Archive for May, 2010

Manchester Air Freight Terminal Targeted

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Activists from the group Manchester Plane Stupid have breached airside security at Manchester Airport on Monday 26th May in a protest against the expansion of the airport. The protest involved two groups.

The first group of 6 people cut through the perimeter fence and created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons.


A second group have used tripods to blockade the road entrance to the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in or out. They have unfurled a banner reading: “More air freight = more climate change. Stop all airport expansion now.”

The group are protesting against the recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of historic homes on Hasty Lane.

Lisa Jameson from Manchester Plane Stupid said, “This isn’t just about airport expansion or rising carbon emissions. This is about challenging an economic system based on the absurdity of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources, a system which prioritises bail-outs for the banks and then makes us pay for it in public service cuts. Capitalism is the cause of the problem, climate change is just a symptom.”

Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stanstead airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits.

“The third runway at Heathrow was stopped because ordinary people stood up to the government at the time and the aviation industry using a broad range of tactics. Direct action has historically played an important role in creating social change and will continue to do so.”

The aviation industry consistently overstate their importance in creating jobs and their contribution to the economy.

The lack of tax on aviation fuel is costing the UK economy £9 billion per year. There is also a tourism deficit in the North West region of £2.2 billion.[1] That is the difference between what Britons flying abroad spend in foreign countries and what foreign visitors spend in the North West.

Each round of airport expansion is justified on the promise of more and more jobs. In the 1990s Manchester Airport promised to create 50,000 jobs with the second runway – but the actual number was far lower. We need to begin a just transition to a low carbon economy by creating jobs in sustainable industries such as rail and renewables”

Annie McLaughlin said, “Recently, we’ve seen attempts by British Airways to use the courts to overturn workers’ right to strike. We support the rights of all workers to fight for good conditions. It is essential that the changes needed to prevent climate change are not used as an excuse to restrict workers rights.”

The airport, which is owned by local councils, has kept local residents in the dark about the proposed expansion plans, failing to adequately inform them that their homes face demolition.

McLaughlin continued, “The proposed expansion of the freight terminal makes no sense, economically or environmentally. The existing capacity is not fully utilized and an expansion would simply be a stepping stone to expansion of the airport as a whole, which would be an environmental disaster.”

“ With the planet on the verge of climate breakdown it is essential that the real cost of aviation expansion is taken seriously – currently emissions from aviation are not included in Manchester City Council’s Climate Change Action Plan.”

The protesters say they are locked on to halt emissions and are prepared to stay for as long as it takes to get their message across.

Conservation Cows on Whitbarrow Scar – Sun 23rd May

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The SLACC Food and Agriculture Group  organsied a walk and talk last Sunday looking at conservation grazing, led by organic farmer Bill Grayson. Visitors met his Blue-grey, Red Poll and Shorthorn cattle that are grazing the beautiful Whitbarrow grasslands. A picnic was shared after the walk.

shorthorn cattle

Free smoothies on the biketrain – Fri 21st May

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

On Friday pupils and cyclists enjoyed free smoothies at St Oswald’ School, promoting the Biketrain; an initiative to encourage commuting by bike. The smoothies were whizzed up by volunteers using SLACC’s new bicycle powered smoothie maker, sponsored by Lush. Zero electricity was used to produce fresh fruit smoothies, a healthy start to the day. Bananas and strawberries were the favourite recipe!

Biketrain cyclists and pupils at Burneside School with SLACC's new bicycle powered smoothie maker

As pupils arrived at school, they were treated to a smoothie and offered free stickers and reflectors for their bikes.  “I’m delighted, we’ve never seen so many bicycles at school,” said Cath Smethurst, teacher at St Oswald’s. “The event will really encourage the kids and parents to get on their bikes”.

St Oswald's playground overflowing with bikes

Cyclists on the Biketrain also stopped in at the school for their chance for a healthy breakfast (sponsored by Croppers). Burneside is mid way along a popular route for people cycling between Kendal and Staveley.

‘Cycle for Smoothies’ is the first in a series of events being held as part of the Summer of Cycling – see www.summerofcycling.org.uk The next event is a Cycle Maintenance Drop-In on Saturday the 12th of June. Bring your bicycle to the Birdcage in Kendal town centre between the hours of 11am and 4pm and volunteers will give it a free safety check, looking at brakes, gears and adjusting seats and handlebars while you wait. A great opportunity to get your bike ready for a summer of cycling.

For full details of the Biketrain download the leaflet: http://www.biketrain.org.uk/

Guerilla Gardening!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

An unknown team of gardener’s tired of the usual pansy’s, geraniums and empty plant containers took action last week by planting a wide variety of edible plants in the Waterside area of Kendal.

a street of empty plant containers

work begins..

Residents were delighted to see us set to work and offered us in for cups of tea.

A container complete with strawberries and chives!

work continues elsewhere...

Successful ‘Dr Bike’ Session held in Staveley

Monday, May 17th, 2010

On Sunday, Staveley residents dusted down all shapes and sizes of bikes from sheds and garages to get a free safety check and maintenance overhaul. Volunteers looked at twenty three bikes, with demand exceeding supply of bicycle mechanics! A second session is planned for those who missed out.

GTi volunteer Sonny Khan with Staveley residents

The “Dr Bike” session was organised by volunteers through the Staveley Green Travel Initiative, a community led project promoting alternative travel options. See www.staveley-gti.co.uk for the full calendars of events.

Volunteer bike mechanic, Frith Wood

Volunteer bike mechanic, Frith Wood

Could you help with bike safety checks and basic maintenance at other SLACC events? Volunteers needed provisionally in Kendal Sat 12th June 11-4, Staveley Sat 19th June 11-3, in Burneside 16th and 17th June after school. Contact Ruth at info@staveley-gti.co.uk

SENS volunteer, Dave Plumb