill, Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign; Leo Murray, A Free Ride; Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace; Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth

Chairs: Sian Berry, Green London Mayoral Candidate; Cllr Jonathan Essex South East Greens; John Stewart HACAN

To attend and for a copy of the agenda visit

If you are a journalist and wish to attend, please contact [email protected]

The No New Runways campaign full briefing and a more detailed Mini Report which is part of the Green Party’s Climate Sense campaign will be available shortly before the event. Please get in touch if you would like a copy of either.

#nonewrunways #climatesense


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