Manchester Airport On Trial. Day 2: Guilty verdicts, but the fight continues

7.12.2010   (Manchester Airport on Trial)

Amanda Walters and  Mark Haworth  were found guilty this afternoon, but said that
the campaign against the  airport will continue.

Today the court heard the defence case, . Furthermore, the court heard how other
methods of redress had been tried prior to the protest action in May 2010.

In February 2010, residents at Sipson Village – which was earmarked for demolition
if the previous government had pressed ahead with plans to add a third runway
to Heathrow Airport – joined forces with Manchester campaigners in a
‘twinning’ ceremony – which joined Sipson with Hasty Lane, a row of houses near Manchester Airport
currently earmaked for demolition if expansion plans go ahead.

Speaking after the case, defendant Mark Haworth said, "The battle against airport expansion at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick was won
because ordinary people came together, joined forces and took on the aviation
industry.   We’ve linked up with residents in Manchester and Heathrow and we’ll
continue to challenge Manchester Airport’s expansion plans."

Fellow defendant Amanda Walters said, "The judge accepted that our concerns were legitimate and that other means of
making our views heard had been tried. Whilst the Council continues to impose
expansion of the airport onto local people, we will continue to oppose it."

A large part of the defence case focussed on the ‘reasonableness’ of the action
given that other methods of redress had been explored. The witness statements
of Manchester Councillor Martin Eakins and Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson were read out verbatim by the Defence Counsel.   In the statement, Eakins described
his close involvement in the campaign to Save Hasty Lane, including making official
representations to the Wythenshawe Area Committee, petitions and letters to national

From Cllr Eakin’s written statement:

"I feel that all democratic avenues were exhausted and I think it is reasonable
to say that the only way avenue to achieve carbon reductions through traditional
politics in this case was closed."

In Peter Johnson’s written statement, he described his efforts to prevent his family home from being demolished.

From Peter’s written statement:

"We are now in a position where help and support from other areas in continuing
to oppose the decision means that another route must be used if we are to halt
this and/or further expansion already proposed or identified by the airport."

Commenting on the verdict Peter Johnson said,

"I’m disappointed for the individuals who went above and beyond the call of duty  
– for a cause we should all be worried about.   This isn’t just a matter of concern
for those of us living at Hasty Lane – the expansion of the Airport will have
effects on the whole of Manchester, and the world too.   Sadly, actions like these
are seldom recognised as being right at the time, but the fight continues."

Mark Haworth and Amanda Walters were given a fine of £175 an £250 respectively
plus were ordered to pay £460 in costs each plus a £15 ‘victim surcharge’ each.       (including photos)



see also

Manchester Airport protest trial: Day 1

6th December 2010       11  local campaigners were in courtfacing charges of obstructinh the highway.  9 of the  11 pleaded guilty, unable to bear the cost of a trial and were sentenced  with
fines of on average £300 each.    The trial continues as  2 defendants plead not guilty, and  argue that due to the local democratic deficit and the threat to local homes,
biodiversity spots and the climate from the expansion of the airport, their actions
constituted a reasonable use of the highway.
      Click here to view full story…




Manchester activists in Court for runway closure

In May 2010, 17 people staged a non violent direct action at Manchester Airport,
temporarily shutting it down. They did this to reduce CO2 emissions that the airport
is responsible for annually and in opposition to plans to destroy family homes
at Hasty Lane, and local biodiversity, to expand the World Freight Centre. The
first trial, of 11 people who  face charges of obstruction of the highway of the
road access to the World Freight Centre starts on 6th Dec. 6
.12.2010   More …..