Bristol Airport expansion cycle protesters halt A38 traffic near airport entrance

The new local group, opposed to expansion of Bristol Airport, partly on grounds of carbon emissions but also due to noise and other local impacts, has held a protest cycle ride.  The group of about 70 cyclists met up close to the airport and then cycled in convoy along the busy A38. They temporarily brought roads around the airport to a halt in a protest against expansion plans, by riding in convoy to the airport and then repeatedly cycled around a roundabout close to the entrance. The lunchtime protest caused queues of between two and three miles in both directions.  Unbelievably, the airport tries to claim its expansion to 12 million annual passengers by the mid 2020 will cut CO2 – as slightly fewer people would drive to London airports, if they fly from Bristol. They would in fact just fly more.  The group support taking the “flight free  pledge” not to fly in 2020, as a way to get people to think more carefully about travel and their lifestyle choices.  The airport has submitted plans for the expansion and North Somerset Council is expected to decide on the expansion later this year.



Bristol Airport expansion protesters halt A38 traffic

  • 14 September 2019
  • Protest

The group met up close to the airport and then cycled in convoy along the busy A38

Cyclists temporarily brought roads around Bristol Airport to a halt in a protest against expansion plans.

About 70 people rode in convoy to the airport and then repeatedly cycled around a roundabout close to the entrance.

The lunchtime protest caused queues of between two and three miles in both directions.

The airport said its “sustainable development” would mean fewer car journeys to London airports,.

Organiser Oz Osbourne said the group wanted to show the opposition to plans for the airport to cater for 12m passengers by the mid-2020s.

He said he had not flown for 20 years and was urging other to take the “flight-free pledge” for 2020.

“If you join the flight-free pledge then it changes the way you think about who you are… and [you’ll] have a greener lifestyle.



Once there protesters repeatedly pedalled around the roundabout outside the terminal entrance

An airport spokesman said flights “were operating as normal” but advised passengers to allow extra time for their journeys.

It has submitted plans for the expansion and North Somerset Council is expected to decide on the expansion later this year.


Local group:
Stop Bristol Airport Expansion

The Canadian owners of Bristol Airport want to increase passenger numbers by 50%, from 8 million to 12 million passengers per annum. Further growth to 20 million passengers is in the pipeline.

Airport expansion will lead to:

  • Increased greenhouse gas emissions that exceed other carbon savings
  • Gridlock on congested approach roads
  • Noise pollution day and night affecting health and well-being
  • Green belt destruction and other environmental harm
  • Parking sprawl as on-site and illegal field parking spreads
  • Airport expansion does not provide significant benefits to the region. Only the overseas owners will profit.



See earlier:

Crowdfunding appeal: Bristol Airport is Big Enough – Help Stop Further Expansion

Bristol Airport plans to significantly increase its passenger numbers, to grow eventually to 20 million passengers per year from a current level of 8.6 million.  A group of environmental campaigners and local residents are raising money – through crowdfunding – to fund an important legal challenge to the airport’s planning application, that is being dealt with by North Somerset Council.  The group hopes to employ a well respected barrister, Estelle Dehon, who is expert in environment and planning law (with particular expertise in climate change matters). She would be able to legally analyse the 400 plus planning documents on the application, on the Council’s planning website, and offer campaigners and the committee expert evidence for refusal. Estelle has previously worked on the Plan B fight against Heathrow’s third runway.  The coming decade is absolutely critical in averting the climate crisis that is upon us. Yet, that same decade is to be used by Bristol Airport to increase the carbon emissions of flights using the airport, by over 500,000 tonnes per year.  In addition to the carbon issue, many people in Bristol would be exposed to a range of air pollution substances, including NO2 and black carbon – as well as increased noise nuisance.

Click here to view full story…





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Judges reject judicial review challenges against DfT’s Heathrow 3rd runway NPS

The judges at the High Court have handed down their judgement, which was to reject all the legal challenges against the DfT and the Secretary of State for Transport, on the government decision to approve a 3rd Heathrow runway, through the Airports NPS (National Policy Statement). The judges chose to make their ruling exclusively on the legality, and “rationality” of the DfT decision, ignoring the facts and details of the Heathrow scheme and the NPS process – or the areas where relevant information was ignored by the DfT.  In the view of the judges, the process had been conducted legally. They threw out challenges on air pollution, surface access, noise and habitats – as well as carbon emissions. The latter being on the grounds that the Paris Agreement, though ratified by the UK government, has not been incorporated into UK law, so the DfT did not have to consider it. The Paris Agreement requires countries to aim for only a global 1.5C rise in temperature, not 2 degrees (as in the current UK Climate Change Act). Read comments by Neil Spurrier, one of those making a legal challenge.  There are now likely to be appeals, perhaps even direct to the Supreme Court. 



1st May 2019  (From Teddington Action Group, TAG)Result of the Judicial Review of the Airports National Policy Statement – Observations of Neil Spurrier, one of the claimantsRegrettably all the claimants in the Heathrow Judicial review lost their claims in the High Court.

Basically, the Court decided that it was not going to consider the merits of the Airports National Policy Statement, but only whether any rules of law were broken. Although some would have different opinions, the Judges were of the view that none of the rules had yet been broken.

Full text of the judgment and the press statement are available at

The main judgement on the environmental challenges (184 pages) is at

While the decision is very disappointing, the Judges did emphasise that they were not commenting on the merits of the National Policy Statement. The judgment is long, stretching to over 650 paragraphs and 250 pages.

The postscript of the judgment stated that :

“There was a tendency for the substance of parties’ positions to take more of a centre stage than perhaps it should have done, in a hearing that was concerned only with the legality (and not the merits) of the ANPS”.

Similarly the press statement just issued by the Court states that:

It must be emphasised that the court was not concerned with the merits of increasing airport capacity or of satisfying any need by way of a third runway at Heathrow“. 

That is, at least, something that we can push back at Heathrow and the Government, if and when either suggests that Heathrow expansion is going full steam ahead – which it is not, without further and extensive examination in the Development Consent Order (DCO) process, from which the expansion scheme may yet fail.

It is yet to be seen whether any of the claimants will appeal.

There is the possibility of an appeal to the Court of Appeal and then on to the Supreme Court. There is some discussion of a possible “leapfrog appeal” direct to the Supreme Court, which bearing in mind that the case is of national importance and relates to the construction of the Planning Act 2008, is a possibility.

The central focus of the Government’s defence was that the National Policy Statement was only required to show that potentially the Heathrow expansion scheme was deliverable and that, in showing this possibility, the Government were only required to show that they had considered the relevant matters set out in the legislation.

Due to the considerable publicity and thought that had gone into the National Policy Statement, it was not possible (so said the Government) to say that the decision was so irrational or unreasonable that no reasonable person would have come to it – the so-called Wednesbury rules (named after the case of Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation (1948)). Ultimately the Court agreed with this.  [The DfT probably was aware of the likelihood of legal challenge, and did all it could to protect itself from future challenges all through the NPS process. AW comment]

There is still much to be argued about at the Development Consent Order stage (the National Policy Statement is just a policy and not a planning consent). Clearly, air quality can only potentially be compliant, and many people think that the likelihood is that it will not be compliant, and consent should not be granted on that ground alone.

The Court declined to get involved in whether noise was unbearable now or would be unbearable in the future. The Court’s view was that to have a decibel level of 54dB LAeq did not fall foul of the Wednesbury rules, even if it was claimed that the level did breach WHO guidance.

I spent a lot of time arguing about the difference between the WHO Night-Time Noise Guidelines of 2009 and the SoNA (2014 Survey of Noise Attitudes) report of the CAA. The Court did not consider that the forum of judicial review of the National Policy Statement was the appropriate place for that discussion.

Similarly, the Court showed reluctance to become involved in air quality, particularly the claimed error in the forecast emissions from aircraft themselves. The Boroughs had argued that there was an 80% chance that the emissions near the airport would be above the permitted amount, as defined in the Appraisal of Sustainability as “High”.

The Government countered that by saying that the definitions in the Appraisal of Sustainability meant that they would be within the 10% of the limit. Either way the risk is substantial that expansion will not comply with the Air Quality Regulations.

I had argued extensively that three studies, all specially referred to by the Air Quality Expert Group of DEFRA, show that harmful ultrafine particulates and NOx from aircraft can travel for more than 20 kilometres downwind from the point of emission, rather than the 2 kilometres stated by the Government.

The amount of emissions could be 4 to 5 fold the norm under the flight paths up to 10 kilometres and even 20% above the norm at 40 kilometres from the airport. One of the surveys was at Los Angeles Airport, in which the report stated that:

“We measured at least a 2-fold increase in PN concentrations over unimpacted baseline PN concentrations during most hours of the day in an area of about 60 km2 that extended to 16 km (10 miles) downwind and a 4- to 5-fold increase to 8−10 km (5−6 miles) downwind. Locations of maximum PN concentrations were aligned to eastern, downwind jet trajectories during prevailing westerly winds and to 8 km downwind concentrations exceeded 75 000 particles/cm3, more than the average freeway PN concentration in Los Angeles.”

Evidence from Queen Mary’s University hospital was produced showing the damage caused by ultrafine particulates going deep into the blood stream and being passed down to the next generation by entering the placenta surrounding an unborn foetus. Unfortunately, the judges were having none of it at this stage. That is not to say that it cannot be raised later, but it does seem that an opportunity has been missed by the court.

Climate Change featured prominently in all the environmental arguments. Perhaps one of the more remarkable features was the defence of the Government to the claim of Plan B Earth that global warming should be kept to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels contained in the Paris Agreement and as set out in the special report of 2018 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Government argued (successfully) that as the Paris Agreement had not been adopted into domestic law, there could be no complaint that it had not been observed – the law remained as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 providing for an 80% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050, and no more.

As has been made evident by the recent demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion and the speeches of Greta Thunberg from Sweden, this may well be nothing like enough. Although this defence was successful, it may come back to haunt the Government as showing just how irresponsible it is being over climate change.

In addition, the concept of the UK signing an international treaty such as the Paris Agreement, and then dishonouring it because the government has failed to pass the treaty into domestic law, will leave a very sour taste in the mouths of many people.

This Government has criticised Donald Trump for walking away from climate change. Perhaps our government should consider the gospel according to St. Matthew chapter 7 verse 4 “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?”

The Committee on Climate Change is responding on May 2nd to the Government with its advice on what level of greenhouse gas emissions reduction is required to combat climate change. It will be interesting to see how the Government reacts to that.

I had argued that climate change had not been taken into consideration sufficiently because no apportionment between airport expansion across the Country had been considered. If Heathrow expands, how can other airports expand (as they are doing and planning to do) when all the quota of greenhouse gas emissions has been taken up by Heathrow?

This cut no ice with the Judges who considered that at the National Policy stage, it was sufficient to show that climate change had been considered and that a possibility of Heathrow expansion within the greenhouse gas emissions limits had been considered (which, of course it had, since the Airports Commission had considered it, however warped one might consider the extent of the consideration).

All this does not mean that climate change will not be considered again at the Development Consent Order stage – and it almost certainly will be and the expansion scheme may well fail on that point. Extinction Rebellion may see to that.

At the end of the day the madness of expanding airport capacity in the south-east, which is already so over-crowded may have to be left to the good offices of the various campaign groups and a 16 year old school girl from Sweden. Perhaps soon, this Government with its mad transport policies, will be elected out of office and we will have some sanity brought back into life.


Commenting on the judgement:

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“This is not a win – but not a loss.

“The judges were constrained by the legislation, stating that all these contentious matters need to be considered at the planning stage.

But the fact remains that Heathrow expansion is a bad policy – economically, as well as environmentally. It should not go ahead and won’t go ahead. It will be challenged until defeated”


John McDonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington, who was at the High Court for the judgment said:

“The Government has got off the hook because they are not willing to recognise Paris Agreement in law. Obviously, there will now be appeals, as it is matter of common sense that Paris Agreement must be taken into account in full.”


The group, Hammersmith & Fulham No 3rd Runway said:

Campaigners’ resolve has only been strengthened following the disappointing Court judgements on the judicial reviews today.

There will be appeals against these judgements. This will create delay which is always helpful to our cause.

Importantly, the whole debate round climate change has sharpened even in the few weeks since this case was heard. Government will be under pressure to enact the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which would change the legal landscape.


See also

Comment by Plan B Earth and Extinction Rebellion, on Judges’ rejection of Heathrow legal challenges

The High Court dismissed all the legal challenges to the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow, including the claims brought by Friends of the Earth and Plan B on the grounds of inconsistency with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B and a legal adviser to Extinction Rebellion, said: “…it is increasingly difficult to see how the Government’s reckless plans to expand Heathrow Airport can proceed. Following the recent Extinction Rebellion protests there is widespread recognition that we are in a state of climate and ecological emergency. The Court has upheld Chris Grayling’s surprising contention that the Paris Agreement is “irrelevant” to Government policy on climate change. It ignored the fact that the Government stated in May last year that it planned to decarbonise the economy by 2050. Instead it accepted Grayling’s argument that the CCC considers the current target of 80% emissions reductions by 2050 to be consistent with the Paris Agreement. Tomorrow the CCC is expected to expose the fallacy of that position by recommending that the Government implement a target of net zero by 2050,… Since that recommendation is obviously inconsistent with the expansion of Heathrow, presumably the plans will now need to be reviewed.”

Click here to view full story…

See also

Heathrow ruling: High Court approves third runway despite escalating climate change crisis

‘Government is kicking our children in the teeth over climate’, say campaigners following defeat

By Harry Cockburn (Independent)

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge against a controversial third runway at Heathrow Airport, despite growing alarm at the climate crisis.

Judges delivered their ruling on Wednesday following separate judicial reviews of the government’s decision to approve the plans, brought by a group of councils, residents, environmental charities and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Ahead of the ruling, Nigel Pleming QC, who was representing five London boroughs, Greenpeace and Mr Khan, said the plans could see the number of passengers using the airport rise to an estimated 132 million, an increase of 60 per cent.

The case had been brought against transport secretary Chris Grayling by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion and charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B.

Under current laws, the government has a legal obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2050.

But the release of the Climate Change Committee’s report on Thursday will call for emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2050.

Key parts of the legal challenge against the government argued the third runway is not compatible with climate change targets in UK domestic law, and also those agreed under international obligations in the Paris agreement in 2015.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the £18bn third runway plans at Heathrow last year, approving Mr Grayling’s plans by 415 votes to 119.

Responding to the airport being given the go-ahead from the High Court, Greenpeace said while the campaigners may have lost this judgment, the government is losing the argument on whether such expansion is “morally justifiable”.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK said: “Chris Grayling has won a court case over whether the third runway is legally permissible, but he’s lost the argument over whether it’s morally justifiable.

“This verdict will not reduce the impact on local communities from increased noise and air pollution, nor will it resolve Heathrow Ltd’s financial difficulties or the economic weakness in their expansion plans.

“But our main concern is allowing Heathrow, the UK’s biggest carbon emitter, to expand in the middle of a climate emergency.

“For as long as climate change remains an afterthought in government decisions they are kicking our children in the teeth.”

Speaking after the ruling, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the decision let the government “off the hook”.

Mr McDonnell said: “What I find extraordinary in the judgment is that, on the issues with regard to climate change, the government gets off the hook simply because it has not adopted the Paris agreement into UK law.

“So, even though our belief is that [the expansion] completely undermines the ability to abide by the climate change targets of the Paris agreement, because the Paris agreement is not in UK law as yet the government gets off the hook.”

Caroline Russell, the chair of the London Assembly environment committee, described the High Court decision as “devastating news”.

“Have any of the judges noticed what David Attenborough, Mark Carney, Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have been saying?” she wrote on Twitter.

In a statement she said: “Although the government’s policy on Heathrow has survived this court hearing, it is still not the right course for London or the environment.

“The government’s own figures show that the extra traffic caused by expansion will worsen air pollution widely across London, shortening Londoners’ lives. At the same time, 200,000 more people will be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow.”

The chair of the London Assembly transport committee, Caroline Pidgeon added: “It is bitterly disappointing that the High Court has made this decision. The London Assembly has long been opposed to the expansion of Heathrow – all advice from the Assembly, protestors and experts seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

“This committee has consistently raised the issue of the government’s lack of planning for improving surface transport access to Heathrow Airport, yet the situation remains largely unchanged.

“The government has persisted with this decision without proper preparation for the influx of people that would be travelling to and from Heathrow by car, train and many other means.”

Friends of the Earth today appeared to be considering a further challenge to the court judgement, and said the decision was “out of step with the world”.

“Parliament’s decision to green-light Heathrow was morally wrong, but today we believe the courts have got it legally wrong too. We are examining the judgement in detail and will consider all options,” they said.

The organisation added: “Heathrow airport is already the single biggest climate polluter in the UK, expansion will only exacerbate the problem.”

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate change at WWF, said: “The climate emergency is here, and yet we are acting as if we have time to waste. When the Committee on Climate Change report is published tomorrow, politicians will say that they are committed to tackling climate change. But how can they be taken seriously if they press ahead with expanding airports?”

Chris Grayling responded to the court’s judgement saying the new runway would “benefit every corner of the United Kingdom”.

He said: “The expansion of Heathrow is vital and will provide a massive economic boost to businesses and communities across the length and breadth of Britain, all at no cost to the taxpayer and within our environmental obligations.

“I welcome the court’s judgment today. It makes clear we followed a robust and legally sound process throughout.

“I now call on all public bodies not to waste any more taxpayers’ money or seek to further delay this vital project which will benefit every corner of the United Kingdom.”

In a statement a Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are delighted with today’s ruling which is a further demonstration that the debate on Heathrow expansion has been had and won, not only in Parliament, but in the courts also. We are getting on with delivering the once-in-a-generation project that will connect Britain to global growth, providing thousands of new jobs and an economic boost for this country and its future generations.”

The High Court findings come on the same day Mr Grayling said he was terminating contracts with three ferry companies which were too expand lorry freight capacity in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

He decided to terminate the agreements after the deadline for the UK’s departure was extended until the end of October, but the Department for Transport will still have to pay £50m for part of the value of the contracts.

The £50m bill comes on top of a £33m payment to Eurotunnel, earlier this year, to settle its legal case over the cross-Channel contracts.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald responded to Mr Grayling’s announcement saying: “His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted.

“This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”






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No 3rd Runway Coalition’s message loud and clear at London Climate March

At the Climate Change march in London on 1st December, to mark the start of the COP24 climate talks in Katovice, Poland, the No 3rd Runway Coalition was out in force.  Many hundred people marched – 700 or more? – with a large input from anti-fracking activists, and many from Extinction Rebelling. After rallying outside the Polish Embassy for speeches, including Neil Keveren from Stop Heathrow Expansion, the march set off down Regents Street and Piccadilly to Whitehall. The key concern was that in the UK, from fracking to a Heathrow third runway, our government is failing to face up to the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming. We need action now to move to a Zero Carbon Britain, with climate jobs to build the future we need. Instead of rapidly committing to effective action to cut CO2, the UK government is actively backing measures to make CO2 emissions higher or cut funding for initiatives that would cut burning of fossil fuels.  The No 3rd Runway Coalition banner took up pride of place at the start of the march.  There were many Coalition members present, many placards on show, the huge Chatr black plane clearly stating “No 3rd Runway”, and a good turnout by Stop Heathrow Expansion.


No 3rd Runway Coalition presence at the London Climate March


Heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires make it clear: it’s time to act on climate change. As crucial UN climate talks kick off in kick off in Katowice, Poland, join us to show solidarity with environmental activists there; with those in the Global South in particular in the frontline of climate change; and with all those standing up for the future of our planet over short-term profit, against the rise of the far right and climate denial.

Here in the UK, from fracking to a Heathrow third runway, our government is failing to face up to the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming. We need action now to move to a Zero Carbon Britain, with climate jobs to build the future we need.

The march sent a message to activists in Katowice, marching on 8 December

The march assembled from 12 noon outsider the Polish Embassy on Portland Place. There was a rally with speeches from 12.30 to 1.30pm. There were speeches by:

Clive Lewis MP, Labour Party
Sian Berry, co-leader, Green Party
Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose recent prison sentence was overturned
Paul Allen, Zero Carbon Britain
Beatriz Ratton, Brazilian Women Against Fascism
Nita Sanghera, Vice President, UCU
Asad Rehman, War on Want
Anna Gretton, Extinction Rebellion
Neil Keveren, No 3rd Runway Coalition

The rally chanted in Polish,  “Razem dla Klimatu” – outside the Polish Embassy. It means “Together for Climate”.

The No 3rd Runway Coalition banner took up pride of place at the start of the march.  There were many Coalition members present, many placards on show, the huge Chatr black plane clearly stating “No 3rd Runway”, and a good turnout by Stop Heathrow Expansion. Sadly the huge model plane, made by the irrepressible Neil Keveren, had a bit of a mishap during the pouring rain all morning …. but will be fixed and will makes its debut appearance at another event soon …

The march then set off, down Regents Street, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square to Whitehall. Police held up the traffic for the marchers to pass, and shoppers watched with interest (taking thousands of photos and videos) as the marchers streamed past. There were chants, while going past the BBC in Portland Place, of “BBC, BBC, tell the truth about climate change”. Also chants of  “What do we want? Climate Action.  When do we want it? Now.  What do we want? Climate Justice.  When do we want it? Now”.

And also many times:   “No ifs, no buts – No 3rd Runway”.

Some shoppers abandoned their shopping to join the march for a while. Some car drivers honked their horns in support as the march passed.

The Extinction Rebellion activists were there in force, but there was no direct action and absolutely no breaking of any laws or civil disobedience.

At the rally in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, there were speeches by

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour Party
Liz Hutchins, Friends of the Earth
Peter Allen, Frack Free United
Claire James, Campaign against Climate Change

After the protest, the Frack Free United Declaration against fracking was handed in, to 10 Downing Street.





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Launch of “Stay Grounded” network – organisations around the world opposing unsustainable aviation/airport expansion

The Stay Grounded network has been officially launched. It now has over 130 signatories (including the No 3rd Runway Coalition, and others in the UK) and more than 80 member organisations. Stay Grounded aims to reduce the environmentally and socially damaging impact of aviation, by stopping its fast rate of expansion across the world. The industry has privileged status in many ways, including its out-of-control increasing carbon emissions. The Stay Grounded network has published a position paper outlining 13 steps for a transition towards a transport system that is more socially just and ecologically sustainable. Many non-violent actions took place in countries around the world, in a recent week of action. These were directed against airport infrastructure projects, many of them leading not only to rising CO2 emissions, but also noise and health issues, loss of homes, biodiversity and fertile lands.  Around the world there are about 1200 airports planned to be built or being expanded. Stay grounded will also highlight the industry’s inadequate “greenwashing” strategies, which will lead to increasing pressure on ecosystems, local farming communities, and indigenous peoples, particularly in the Global South.


In the week of action, a total of 27 actions took place in 11 countries (3 continents) to counter airport expansion and to demand a just transport system. There is a video here  and more on  FacebookTwitter
There are photos of the actions here.   Stay Grounded is working to spread information and understanding about the illusion of “green growth” for the aviation sector.  The movement needs to build pressure on our politicians, across countries, to cut the privileges of the aviation industry.

Press Release: Stay Grounded international network launched to counter aviation

1st-12th October – 2 weeks of protest events to be held around the world

Magdalena Heuwieser & Mira Kapfinger / coordinators of Stay Grounded
Phone: 0043/6503773102

1st October 2018 – This week marks the official launch of Stay Grounded, a global network of organisations and activist groups working to curb the unrestrained expansion of the aviation sector that is causing ever increasing damage to the climate and local residents. Supported by more than 100 civil society organisations, like Friends of the Earth International, the network has published a position paper outlining 13 steps for a transition towards a transport system that is more socially just and ecologically sustainable.

The Stay Grounded network will organise protest events around the world in the coming two weeks to raise awareness of the ongoing massive wave of airport infrastructure expansion: They will take place in Denmark, the UK, Mexico, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, France and New Zealand.

The actions are directed against airport infrastructure projects, many of them leading to noise and health issues, loss of homes, biodiversity and fertile lands”, explains Mira Kapfinger from Stay Grounded, pointing out a map of airport conflicts. Around the world, about 1200 airports are planned to be built or being expanded. The protests will also throw a spotlight on the industry’s inadequate “greenwashing” strategies, which will lead to increasing pressure on ecosystems, peasant communities, and indigenous peoples, particularly in the Global South.

Aviation Emissions and Greenwashed Climate Strategies
The protests are just in time: At the end of October, International Aviation will decide on its climate strategy called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). It proclaims the goal to achieve “carbon neutral growth” after 2020 by buying cheap and ineffective carbon credits from offset projects in the Global South. These supposedly “green” projects have a record of fuelling land grabbing and human rights violations.

Instead of assuming responsibility for the harmful impact of its reckless growth path, the industry is trying to buy its way out at the expense of vulnerable populations who are at risk of losing their livelihoods due to these offsetting projects”, Mira Kapfinger adds.

“CORSIA is not only a greenwashed cloth attempting to polish aviation. It is also being used as a diversion tactic to block any effective regulation of the sector”, explains Magdalena Heuwieser from Stay Grounded. The European aviation industry is recently trying to lobby EU officials to abolish existing regulation of aviation emissions, like the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and ticket taxes, by pointing to an alleged overlap with CORSIA.

Mira Kapfinger from Stay Grounded said: “This year’s summer of record temperatures, droughts and forest fires, has been another warning sign that it is now most urgent for us all to resist the growing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.” Aviation is by far the mode of transport with the biggest climate impact, as well as being one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Stay Grounded demands effective regulations on aviation

Stay Grounded rejects greenwashed aviation strategies like CORSIA, carbon trading and tanked biofuels and instead fosters effective solutions to the climate crisis and rising aviation emissions. “For decades, the aviation industry has enjoyed many privileges. For example, flight tickets and kerosene still remain untaxed, in contrast to car fuel or train tickets. Now is the time to wake up. “Techno-fixes” and offsets are illusions. Rather than fueling further expansion, air traffic urgently needs to be controlled and reduced, before we get locked in to their unaffordable emissions. This process needs to be socially just,” Mira Kapfinger concludes.


Further information:



Stay Grounded will send their position paper together with an introductory letter to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) on October 26th, just before the start of their next Council meeting. In this meeting they will decide on the criteria for carbon offsets and biofuels – the main pillars of the international climate strategy CORSIA, and hugely dangerous because they don’t help fight climate change and push land grabbing. Find more information on the current international policy debates and problems involved in this article and in the study “The Illusion of Green Flying” (GE, EN, FR). 

Stay Grounded is encouraging people and organisations to write to their environment, climate change and transport ministries, asking that they make public their reservations about the ICAO CORSIA scheme, (which is a token scheme to give the impression of cutting aviation carbon emissions, while in reality doing the least possible, and not having an effective impact on aviation CO2 for decades).  Letters should be sent before 1st December. Though it is unlikely that the CORSIA scheme will be stopped, or made effective, it is important that EU states express their concerns about CORSIA so it does not lead to the EU ETS regulation being stopped, and replaced by the (ineffective) CORSIA.  Find here the contact details of EU ministers and a new CORSIA briefing by Transport & Environment, and find here some bullet points that can be used for your letter.





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Anti-Heathrow protesters stage hunger strike against Heathrow 3rd runway plans, asking people to lobby their MPs to vote against it

On Saturday 9th, campaigners from the Vote NO Heathrow campaign started a hunger strike, to draw attention to the huge risk that MPs might vote in favour of a 3rd Heathrow runway. The vote is likely in the next two weeks. Over 30 campaigners gathered outside the London HQ of the Labour Party in Victoria Street, for the start of the hunger strike by 5 of them. They intend to continue not to eat for as long as their health permits, and if possible until the vote in Parliament.  Earlier in the week, 8 campaigners were arrested outside the building for using chalk spray on the pavement and the glass windows, to highlight their message. The vote of the Labour party is crucial, and it is hoped that MPs will appreciate that the runway fails the 4 tests Labour has set for it, and impose a 3-line whip. The Tories may impose a 3-line whip in favour of the runway. The Vote NO Heathrow campaign wants as many people as possible to write to their MP – of whichever party – to ask them to vote against the runway. There are many important arguments, why the runway should be opposed (more details below) but these could be summarised as economic problems, UK region problems, noise, air pollution and increased carbon emissions. 

A three-line whip is the strongest indication a party can give to its MPs on how to vote in Parliament. If a Labour MP “defies” the three-line whip there can be consequences such as being removed from posts. The Conservative government is expected to impose a three-line whip in favour of the airport’s expansion, which may cause problems for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson .

The Vote No Heathrow campaign says:

The Heathrow expansion will be a disaster. It has failed all of Labour’s impacts tests on climate change and air and noise pollution. The party must uphold its values of ‘social and economic equality’ by firmly voting against the expansion. More than 30 campaigners will be outside the Labour HQ on Saturday and we would love you to join us in our fast, either in person or in solidarity.

Information for people on the hunger strike at

The Vote No Heathrow campaign  are calling on everyone to write and speak to their local MP and urge them to vote against the expansion. Even with strong signals from party leaders, many MPs are considering rebelling on the issue based on their constituents views. We must make sure your voice in his heard in this debate.

There is some information at the bottom of this webpage, with reasons why MPs should vote against the runway, to help people with their letter or email to their MP.

Write to your MP at

Follow the campaign on Facebook

and Twitter


Anti-Heathrow protesters stage dramatic hunger strike against third runway outside Labour Party office

Many have pledged to go on with the strike until their demands are met

By  Qasim Peracha  (Get West London)
10 JUN 2018

A group of anti- Heathrow expansion protesters, from the Vote NO Heathrow campaign, staged a hunger strike outside the offices of the Labour Party .

The desperate protesters are asking for the party to instruct its MPs to vote against the expansion of the airport when the Commons gets the final say in the coming weeks.

At least 5 of the protesters hope to continue their hunger strike and civil disobedience protest indefinitely, until the Labour party impose a three-line whip against expansion.

The protesters gathered outside the Victoria Street headquarters of the Labour party to make their demands on Saturday (June 9).

Some of the hunger strikers were wearing T-shirts reading “Love Labour: Hate Heathrow”, and placards reading “Vote No Heathrow” and “Hunger Strike”.

The “civil disobedience” has come after the government’s long-awaited National Policy Statement on Airports was published on Tuesday (June 5), and the cabinet voted to go ahead with the construction of a third runway , north-west of Heathrow’s current airfield.

The protesters had also been at the Labour office a day before the announcement, and some were even arrested as police descended on the offices.

Robin, a 26-year-old Londoner who is on the hunger strike, said: “We are taking this drastic action because this month there is a ‘make or break’ vote on Heathrow in Parliament.

Some protesters were even arrested after an earlier demonstration (Image: Vote No Heathrow)


“Everyone needs to tell their MP to vote against this disastrous project. The new runway will accelerate global warming as climate breakdown gets catastrophic and bulldoze hundreds of homes during a UK housing crisis.”

The runway would stretch over the M25, but would still require several homes to be destroyed and is likely to cause an increase in noise to some residents currently not affected by aircraft noise, opponents say.

The protesters are concerned about the likely impact of expansion to air pollution in London, as well as the need for enhanced infrastructure so additional traffic does not impact their ability to get about the city.

The protesters also sat outside the Unite union buildings; TUC, Community and BALPA have all expressed support for the 3rd runway, hoping there will be jobs.

A three-line whip is the strongest indication a party can give to its MPs on how to vote in Parliament. If a Labour MP “defies” the three-line whip there can be consequences such as being removed from posts.

The Conservative government is expected to impose a three-line whip in favour of the airport’s expansion, which may cause problems for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson .


The Uxbridge and South Ruislip MP famously promised to “lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that third runway”, speaking to protesters.

As a vocal opponent of the third runway, he could face having to resign his senior cabinet post over the issue, as convention dictates any cabinet minister must resign before voting against the government on a three-line whip.

Alex Thompson, a spokesperson for Vote No Heathrow, said: “A new runway will accelerate catastrophic climate breakdown killing millions around the world.

The group say they share Labour values and urge them to reject the Heathrow proposal (Image: Vote No Heathrow)


“Those who stand to gain from the new runway are limited to a wealthy minority of frequent flyers; the rest will suffer a devastated climate, bulldozed local homes and even more toxic air. All progressive MPs must oppose expansion of Heathrow.

“We are calling on MPs and influential unions like Unite to look at the bigger picture: climate breakdown is being driven by wealthy people, who fly, and the impacts are hitting poorer people first and worst, who do not fly.

“We want a stable planet with stable work, not a broken planet with insecure work; that starts with opposing Heathrow expansion.”

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Campaigner who was approached by police to spy on anti-airport campaign wants proper inquiry into police infiltration

Environmental campaigner Tilly Gifford wants a public inquiry to investigate claims that she was “targeted” by undercover police officers who wanted her to spy on fellow activists.  In 2009, Tilly was working with Plane Stupid, which was protesting about the environmental damage done by airport expansion.  She told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland that she was arrested during a protest at Aberdeen Airport and police wanted her to feed them intelligence on the group. They wanted information about the groups she worked with, the individuals, and what they were planning – in exchange for cash. She has tapes of the conversations. Now 9 years later she is at the forefront of attempts to win a judicial review to force either the UK government to extend its inquiry – or have the Scottish government set up its own.  She says all her actions were totally peaceful and non-violent, even if some laws were violated, and: “The question here is not about undercover policing, it is about undercover political policing.”  “We know now that up to thousands of campaigns across the whole of the UK, in Scotland as well, have been targeted by undercover political policing and it is time for a full public inquiry.”  It is likely that campaigns against Heathrow’s expansion have been targeted too.



‘Police wanted me to spy on campaigners’


7th February 2018

Tilly Gifford was a 24-year-old environmental campaigner when she was arrested in 2009

Image captionTilly Gifford was a 24-year-old environmental campaigner when she was arrested in 2009

Environmental campaigner Tilly Gifford wants a public inquiry to investigate claims that she was “targeted” by undercover police officers who wanted her to spy on fellow activists.

In 2009, Ms Gifford was working with Plane Stupid, which was protesting about the environmental damage done by airport expansion.

She told BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland that she was arrested during a protest at Aberdeen Airport and police wanted her to feed them intelligence on the group in exchange for cash.

Ms Gifford said: “They wanted information about the groups I worked with, the individuals I worked with and what we were planning.”

She later released recordings of conversations with unnamed men in which they claimed to have a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations across the political spectrum.

Plane Stupid campaigned against the expansion of Aberdeen Airport

Nine years later she is at the forefront of attempts to win a judicial review to force either the UK government to extend its inquiry or have the Scottish government set up its own.

She told BBC Scotland: “Everything I was doing was totally peaceful and non-violent.

“The question here is not about undercover policing, it is about undercover political policing.”

An English officer was alleged to have infiltrated environmental groups ahead of the G8 summit at Gleneagles in 2005


Ms Gifford said other campaign groups in Scotland had been targeted, such as groups planning to disrupt the G8 meeting at Gleneagles in 2005.

She said: “We know now that up to thousands of campaigns across the whole of the UK, in Scotland as well, have been targeted by undercover political policing and it is time for a full public inquiry.”

Ms Gifford added: “We need to know who was targeted, how and why, and who commissioned these policemen to come into our lives and affect not only our campaign but to destroy personal lives?”

She added: “I want to know how long I was followed for.

“I want to know who decided I was to be a target. I want to know who these officers were.”

‘Already winning’

She said she had tried for years to find out this information.

In England, the judge-led inquiry has a remit to investigate undercover practices dating back to 1968.

However, in Scotland a review by HM Inspector of Constabulary has a much narrower remit.

Ms Gifford said: “There is zero in Scotland. No inquiry. As it stands now I’ll never find out.”

She is challenging Scotland’s decision not to have a full public inquiry.

“In the court of public opinion we are already winning,” she said.

“I think people have lost trust in the police.

“We know, it is established, these abuses have taken place on Scottish soil.

“We will probably win in the court of law eventually so they would be saving time to agree to an inquiry now.”

Ms Gifford said she could see the need for undercover policing but it should not be used for political purposes.

She said: “It is important to recognise that advances in our society are built on political campaigns working for these rights.”



See earlier – in 2009:


Police caught on tape trying to recruit Plane Stupid protester as spy

Climate change activist taped men who offered cash for information about group’s members and activities

Listen to the tapes and read the transcripts

Tilly Gifford and Dan Glass with some of the recording equipment they used
Juliana Napier, Tilly Gifford and Dan Glass with some of the recording equipment they used. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Undercover police are running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash, according to evidence handed to the Guardian.

The dramatic disclosures are revealed in almost three hours of secretly recorded discussions between covert officers claiming to be from Strathclyde police, and an activist from the protest group Plane Stupid, whom the officers attempted to recruit as a paid spy after she had been released on bail following a demonstration at Aberdeen airport last month.

Matilda Gifford, 24, said she recorded the meetings in an attempt to expose how police seek to disrupt the legitimate activities of climate change activists. She met the officers twice; they said they were a detective constable and his assistant. During the taped discussions, the officers:

 Indicate that she could receive tens of thousands of pounds to pay off her student loans in return for information about individuals within Plane Stupid.

 Say they will not pay money direct into her bank account because that would leave an audit trail that would leave her compromised. They said the money would be tax-free, and added: “UK plc can afford more than 20 quid.”

 Accept that she is a legitimate protester, but warn her that her activity could mean she will struggle to find employment in the future and result in a criminal record.

 Claim they have hundreds of informants feeding them information from protest organisations and “big groupings” from across the political spectrum.

 Explain that spying could assist her if she was arrested. “People would sell their soul to the devil,” an officer said.

 Warn her that she could be jailed alongside “hard, evil” people if she received a custodial sentence.

The meetings took place in a Glasgow police station last month and in a supermarket cafe on Tuesday. Gifford used a mobile phone and device sewn into her waistcoat to record what they described as a “business proposal” that she should think of as a job.

They intimated that in return for updates on Plane Stupid’s plans she could receive large sums of money in cash.

When lawyers acting for Plane Stupid contacted Strathclyde police this week to establish the identities of the detective constable, they were initially told by the human resources department there was no record of his name.

But when the Guardian contacted the force, they acknowledged officers had had meetings with Plane Stupid activists.

In a statement last night, assistant chief constable George Hamilton said the force had “a responsibility to gather intelligence”, and such operations were conducted according to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA). The force would not comment on the identity of the officers.

“Officers from Strathclyde police have been in contact with a number of protesters who were involved with the Plane Stupid protests including Aberdeen airport,” he said. “The purpose of this contact has been to ensure that any future protest activity is carried out within the law and in a manner which respects the rights of all concerned.”

Gifford’s lawyer, Patrick Campbell, said: “I have very considerable concerns about these events. There appears to be a covert operation that is running in some way with, or using, Strathclyde police’s name. There appears to be a concerted effort to turn protesters to informants and possibly infiltrate peaceful protest movements.

He added: “The methods employed are disturbing, and more worrying yet is the lack of any clearly identifiable body responsible for this. These individuals seem to have some kind of police support or at the very least connections with the police – the access to police stations confirms that – but my concern is the lack of accountability and the threat to the individual and her right to protest.”

Gifford intended to meet the officers for a third time on Thursday, taking a lawyer with her. But the officers did not appear at the rendezvous. However, she said she was later approached by the detective constable, who said he was disappointed in her. The man got into a car, leaving Gifford feeling shaken and intimidated.

She said last night that the initial approach from the officers was “an opportunity that fell out of the sky”. She added: “Recording them seemed like the obvious thing to do. I was keen to find out what they had to offer, what they wanted to find out, and feed that back to the group in case other members of Plane Stupid were approached.”

In a statement, Plane Stupid said: “Our civil liberties were invaded and our right to peaceful protest called into question simply to defend the interests of big business.”

Listen to the tapes and read the transcripts







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After 50 year battle, French government abandons plans for new Nantes airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Victory!

It has finally been announced, by Edouard Philippe (Prime Minister of France) that the proposed new airport for Nantes, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), has been abandoned.  President Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe have buried the project, which has been seriously criticised for its cost and its environmental consequences. The leaders see the airport as impossible to build because of the fierce opposition by around half the population, so it just a constant source of division. Instead the executive backs re-development of the current Nantes-Atlantique airport, south of the city of Nantes, which will be modernised and have its runway lengthened. That would help a bit to lessen the noise from the flight path that goes over part of the city. The Prime Minister has also announced an expansion of the airport of Rennes-Saint-Jacques and a development of high-speed rail lines between the West and Paris airports. Opponents of the NDDL scheme are jubilant – the battle has lasted almost 50 years, and they almost lost on several occasions. But Edouard Philippe said the “zone to defend” (ZAD) will be cleared, so it is no longer a lawless area with blocked roads etc.  Those occupying it will have to leave, and the land be returned to agricultural use.




There is more information, in English, about the lengthy campaign at Notre Dame des Landes (NDDL) against the new airport plans, at Nantes Aeroport du Grand Ouest – NDDL

and news stories over many years at  Nantes Airport News

Notre-Dame-des-Landes: the executive buries the airport

By Dominique Albertini   (Liberation, France)

“Notre-Dame-des-Landes is the airport of the division,” said Edouard Philippe Wednesday, to justify the abandonment of the project. More surprisingly, the evacuation will take place only in the spring.

No plane will take off at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe on Wednesday buried the project of new airport Nantes, criticized for its cost and its environmental consequences. “I see today that the conditions are not met to carry out the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project, said the Prime Minister from the Elysée, at the exit of a Council of Ministers which lasted until 13:30. Such a project […] can not be done in a context of heightened opposition between two almost equal parts of the population […] Notre-Dame-des-Landes, I can see it, is the airport of the division “ .

READ ALSO  The main declarations of Edouard Philippe

This is a redevelopment of the current Nantes-Atlantique airport that has retained the executive. He will see his current equipment modernized, then his track lengthened “to reduce noise pollution in Nantes,”promised Edouard Philippe. The Prime Minister has also announced an expansion of the airport of Rennes-Saint-Jacques and a development of high-speed rail lines between the West and Paris airports.

While the supporters of the airport denounce a “retreat” of the State against the occupants of the “zone to defend” (ZAD), Edouard Philippe promised the “end of this zone of lawlessness” : “The roads must be returned to free movement, obstacles removed, circulation restored. Otherwise, the police will proceed to the necessary operations “ . On the rest of the area, “illegal occupants will have to leave by the next spring or be expelled” . After which “the lands will return to their agricultural vocation” .


With this decision, the Head of State and his Prime Minister put an end to fifty years of procrastination around a project conceived under the Thirty Glorious, never launched, but never buried until today. Returning an unflattering image to unresolved public authorities, the file also symbolized the limits of French-style spatial planning. “For fifty years, the project was successively decided, abandoned, relaunched, re-examined, reconfigured, postponed ,  said the Prime Minister. Denouncing, in a series of allusions to the five-year Hollande, “the indecision of successive governments” .

Paradox: this denouement, major victory for the green current, will have been carried by two officials rather favorable, at the origin, with the new airport. “My first choice would have been to immediately allow this project,” did not hide Edouard Philippe Wednesday. As for Emmanuel Macron, he said during the presidential campaign his intention to  “enforce”  the consultation held in Loire-Atlantique in June 2016, where 55% of voters had supported the airport project. A few days later, however, the candidate said he wanted  “one last time look at things”, and in particular the idea of ​​a redevelopment of Nantes-Atlantique. After coming to power, neither the Head of State nor the Prime Minister had expressed any wish for the future of the project. Retreating for eight months behind  a perfectly fair consultation .

By June 2016, the executive had entrusted three experts with a “mediation mission”.  In a report submitted in December , it had weighed the construction of the new airport and the expansion of the current platform in Nantes. But gave the advantage to the second in terms of cost. At the beginning of January, in the wake of this report, Edouard Philippe had multiplied the meetings with local elected officials, favorable or opposed to the site. And made last Saturday, a surprise visit in Loire-Atlantique, without revealing anything of its intentions.


The decision opens two fronts for the executive. Perhaps facilitated by the abandonment of the project, the evacuation of the ZAD, even if it is pushed back in the spring, will still be a delicate operation. In a statement released Tuesday, the occupiers oppose “any expulsion of those who have come to live in recent years in the grove to defend and who want to continue to project their lives and activities . ” Available on the ZAD website,  a document lists the locations and times of the rallies to be organized from the beginning of the expulsion, all over France. And especially in Nantes and Rennes, where police reinforcements have already been planned.

Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe will also have to deal with the discontent of local elected representatives, who are overwhelmingly in favor of a new airport. On Wednesday, the PS chairman of the Loire-Atlantique departmental council, Philippe Grosvalet, denounced a decision that “tramples the communities [and] the inhabitants” of the department. “Betrayal of the Great West and denial of democracy, ” added on Twitter the Mayor PS of Nantes, Johanna Rolland. While the president of the Pays de la Loire LR, Christelle Morançais, lamented “the victory of the zadistes on the rule of law.”  A trial that the Prime Minister will try to disarm, receiving the parliamentarians of Loire-Atlantique to Matignon, this afternoon.


Notre-Dame-des-Landes : l’exécutif enterre l’aéroport

Par Dominique Albertini  (Liberation, France)

«Notre-Dame-des-Landes, c’est l’aéroport de la division», a déclaré Edouard Philippe mercredi, pour justifier l’abandon du projet. Plus surprenant, l’évacuation n’aura lieu qu’au printemps.

Notre-Dame-des-Landes : l’exécutif enterre l’aéroport

Aucun avion ne décollera à Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Emmanuel Macron et Edouard Philippe ont enterré mercredi le projet de nouvel aéroport nantais, critiqué pour son coût et ses conséquences environnementales. «Je constate aujourd’hui que les conditions ne sont pas réunies pour mener à bien le projet d’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a déclaré le Premier ministre depuis l’Elysée, à la sortie d’un Conseil des ministres qui aura duré jusqu’à 13h30. Un tel projet […] ne peut se faire dans un contexte d’opposition exacerbée entre deux parties presque égales de la population […] Notre-Dame-des-Landes, je le constate, c’est l’aéroport de la division».

Les principales déclarations d’Edouard Philippe

C’est un réaménagement de l’aéroport actuel de Nantes-Atlantique qu’a retenu l’exécutif. Celui-ci verra ses équipements actuels modernisés, puis sa piste allongée «pour réduire les nuisances sonores à Nantes», a promis Edouard Philippe. Le Premier ministre a en outre annoncé un agrandissement de l’aéroport de Rennes-Saint-Jacques et un développement des lignes ferroviaires à grande vitesse entre l’Ouest et les aéroports de Paris.

Alors que les partisans de l’aéroport dénoncent un «recul» de l’Etat face aux occupants de la «zone à défendre» (ZAD), Edouard Philippe a promis la «fin de cette zone de non-droit» : «Les routes doivent être rendues à la libre circulation, les obstacles retirés, la circulation rétablie. À défaut, les forces de l’ordre procèderont aux opérations nécessaires». Sur le reste de la zone, «les occupants illégaux devront partir d’eux-mêmes d’ici le printemps prochain ou seront expulsés». Après quoi «les terres retrouveront leur vocation agricole».

Avec cette décision, le chef de l’Etat et son Premier ministre mettent un terme à cinquante ans de tergiversations autour d’un projet conçu sous les Trente Glorieuses, jamais lancé, mais jamais enterré jusqu’à ce jour. Renvoyant une image peu flatteuse à des pouvoirs publics irrésolus, le dossier symbolisait aussi les limites de l’aménagement du territoire à la française. «Durant cinquante ans, le projet a été successivement décidé, abandonné, relancé, rééxaminé, reconfiguré, remis à plus tard», a souligné le Premier ministre. Dénonçant, dans une série d’allusions au quinquennat Hollande, «l’indécision des gouvernements successifs».

Paradoxe : ce dénouement, victoire majeure pour le courant écologiste, aura été porté par deux responsables plutôt favorables, à l’origine, au nouvel aéroport. «Mon premier choix aurait été d’autoriser sans délai ce projet», n’a pas caché Edouard Philippe mercredi. Quant à Emmanuel Macron, il avait dit pendant la campagne présidentielle son intention de «faire respecter» la consultation organisée en Loire-Atlantique en juin 2016, où 55% des votants avaient soutenu le projet d’aéroport. Quelques jours plus tard, le candidat avait cependant déclaré vouloir «une dernière fois regarder les choses», et notamment l’idée d’un réaménagement de Nantes-Atlantique. Après leur arrivée au pouvoir, ni le chef de l’Etat ni le Premier ministre n’avaient exprimé le moindre vœu sur l’avenir du projet. Se retranchant, durant huit mois, derrière une consultation voulue parfaitement équitable.

Dès juin 2016, l’exécutif avait confié à trois experts une «mission de médiation». Dans un rapport remis en décembre, celle-ci avait mis en balance la construction du nouvel aéroport et l’agrandissement de l’actuelle plate-forme nantaise. Mais donnait l’avantage à la deuxième en termes de coût. Début janvier, dans la foulée de ce rapport, Edouard Philippe avait multiplié les rencontres avec les élus locaux, favorables ou opposés au chantier. Et effectué, samedi dernier, une visite surprise en Loire-Atlantique, sans rien y dévoiler de ses intentions.

La décision ouvre deux fronts pour l’exécutif. Peut-être facilitée par l’abandon du projet, l’évacuation de la ZAD, même si elle est repoussée au printemps, n’en sera pas moins une opération délicate. Dans un communiqué publié mardi, les occupants s’opposent à «toute expulsion de celles et ceux qui sont venus habiter ces dernières années dans le bocage pour le défendre et qui souhaitent continuer à y projeter leurs vies et leurs activités». Consultable sur le site de la ZAD, un document énumère les lieux et horaires des rassemblements à organiser dès le début de l’expulsion, partout en France. Et notamment à Nantes et Rennes, où des renforts policiers ont d’ores et déjà été projetés.

Emmanuel Macron et Edouard Philippe devront également gérer le mécontentement des élus locaux, très majoritairement favorables à un nouvel aéroport. Mercredi, le président PS du conseil départemental de Loire-Atlantique, Philippe Grosvalet, a dénoncé une décision qui «piétine les collectivités [et] les habitants» du département. «Trahison du Grand Ouest et déni de démocratie», a renchéri sur Twitter la maire PS de Nantes, Johanna Rolland. Tandis que la présidente LR des Pays de la Loire, Christelle Morançais, a déploré «la victoire des zadistes sur l’Etat de droit». Un procès que le Premier ministre s’efforcera de désarmer, en recevant les parlementaires de Loire-Atlantique à Matignon, dès cet après-midi.



Notre-Dames-des-Landes: fifty years of battles

The new airport project near Nantes has followed a very long institutional path enamelled by numerous confrontations in the field.


By Rémi Barroux

The Notre-Dame-des-Landes file is coming to an end. Opened fifty years ago, it is the oldest environmental conflict in France . The airport of the discord has become the symbol, for the defenders of the environment , of the “big useless projects”. Fifty years of struggle, of stagnation, of legal battle.

The 1970s: Concord and Decentralization

It was at the end of the 1960s that the idea of ​​an airport for the West was born, as part of the decentralization promoted by the interministerial delegation to regional planning and regional attractiveness. Nantes Atlantique Airport (formerly Château-Bougon) is considered unsuitable to accommodate the millions of passengers expected. It is a question of transatlantic flights and to land the national flagship, the Concorde.

The first opponents created in 1972 the Association of Defense Operators concerned by the airport (Adeca). A small delegation goes to Orly (Val-de-Marne) to record airplane noises and collect testimonials from local residents. In January 1974, a prefectural decree fixed the deferred development zone (ZAD) which enabled the department to acquire some 1,200 ha (the total project area being 1,650 ha).

Read also:   The forces of law converge towards Notre-Dame-des-Landes


The 2000s: towards the decree of public utility

The airport project is put to sleep for fifteen years, because of the oil crisis and the arrival of the TGV to Nantes (1989). The idea of ​​a third Parisian airport is promoted in 1994 and Notre-Dame-des-Landes remains in the race. In 2000, the project is reactivated by the socialist government of Lionel Jospin. In October, an interministerial committee decided to “build a new airport, replacing Nantes Atlantique, on the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes” .

The appearance of sound exposure plans, prohibiting or limiting buildings exposed to aircraft noise, is contrary to the will of the mayor (PS) of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, to urbanize the island of Nantes. The latter is very attached to the idea of having an infrastructure equal to the major European airports. In December 2000, the Inter-communal Citizens’ Association of the populations concerned by the airport project (Acipa) was created.

In 2003, the advisory committee of the public debate is set up. Three years later, on the basis of the public declaration file (DUP), the public inquiry is organized . On February 9, 2008, the state signed the decree (for ten years) declaring public utility the construction of the new airport.

In 2009, is born the Collective of elected officials doubting the relevance of the airport (CéDpa). The summer of that year is held on the site referred a ” climate action camp  “. In the wake, the first occupations are born and the ZAD is renamed “area to defend.”

The 2010s: “zadistes” against “legalistes”

In December 2010, Prime Minister François Fillon ( UMP ) signed the decree awarding the concession to the company Vinci, for a period of fifty-five years, the existing airports of Nantes Atlantique and Saint-Nazaire Montoir, as well as of the future Notre-Dame-des-Landes. The opening of the new site is scheduled for 2017. Vinci will be the victim of many actions throughout France.

Many appeals are filed by the opponents. The trials succeed and the legal battle will last for several years. In April 2012, two farmers, Michel Tarin and Gilles Denigot, went on a hunger strike in front of the prefecture of Nantes. François Hollande ensures that there will be no intervention on the area before the end of all appeals.

On October 16, 2012 in the early morning, the government of Jean-Marc Ayrault – Manuel Valls is Minister of the Interior – launches the operation “César” to evacuate the ZAD. But the violent clashes lead the government to suspend the operation. On November 17, tens of thousands of people demonstrate to reoccupy the area. A week later, the Prime Minister announced the creation of three commissions (experts, dialogue and scientists). In April 2013, the Dialogue Commission concluded that the project was valid, but called into question the compensation measures planned.

During the year 2013, the occupations multiply and many agricultural projects are born. On February 22, several tens of thousands of demonstrators, supported by some 500 tractors, parade in the center of Nantes. Violent incidents punctuate the event.

image: the city center of Nantes, February 22, 2013.

Trials and appeals continue to be chained. They are all lost by the opponents of the project. In January 2016, the district court of Nantes validates the expulsions of the inhabitants and farmers, historical opponents. Ségolène Royal, then Minister of the Environment, commissioned a study to the General Council for the Environment and Sustainable Development (CGEDD), which proposes, on April 5, two solutions: the airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes but with only one track on both planned, or the redevelopment of Nantes Atlantique.

On February 11, François Hollande proposes a local referendum. It will be held on the only department of Loire-Atlantique and will give, on June 26, the victory to supporters of the transfer of the airport to Notre-Dames-des-Landes (55.1% for).

In April, the European Commission classifies the dispute, initiated three years earlier, on France’s failure to comply with regulations on the environmental impacts of infrastructure projects. The administrative court of appeal of Nantes validates, it, in November, the prefectural orders – the Council of State is always seized of the recourses of the opponents.

2017-2018: the last consultations?

With the election of Emmanuel Macron in May, then the appointment of Nicolas Hulot – opponent of the airport project – at the head of the Ministry of ecological transition and solidarity, the suspense is revived. In a campaign promise, the Head of State announced that he will make a decision after having heard a final report. Three mediators are appointed on  June 1 st . Mid-December, they make their work without taking advantage of the construction of the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes according to the initial project or for the redevelopment of Nantes Atlantique. After consulting local elected officials, the Prime Minister reiterates that the decision will be announced before the end of January.




The original French below:

Notre-Dames-des-Landes : cinquante ans de batailles

Le projet de nouvel aéroport près de Nantes a suivi un très long parcours institutionnel émaillé de nombreuses confrontations sur le terrain.


Par Rémi Barroux


Le dossier Notre-Dame-des-Landes touche à sa fin. Ouvert il y a cinquante ans, il constitue le plus ancien conflit environnemental en France. L’aéroport de la discorde est devenu le symbole, pour les défenseurs de l’environnement, des « grands projets inutiles ». Cinquante ans de lutte, d’enlisement, de bataille juridique.

C’est à la fin des années 1960 que naît l’idée d’un aéroport pour le Grand Ouest, dans le cadre de la décentralisation promue par la délégation interministérielle à l’aménagement du territoire et à l’attractivité régionale. L’aéroport de Nantes Atlantique (anciennement Château-Bougon) est jugé inadapté pour accueillir les millions de passagers prévus. Il est alors question de vols transatlantiques et de faire atterrir le fleuron aéronautique national, le Concorde.

Les terres du bocage, à une vingtaine kilomètres au nord de Nantes et à quatre-vingts kilomètres au sud de Rennes, majoritairement sur la commune de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, sont désignées, en 1968, comme site préférentiel. Alors que le conseil municipal, comme ceux des bourgs voisins, vote en faveur du projet, certains agriculteurs s’opposent. « On aurait autant aimé pas », déclare un habitant de la commune dans un reportage télévisé de 1974.

Les premiers opposants créent en 1972 l’Association de défense des exploitants concernés par l’aéroport (Adeca). Une petite délégation se rend à Orly (Val-de-Marne) enregistrer des bruits d’avion et recueillir des témoignages de riverains. En janvier 1974, un arrêté préfectoral fixe la zone d’aménagement différé (ZAD) qui permet au département d’acquérir quelque 1 200 ha (la surface totale du projet étant de 1 650 ha).

Le projet d’aéroport est mis en sommeil durant une quinzaine d’années, à cause de la crise pétrolière et de l’arrivée du TGV à Nantes (1989). L’idée d’un troisième aéroport parisien est promue en 1994 et Notre-Dame-des-Landes reste dans la course. En 2000, le projet est réactivé par le gouvernement socialiste de Lionel Jospin. En octobre, un comité interministériel décide de « réaliser un nouvel aéroport, en remplacement de Nantes Atlantique, sur le site de Notre-Dame-des-Landes ».

L’apparition des plans d’exposition au bruit, interdisant ou limitant les constructions exposées au bruit des avions, contrarie la volonté du maire (PS) de Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, d’urbaniser l’île de Nantes. Ce dernier est très attaché à l’idée de disposer d’une infrastructure à l’égal des grands aéroports européens. En décembre 2000, l’Association citoyenne intercommunale des populations concernées par le projet d’aéroport (Acipa) est créée.

En 2003 se met en place la commission consultative du débat public. Trois ans plus tard, sur la base du dossier de déclaration publique (DUP), est organisée l’enquête publique. Le 9 février 2008, l’Etat signe le décret (pour dix ans) déclarant d’utilité publique la construction du nouvel aéroport.

En 2009, naît le Collectif d’élus doutant de la pertinence de l’aéroport (CéDpa). L’été de cette même année se tient sur le site visé un « camp d’action climat ». Dans la foulée, les premières occupations voient le jour et la ZAD est rebaptisée « zone à défendre ».

Les années 2010 : « zadistes » contre « légalistes »
En décembre 2010, le premier ministre François Fillon (UMP) signe le décret d’attribution de la concession à la société Vinci, pour une durée de cinquante-cinq ans, des aéroports existant de Nantes Atlantique et de Saint-Nazaire Montoir, ainsi que du futur Notre-Dame-des-Landes. L’ouverture du nouveau site est prévue en 2017. Vinci sera dans la foulée victime de nombreuses actions un peu partout en France.

De nombreux recours sont déposés par les opposants. Les procès se succèdent et la bataille juridique va durer plusieurs années. En avril 2012, deux agriculteurs, Michel Tarin et Gilles Denigot, font une grève de la faim devant la préfecture de Nantes. François Hollande assure qu’il n’y aura pas d’intervention sur la zone avant la fin de tous les recours.

Le 16 octobre 2012 au petit matin, le gouvernement de Jean-Marc Ayrault – Manuel Valls est ministre de l’intérieur – lance l’opération « César » pour évacuer la ZAD. Mais les violents affrontements conduisent le gouvernement à suspendre l’opération. Le 17 novembre, plusieurs dizaines de milliers de personnes manifestent pour réoccuper la zone. Une semaine plus tard, le premier ministre annonce la création de trois commissions (experts, dialogue et scientifiques). La commission du dialogue conclut, en avril 2013, à la validité du projet, mais remet en question les mesures de compensation prévues.

Durant l’année 2013, les occupations se multiplient et de nombreux projets agricoles voient le jour. Le 22 février, plusieurs dizaines de milliers de manifestants, appuyés par quelque 500 tracteurs, défilent dans le centre de Nantes. De violents incidents ponctuent la manifestation.

Les procès et les recours continuent de s’enchaîner. Ils sont tous perdus par les opposants au projet. En janvier 2016, le tribunal de grande instance de Nantes valide les expulsions des habitants et agriculteurs, opposants historiques. Ségolène Royal, alors ministre de l’environnement, commande une étude au Conseil général à l’environnement et au développement durable (CGEDD), qui propose, le 5 avril, deux solutions : l’aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes mais avec une seule piste sur les deux prévues, ou le réaménagement de Nantes Atlantique.

Le 11 février, François Hollande propose un référendum local. Il se tiendra sur le seul département de Loire-Atlantique et donnera, le 26 juin, la victoire aux partisans du transfert de l’aéroport vers Notre-Dames-des-Landes (55,1 % pour).

En avril, la Commission européenne classe le contentieux, engagé trois ans plus tôt, sur le non-respect par la France des réglementations sur les impacts environnementaux des projets d’infrastructure. La cour administrative d’appel de Nantes valide, elle, en novembre, les arrêtés préfectoraux – le Conseil d’Etat est toujours saisi des recours des opposants.

2017-2018 : les dernières consultations ?
Avec l’élection d’Emmanuel Macron en mai, puis la nomination de Nicolas Hulot – opposant au projet d’aéroport – à la tête du ministère de la transition écologique et solidaire, le suspense est relancé. Suivant une promesse de campagne, le chef de l’Etat annonce qu’il prendra une décision après avoir pris connaissance d’un ultime rapport. Trois médiateurs sont nommés le 1er juin. Mi-décembre, ils rendent leur travail sans prendre parti pour la construction de l’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes selon le projet initial ou pour le réaménagement de Nantes Atlantique. Après consultation des élus locaux, le premier ministre réaffirme que la décision sera annoncée avant la fin du mois de janvier.


Read more »

Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, gets home visit from carolling anti-3rd-runway campaigners

A group of residents facing the misery that would result from a 3rd Heathrow runway made a light-hearted festive protest outside the home of the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling by singing re-worded Christmas carols  -on the last night of the government Draft Airports NPS consultation. Only a couple of the campaigners knew the destination in advance so it wasn’t until leaving Harmondsworth that everyone discovered they would be singing outside Grayling’s house, his retreat from the daily grind of plotting the destruction of other people’s homes.  Grayling himself was in Parliament at the time, and no family members appeared to be at home. The protesters drank mulled wine and festive drinks, and sang their own renditions of well-known carols, with suitably altered, anti-runway, words. A Stop Heathrow Expansion spokesperson commented “Looking down the drive from the road and seeing the sprawling detached house with it’s huge Christmas tree displayed in the un-curtained front window, it is easy to see why our Secretary State has no comprehension of the misery he will inflict on others with a third runway.” And they hoped Grayling would “spare a thought for people who face another Christmas under threat and reflect on their situation.”

Grayling gets home visit from carolling campaigners

19.12.2017 (Stop Heathrow Expansion – SHE – website)

See here for lots of photos

A group of residents facing the misery that would result from a third runway made a light-hearted festive protest outside the home of the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling by singing re-worded Christmas carols on the last night of the government consultation.

Only a couple of the campaigners knew the destination in advance so it wasn’t until leaving Harmondsworth that everyone discovered they would be singing outside Grayling’s house, his retreat from the daily grind of plotting the destruction of other people’s homes.

On arrival, it was evident from the cobwebs on his entry phone that Grayling doesn’t encourage visitors. Not even the Amazon delivery driver ventured down the driveway. (Mrs Grayling, don’t forget to pick up your post.)

Not even someone looking like Santa’s helper can get a response from the Grumpy Graylings
Not even someone looking like Santa’s helper can get a response from the Grumpy Graylings

Looking down the drive from the road and seeing the sprawling detached house with it’s huge Christmas tree displayed in the uncurtained front window, it is easy to see why our Secretary State has no comprehension of the misery he will inflict on others with a third runway.

At one point, there was the sound of a solitary aircraft flying thousands of feet in the sky above. It demonstrated how hard it is to totally escape aircraft noise if you live anywhere near London, but it also makes you wonder if Grayling assumes this is anything like the reality of 24/7 airport noise.

Heathrow has regular flights when people are trying to sleep (an activity that won’t be banned with R3); HGV vehicles use and abuse local roads throughout the night; engine testing can take place at any time – even 4am; noisy road and plant maintenance is scheduled for times convenient for travellers NOT for those living nearby.

A quick search online revealed the house was bought 17 years ago, about the same time that residents in the Heathrow Villages have been living under threat of a third runway. During that time Grayling has enjoyed the security of knowing he has a home for his family for as long as he wishes to stay there. Meanwhile, thousands of others, thanks to our government, have had their homes repeatedly threatened with destruction or feared an increase in aircraft numbers and noise.

Long-time campaigners know that not only do senior politicians, like Grayling, have no understanding of the impact on the lives of residents in those situations, they also don’t want to know. It is easier to destroy vast areas when you don’t have to confront the reality.

Should the going get tough, these politicians can just disappear from public life and go home to their safe and cosy £1.7million investment, close to outstanding schools and all the other things that people suffering near Heathrow can only dream about.

Does anyone remember Labour Secretary of Secretary for Transport Ruth Kelly? She supported a third runway and wouldn’t listen to why it was undeliverable. Before long her political career and her plans for Heathrow expansion went down the pan.

When the Graylings celebrate during the holidays, we hope they will spare a thought for people who face another Christmas under threat and reflect on their situation.

Here are some words to sing-a-long:

“Sir Howard Davies was a lie/And no way independent./Fingers in the Heathrow pie/And property development./No-ooooo-oooooo-oooooo/ Ifs and buts,/There will be no third runway. ”

“Theresa May she gave us hope,/And shared our celebration./Five minutes into Number 10,/She U-turned on the nation./No-ooooo-oooooo-oooooo Ifs and Buts, /THERE WILL BE NO THIRD RUNWAY.”

Merry Christmas to everyone opposing “the catastrophic environmental consequences of a 3rd runway at Heathrow..” (quote from tweet by Adam Afriyie MP, Windsor)


Alternative words to the tune of “Ding Dong Merrily on High”

Alternative words to the tune of “Silent Night”


Heathrow expansion protesters sing carols to Chris Grayling

The campaigners sang adapted carols outside the Transport Secretary's house.

The campaigners sang adapted carols outside the Transport Secretary’s house.

Anti-Heathrow expansion campaigners made a light-hearted festive protest outside Chris Grayling’s house before Christmas.

The group visited the Transport Secretary on the last night of the government consultation, singing re-worded carols.

One such adaption went (to the tune of Ding-Dong Merrily on High): “Sir Howard Davies [Airports Commission] was a lie/And no way independent/Fingers in the Heathrow pie/And property development/No-ooooo-oooooo-oooooo/ Ifs and buts/There will be no third runway.”

Only a couple of the campaigners knew the destination in advance, so to most of them it was a surprise to sing outside Mr Grayling’s house.

Neil Keveren, resident near Heathrow who attended the carol singing, said: “This was a fun event but with a very serious point.

“Mr. Grayling has the security of knowing he has a home for his family for this Christmas and as long as he wishes to stay there. Meanwhile, thousands of others, thanks to his Government, have had their homes threatened with destruction or feared an increase to the cap of 480,000 flights a year.”


Festive protesters sing carols outside Transport Secretary’s house over flight path fears

The Residents Against Aircraft Noise protesters outside Chris Grayling's house

The Residents Against Aircraft Noise protesters outside Chris Grayling’s house

A GROUP of Christmas themed protestors who fear hundreds of planes could soon fly over Ascot picketed the Transport Secretary’s house.

On Tuesday a second consultation into flight paths and noise pollution from Heathrow Airport finished.

In celebration, the Ascot based Residents Against Aircraft Noise travelled to Chris Grayling’s house in Ashstead to sing anti-third runway ballads, eat mince pies and generally be merry.

Although flight paths from the third runway have not been confirmed, indicative patterns suggest it could send planes over Ascot, Sunningdale and Sunninghill.

“There are two indicative flight paths that could go over Ascot. If they are chosen there are going to be several hundred aircraft flying overhead everyday.

“It is going to massively increase. People’s lives could shift in a paradigm way.”

It is thought the third runway at Heathrow will be completed by late 2025.

In the end Mr Grayling did not return to his home in time to meet the protesters, who left leaflets and banners on his gate.

Read more »

Mediators on the proposed new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes submit report to government – a decision in January perhaps?

On 13th December the French government got the report from the three mediators, who are looking into the proposed project to build an airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL), north of Nantes. President Emmanuel Macron had announced that he would take a decision in January on this complex issue. The mediators had heard evidence both for and against the construction of a new airport on a site currently occupied by the project’s opponents or the extension of the runways at the existing Nantes-Atlantiques airport. The mediators point out that both have disadvantages and there is no “perfect solution”. Building a new airport would mean more urban sprawl and damage and destruction of an environmentally sensitive site, as the protesters and farmers who have occupied the site since 2009 have continued to point out. The main argument in favour of the new NDDL airport is increased noise for those under flight paths of the existing airport. The new airport would probably cost the French taxpayer up to €920 million, and extending runways at the existing airport might cost €545 million. At the NDDL site there are 650 hectares of farms, whose owners refuse to give up their land. In addition, the place is a wetland, home to a large number of protected species. Some of the facts and arguments are set out in these articles.


France to decide on controversial Nantes airport plan following mediators’ report

By Tony Cross  (RFI English)


A mediators’ report on a controversial plan to build a new airport in western France has refused to come down on either side, leaving the ball in the government’s court. President Emmanuel Macron has promised a final decision on the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project in January at the latest.

The mediators declare both alternatives – the construction of a new airport on a site currently occupied by the project’s opponents or the extension of the runways at the already-existing Nantes-Atlantiques airport – “reasonable options” in a report submitted to the government on Wednesday.

But they both have disadvantages and there is no “perfect solution”, they point out.

Building a new airport would mean more urban sprawl and damage an environmentally sensitive site, as the protesters and farmers who have occupied the site since 2009 point out, the report concludes.

It would also cost 730 million euros, compared to between 365 million and 460 million euros for the extension, the mediators estimate, although compensation for the cancellation of contracts with the BTP Vinci group are not included in the latter figure.

But the mediators also concede that extending the Nantes-Atlantiques airport runway would mean “significant” noise pollution for residents of the surrounding areas and call for an “urgent” revision of the present anti-noise measures.

Five million passengers pass through Nantes-Atlantiques every year at the moment and the figure is expected to rise to nine million by 2040.

Opposition predicts “capitulation”

On receiving the report, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe promised a “clear decision”, which would mean a “return to normal” so far as public order is concerned, before the end of January.

His words echoed a similar pledge by Macron in an interview with Le Monde newspaper published on Tuesday.

Even before a decision has been announced, members of the right-wing opposition Republicans were predicting an “unprecedented capitulation” to the protesters.

“Who makes the decisions in France?” Republicans spokesman Guillaume Peltier asked on Cnews TV. “Two-hundred zadistes [site-occupying] activists? The law of the strongest? Anarchy? The rule of law and the authority of the republic?”

He called for the site to be evacuated, by the armed forces if necessary.

Peltier also cast doubts on the objectivity of the report, pointing out that two of the three mediators are close to Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot, a veteran green campaigner.

Long battle in courts and on ground

Five legal cases have been filed against the project and supporters of a new airport have promised to take up the legal cudgels if the government decides against them.

They also point to a local referendum, held in 2016, which showed 55 percent of those voting in favour of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes plan.

Green party member Cécile Duflot, who was housing minister in the previous government, on Wednesday claimed that then-president François Hollande told her the Notre Dames des Landes plan was “not a good idea” but that there was a “problem with Jean-Marc”.

That was a reference to his prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, a former mayor of Nantes who was a fervent advocate of building a new airport.

Ayrault was still defending the idea on Wednesday, insisting that, although it was first mooted in 1970, “This is not a project from the past”.



Aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes : les conclusions des médiateurs

le 15 12 2017

Le 13 décembre 2017, le rapport de la “Mission de médiation relative au projet d’aéroport du Grand Ouest” a été remis au Gouvernement. Il évalue deux solutions : la construction d’un nouvel aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes et le réaménagement de l’aéroport Nantes Atlantique. Dans un entretien au journal “Le Monde” la veille, Emmanuel Macron a assuré que la décision serait prise “au plus tard en janvier”.

Construire un nouvel aéroport ou réaménager celui qui existe ?

Le rapport des médiateurs rappelle la nécessité d’une plateforme aéroportuaire du Grand Ouest capable de supporter le passage de 9 millions de passagers par an à l’horizon 2040. Les médiateurs présentent une estimation des coûts financiers et écologiques des deux options. Les options en présence sont toutes les deux “raisonnablement envisageables”. Mais les analyses par critère confirment l’absence de solution parfaite.

  • Le coût réel d’un réaménagement de l’aéroport Nantes Atlantique, “beaucoup moins étudiée jusqu’ici”, est estimé entre 415 et 545 millions d’euros, hors prise en compte d’une éventuelle indemnisation à verser au titulaire du contrat de concession. Le projet de construction de Notre-Dame-des-Landes est estimé à 740 millions d’euros.
  • L’augmentation du trafic à Nantes Atlantique “serait sans effet significatif dommageable” sur le site remarquable du lac de Grand Lieu, mais laisse subsister des nuisances sonores significatives. Le projet de Notre-Dame-des-Landes écarte des zones urbanisées les nuisances aéroportuaires, mais accroît significativement l’artificialisation des espaces agricoles et naturels ainsi que l’étalement urbain.
  • S’agissant du bilan carbone, le rapport met en évidence un léger avantage à Nantes Atlantique, de près de 200 kilotonnes par CO2 sur 20 ans d’exploitation.

La mission, sans privilégier l’une ou l’autre option, souligne la nécessité d’une décision de l’État. Celle-ci devra être accompagnée d’un projet collectif de territoire porté par l’État, les collectivités et tous les acteurs socioéconomiques.

En l’absence de travaux, au 10 février 2018, la déclaration d’utilité publique du projet sera considérée caduque, à moins que l’État ne décide auparavant de la prolonger.

Un dossier de plus de 50 ans

Commencée en 1965, la recherche d’un “nouveau site aéronautique pour les régions Bretagne et Pays-de-la-Loire” conduit au choix de Notre-Dame-des-Landes. En 1974, une zone d’aménagement différé (ZAD) de 1 225 hectares est créée autour du site avant que le projet ne soit mis en sommeil.

A la suite du décret de février 2008 déclarant le nouvel aéroport d’utilité publique, la société Vinci remporte l’appel d’offres en décembre 2010 pour la conception, le financement, la construction et l’exploitation du futur aéroport pour une période de 55 ans.

Le 26 juin 2016, lors d’une consultation locale organisée à la demande du président François Hollande, les électeurs de Loire-Atlantique votent en faveur de la construction du nouvel aéroport, à plus de 55% des voix.

Sur la toile publique



In English:

Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport: the conclusions of the mediators

15 12 2017 (Vie Publique France)

On December 13, 2017, the report of the “Mediation Mission for the Greater West Airport Project” was submitted to the Government . It evaluates two solutions: the construction of a new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes and the redevelopment of the Nantes Atlantique airport. In an interview with the newspaper “Le Monde” the day before, Emmanuel Macron assured that the decision would be taken “at the latest in January”.

Build a new airport or redevelop the existing one?

The report of the mediators recalls the need for a West-West airport platform capable of supporting the passage of 9 million passengers per year by 2040. The mediators present an estimate of the financial and ecological costs of the two options. The options involved are both “reasonably conceivable”. But criterion analyzes confirm the absence of a perfect solution.

The real cost of a redevelopment of the Nantes Atlantique airport, “much less studied so far”, is estimated between 415 and 545 million euros, excluding any compensation to be paid to the contract holder. concession. The construction project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes is estimated at 740 million euros.

The increase in traffic at Nantes Atlantique “would have no significant harmful effect” on the remarkable site of Grand Lieu Lake, but leaves significant noise nuisance. The Notre-Dame-des-Landes project dismisses airport nuisances from urbanized areas, but significantly increases the artificialisation of agricultural and natural spaces as well as urban sprawl.
Regarding the carbon footprint, the report shows a slight advantage in Nantes Atlantique, of nearly 200 kilotonnes per CO2 over 20 years of operation.

The mission, without favoring one or the other option, emphasizes the need for a state decision. This will have to be accompanied by a collective project of territory carried by the State, the communities and all the socioeconomic actors.

In the absence of works, as of February 10, 2018, the declaration of public utility of the project will be considered null and void, unless the State decides before to prolong it.

A record of more than 50 years

Begun in 1965, the search for a “new aeronautical site for the Brittany and Pays-de-la-Loire regions” led to the choice of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. In 1974, a 1,225 hectare deferred development zone (ZAD) was created around the site before the project was put to sleep.

Following the decree of February 2008 declaring the new airport of public utility, the company Vinci won the tender in December 2010 for the design, financing, construction and operation of the future airport for a period of 55 years.

On June 26, 2016, during a local consultation organized at the request of President François Hollande, the voters of Loire-Atlantique vote in favor of the construction of the new airport, with more than 55% of the votes.



Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport: the numbers that annoy

A mediation report on a project launched more than fifty years ago is given Wednesday to the government.

By Anne-Aël Durand

The government must receive , Wednesday, December 13, the report of the three mediators responsible for “overhaul” the project to build an airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes , north of Nantes . Emmanuel Macron had announced that he would take a decision in January on this complex issue, which we tried to summarize the issues in figures.

 Read also:   Notre-Dame-des-Landes: Emmanuel Macron at the time of choice


This is the number of years that have elapsed since a “deferred development zone” (ZAD) was created in 1974 around Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a rural commune some twenty kilometers to the north from Nantes. The project of setting up an airport in the western part emerged in the 1960s. But in the face of strong local opposition, the project was finally put to sleep.

In 2000, the Jospin government relaunched the debate on this airport project, not without reviving the disputes. The declaration of public utility is nevertheless voted in 2008. It is theoretically due on February 9, 2018.

Read also:   Notre-Dame-des-Landes: the story of “the oldest fight in France” in 6 acts


This is the record observed between January and November 2017 at the Nantes-Atlantique airport, whose traffic is rising sharply (+ 14% in one year). The aim of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes (NDDL) project is to relieve the current infrastructure located in the south-west of the city. According to the first elements of the mediators’ report, unveiled by Ouest-France , traffic in Nantes is expected to exceed 9 million passengers by 2040.


This is the threshold beyond which a noise prevention plan in the environment must betriggered . It has been achieved, say the elected officials of the coastal communities of Nantes-Atlantique, who advance the noise nuisance as the main argument in favor of the relocation of the airport and require, at a minimum, to prohibit the night flights.

Read also:   Elected officials make the noise file an argument in favor of Notre-Dame-des-Landes

image: corridor of the Nantes-Atlantique airport.

The current airport has only one 2.9 km runway and is located in an urban area. Notre-Dame-des-Landes would have two tracks, which his supporters consider a real progress. But during the review of the file, reflections were conducted to extend the current track of Nantes-Atlantique or build a second track perpendicular to the first. A previous report estimated that the NDDL project was oversized, and could itself be content with a single track.


These are two estimates, almost doubling, of the cost of the NDDL airport. The builder, Vinci, assured in 2010 that the airport would cost 561 million euros, of which only 43% at the expense of the state and local authorities. Very underestimated, according to the opponents, who, by adding the tram-train and the feeder roads, reach a slate of at least 920 million euros , most of which would then be financed by public funds. A different 2011 study is even more pessimistic.


Difficult to quantify precisely the redevelopment of Nantes-Atlantique. In 2013, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) referred to a closure of the runway for three to six months and a total bill of 825 million euros. The mediation report on Wednesday seems much less pessimistic, and puts a range between 415 million and 545 million euros, and a shorter closing time.


Other unknown file: what will be the amount of compensation to be paid to Airport Grand Ouest, a subsidiary of Vinci Airports? No official figure is confirmed. Estimates range between 200 million and 350 million euros. Overvalued, according to opponents, who speak instead of 150 million euros.

 Read also:   Notre-Dame-des-Landes: abandonment of the project could cost more than 200 million euros to the state


This is the land takeover of the Greater West Airport (AGO) project, even though the airport itself only covers 500 hectares. If the state owns most of it, there are 650 hectares of farms, whose owners refuse to give up their land. In addition, the place is a wetland, where a hundred protected species live. Ecological offsets are planned for … four of them.


This is the approximate number of activists who live in cabins or squatted farms in the ZAD airport they renamed “area to defend . ” Some have been present since 2009. A police evacuation to dislodge them , the operation “Caesar”, failed in 2012.

Read also:   In Notre-Dame-des-Landes, the footprint of the zadistes

700 OR 3,000 JOBS?

Difficult to quantify the direct and indirect economic benefits of the airport. The construction site of the airport should generate at least 700 jobs. But opponents point out that 200 farmers would lose their business. The supporters of the project , on the contrary, believe that the operation of the site would create 3000 jobs, without counting the project to implement a research institute at the current site of Nantes Atlantique.


Read also:   The mission of “mediation” on Notre-Dame-des-Landes irritates the supporters of the project

The voters of Loire-Atlantique voted in June 2016 for the transfer of the airport in a local referendum. According to a poll conducted at the end of November 2017 by the IFOP for the Airport Joint Trade Union, 76% of those interviewed want “the public authorities to follow and apply the will of the citizens”. The very fact of having launched a mediation mission shows that the new government is hesitant on the issue.

Original article in French at







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Anti 3rd runway campaign puts on “Bare necessities” display at Theresa May’s Maidenhead festival

Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE), a local campaign group made up of residents opposing the plans for a 3rd Heathrow runway, attended the Maidenhead Festival 22 and 23 July. They had a fun but serious message – fighting for the ‘bare necessities’ that Heathrow expansion would threaten. The theme of the need for “the bare necessities of life” took centre stage at the group’s pitch to local residents at the annual festival, with essentials including: – the right to a settled home,  – air free from pollution,  – good health,  – quiet time for essential rest,  – a planet safe from climate change.   SHE believes all these would be put at risk with a 3rd runway, and to get the message across, three members wore distinctive bear costumes for the day – to highlight the ‘bare necessities’ theme.  The extra 260,000 planes per year that would use an expanded Heathrow would serious noise problems for tens  of thousands in the area, worse air pollution, and huge strain on local housing caused by the displacement of the two villages of Harmondsworth and Longford nearby. The negative impacts on her constituency should be a matter of concern to Theresa May, its MP. The previously opposed the runway, but is now prepared to sacrifice her residents’ quality of life, for the slightly desperate attempt by this weakened government to show “Britain is open for business” post-Brexit, by backing a highly dubious, costly, damaging, runway project.




Stop Heathrow Expansion, a local campaign group made up of residents opposing the plans for a third runway at Heathrow, attended the Maidenhead Festival at Kidwells Park, on 22 and 23 July with a fun but serious message – fighting for the ‘bare necessities’ that Heathrow expansion would threaten.

The next generation wants to know why they’re forced to breathe polluted air

The theme of the need for “the bare necessities of life” took centre stage at the group’s pitch to local residents at the annual festival, with essentials including:

  • the right to a settled home,
  • air free from pollution,
  • good health,
  • quiet time for essential rest
  • a planet safe from climate change.

The group believes all these would be put at risk with a third runway at Heathrow and to get the message across three members adopted distinctive bear costumes for the day to highlight the ‘bare necessities’ theme. The bears gave out leaflets to locals attending the festival as well as campaign badges to younger attendees.

Just a normal day at the Maidenhead Festival – man with a plane on his head talks to bemused bear while watching the Prime Minister schmoozing the locals (yes that’s her by the pink tent)

Rob Barnstone, Campaign Coordinator, Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “Heathrow expansion would threaten the ‘bare necessities’ of life – 260,000 extra planes per year would mean peace would be in peril, dirtier air would be lurking in the lungs of local people as well as the strain on local housing caused by the displacement of the two villages of Harmondsworth and Longford nearby.”

Paul Groves, Maidenhead resident and representative of Residents Against Aircraft Noise (RAAN), said: “Maidenhead residents will not benefit from a third runway. We were pleased to join Stop Heathrow Expansion today to highlight this very strong case to local residents, something in which our MP used to understand.”


Maidenhead issues highlighted at festival

Residents in the Prime Minister’s Maidenhead constituency have the chance this weekend to ask anti-runway campaigners at the Maidenhead Festival how Heathrow expansion will impact their area.

Stop Heathrow Expansion decided to set up a stall on Saturday and Sunday, 22nd and 23rd July, after people living in Maidenhead and the surrounding area contacted the group with questions about the proposals, which are currently supported by government. The event in Kidwells Park is free to the public and opens at 10am on Saturday and 11am on Sunday until 4pm, with additional entertainment and fireworks in the evening.

Highlighting the need to prioritise the bare necessities of life – with John McDonnell MP at the Hayes Carnival this summer.

A serious concern is the loss of Green Belt land to make way for housing. Windsor and Maidenhead are already under pressure to provide more housing but there will be further demands for new properties to be built if a third runway goes ahead. Loss of Green Belt is inevitable unless residents protest.

The Airports Commission determined that an additional 5,000 homes would be needed in each of 14 boroughs from West London to Surrey, which are not yet in any borough plan. (See letters page on this website.) These homes will be needed primarily to accommodate the people who would come into the areas around Heathrow looking for airport-related work. However, it is often forgotten that the loss of habitable homes in the villages to the north of Heathrow is likely to result in around 10,000 people being displaced. Many would want to keep close to friends, family and jobs – if they can afford to do so.

Affordable housing will certainly need to be a priority. Many of the people coming into the region will be single, who may be prepared to live in apartment blocks with minimal open space. However, provision must be made for families including creating additional school places and an expansion of health services to cope with the increased demand. The taxpayer will foot the bill.

The taxpayer also has to pay for improvements to transport infrastructure. Adding 260,000 flights and expanding Heathrow’s cargo operation will put a strain on roads and public transport. Dealing with that is likely to cost around £17 billion but Heathrow is only expecting to pay just over £1 billion and Heathrow doesn’t see dealing with the consequences of a third runway as its problem.

There a many hidden costs – not all financial.

Link to video of the dancing bears, to the music of “The Bear Necessities” of life


Find out more now, before it is too late.







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