Another report from the European Environmental Agency highlighting the health costs of exhaust from diesel goods vehicles. Manchester is one of the areas highlighted by the report, as having a serious problem with diesel exhausts. This will be exasperated by Manchester City Council’s decision to expand Manchester Airports freight terminal. In fact the Aviation white-paper did not mention expanding freight terminals but, of the need to improve port and rail terminals to handle freight. The matter will be worsen for the people of South Manchester by the council’s plans to also build the Stockport to South Manchester by-pass. This is to be built despite the fact there is already an existing motorway connection from the airport and Stockport. Richard Leese, leader of Labour controlled Manchester City Council, was claimed he wanted to turn Manchester into another Barcelona. It could get his wish, as Manchester is not far behind Barcelona on diesel exhaust pollution.
In Manchester we have the council investing in the expansion of Manchester Airport, promising it will bring jobs and improve the local economy. Neither is true, especially when the majority of people who work at the Airport do not come from Manchester. And Airports suck money out of the local economy, with people flying and spending their money abroad. Manchester City Council has made very little progress towards a low carbon future, even though Siemens has it one of it’s Headquarters in Manchester.
Walking into Westminister tube station, members of parliament currently find themselves surrounded by a phalanx of purple adverts announcing that “The road to economic growth is … a flight path”. This is just the most visible manifestation of a massive business-led campaign arguing the importance of increased airport capacity to the UK economy.
At one level you have to admire the chutzpah of the British Airports Authority (BAA) in making this argument. New airport capacity is irrelevant to UK economic recovery and will not provide a single additional job before the end of the decade. With business passengers making up only 12% of total UK flights it is also clear that absolute capacity constraints are not a material business issue. But at least BAA’s opportunism is understandable…
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This is Manchester Airport’s idea of measuring it’s success with assessing their impact on local communities, 60 local stakeholders. The council does not count local residents as ‘stakeholder’, even though it is they who are negatively impacted by the airport and its expansion. Wythenshawe was the largest council estate in Europe, and they are being represented by 60 stakeholders, who no doubt, do not live in the area. This is a constant problem in Manchester with the City Council, they do not consult or involve the local community. It is as if, they do not exist.