Motion to Liverpool City Council says its funding of the airport is not consistent with its climate aims
In a motion to the Labour-led Liverpool City Council, Green member Anna Key said supporting Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) was not in line with the authority’s climate emergency declaration in 2019. For the Liverpool council to keep funding the city’s airport is “incompatible” with its effort to fight climate change, and become “carbon neutral” by 2030. The motion will go before a full council meeting on 26 January. Liverpool City Council has a 10% stake in the airport. Anna also called for opposition to LJLA’s “potential future expansion” plans. The plans for expansion would mean an increased number of flights, as well as destruction of valuable green space adjacent to the airport. There would also be more passenger and freight road traffic, causing air pollution and carbon emissions. Anna Kay said the council should stop supporting the airport financially. Her motion also calls on the council to get planners to undertake an urgent evidence-based review of all policies relating to green space, environment and green belt. There is a 38 Degrees petition to two councils, to protect the Oglet shore area from airport development.
Liverpool Council funding airport at odds with climate aims, councillor says
Liverpool’s council must stop funding the city’s airport because doing so is “incompatible” with its effort to fight climate change, a councillor has said.
In a motion to the Labour-led council, Green member Anna Key said supporting Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) was not in line with the authority’s climate emergency declaration in 2019.
She also called for opposition to LJLA’s “potential future expansion”.
An airport spokesman said it had its own plans to be carbon neutral by 2040. [Joke !]
Liverpool City Council said it had a 10% stake in LJLA.
The Local Democracy Reporting Service said that in her motion, St Michael’s ward councillor Ms Key stated that since 2019 the authority had “begun to develop policies which seek to address the negative impacts of climate change on the city” and aimed to be carbon neutral by 2030.
She said LJLA’s plan to expand its business by 2050 included a number of “consequences”, such as an increased number of flights, reduced green space and a new road to carry freight and passenger traffic, which were “incompatible with these aims and should be opposed”.
As a result, Ms Key said councillors should request that Mayor Joanne Anderson and the cabinet “remove all financial support” from LJLA and set out “the council’s opposition to its masterplan, which sets out the proposals for potential future expansion”.
The motion also calls on the council to get planners to “undertake an urgent evidence-based review of all policies relating to green space and the environment... to ensure sufficient policy protections for green belt land are set”.
The motion will go before a full council meeting on 26 January.
An LJLA spokesman has previously said that while the timescale for its expansion plans were “likely to slip” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, they remained “valid”.
He said the airport “naturally recognises its wider environmental responsibilities” and had its own plans to reach net carbon zero by 2040, which include the installation of a solar farm to generate about a quarter of LJLA’s annual energy needs. [When airports talk about becoming carbon neutral, they conveniently ignore the flights that their airport facilitates. Those flights make up maybe 90% or more of the airport’s carbon – so ignoring them means the airport’s protestations about being net zero carbon are almost meaningless. AW comment]
The airport was also “working with airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers and others” to create “a roadmap for the wider aviation industry to be carbon neutral by 2050”, he added. [That means almost nothing. AW comment]
Call for John Lennon Airport to lose council funding
Concerns raised over environmental impact of possible expansion
19.1.2022 (Liverpool echo)
A call has been made for Liverpool Council to strip funding from Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
In a motion to go before the city’s full council next week, members will be asked to consider backing a plan to ask Mayor Joanne Anderson and her cabinet to cease the authority’s financial support for Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA).
The motion, put forward by Green Cllr Anna Key to be debated on Wednesday, makes reference to LJLA’s Airport Master Plan to expand the business by 2050.
Cllr Key’s motion states that the plan includes a number of “consequences” including a larger footprint for airport buildings and related infrastructure including an enlarged car park and a potential runway extension; increased number of flights; reduced green space, including the removal of the Green Belt status of land adjacent to the airport, and a major new road to carry freight and passenger traffic.
The St Michaels ward member’s motion calls on councillors to note that the authority has developed policies addressing the “negative impact on climate change on the city” since declaring a climate emergency in 2019 and should oppose developments that “make climate change worse and reduce biodiversity and wildlife habitats.”
The proposals states that the Liverpool Net Zero Carbon 2030 plan includes the council’s ambition to become carbon neutral by 2030.
It adds: “An enlarged airport with associated road building and removal of Green Belt status from a substantial amount of adjacent land is incompatible with these aims and should be opposed.”
The motion calls on councillors to back a plan to request Mayor Anderson and the cabinet to “remove all financial support from JLA” and write to representatives at the airport setting out “the council’s opposition to its Masterplan which sets out the proposals for potential future expansion.”
The Green member also requests that the council’s executive instructs the local planning authority to undertake an urgent evidence based review of all policies relating to green space and the environment in order to ensure sufficient policy protections for Greenbelt land are in place, as well as an evidence-based review of all council policies and plans relating to greenspace and the environment in order to ensure sufficient policy protections for Green Belt land are set.
An LJLA spokesman previously told the ECHO that the timescale for plans for expanding where “likely to slip” as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, remained “valid.”
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The spokesperson added that JLA says it ‘naturally recognises its wider environmental responsibilities’ and says it has its own plans to reach net carbon zero by 2040.
This includes the potential for on site renewable energy generation through the installation of a solar farm to decarbonise the airport’s energy usage.
The spokesperson added: “The Airport is also a signatory to ‘Sustainable Aviation’, working with airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers and others in the aviation industry with a roadmap for the wider aviation industry to be carbon neutral by 2050.”
38 Degrees Petition
To: Liverpool and Halton Councils
Save Oglet Shore & GreenBelt – No to Liverpool Airport Expansion
Liverpool John Lennon Airport have published their Masterplan for the greenbelt land around their site. The Airport only received 190 responses and 138 people answered their very biased questionnaire.
Our petition is asking both local councils to:
* Oppose the expansion of Liverpool airport
* Stop the closure of Dungeon Lane and Ashton’s Lane
* Retain the shore as a recreational resource
* Protect, preserve and retain access to historic elements ie Yew Tree Farm, Oglet Farm and the Dungeon Salt Works and Quay
* Retain existing greenbelt land under both councils
* Preserve the existing wildlife habitats
Why is this important?
The Oglet Shore, (Anglo Saxon, “oak by the water”) runs North West from Dungeon Lane, up to the Airport light gantry and almost to the bund or earth mound that separates Speke Hall from the runway.
It is an SSSI, SPA and Ramsar site of international importance for the wetland birds that live there. The fields that lie between the airport runway and the shore are designated Greenbelt and grade one agricultural land and maybe the last truly rural area in Liverpool.
Yet this beautiful area, with its woods, ponds and streams, home to bats, owls and many Red list, endangered farmland birds, and a vital habitat in an increasingly built up area, is due to disappear under concrete if the loss making Liverpool airport development goes ahead. Many historic buildings have already been demolished and more are planned.
In an area where open land is being rapidly being sold for housing, there are decreasing numbers of places for the community to relax and enjoy the environment.
Peel Holdings who own the airport land, have proposed relocating habitats, but with the planned construction of 10,700 new houses between Halebank and Speke, it is difficult to see where this would be.
Liverpool Council have pledged to protect our parks and green spaces and also have duty to protect and preserve this important coastal habitat, so why threaten it in the vain hope the airport will become profitable?
What comes next for Liverpool John Lennon Airport as expansion concerns mount
15.1.2022 (Liverpool Echo)
Special report: Where does the future of city’s airport lie as growing voices speak out against expansion plans
For pretty much everyone, the world of 2018 was very different to the one we inhabit today.
In just a few short years, so much has changed.
The pandemic has spread untold misery and grief, but it has also prompted important discussions about what kind of world we want to live in when we emerge from the crisis.
Many believe that covid has brought an opportunity to rest and change the way we live – particularly in terms of our protection of the earth and the fight against climate change.
This will involve huge lifestyle changes including the way we eat, use energy and, of course, travel.
In 2018, Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport (JLA) had just released a £100m plan for the future. Airport bosses excitedly revealed a strategy to grow passenger numbers (which had been rising rapidly already) – from 5m to 7.8m by 2030.
This plan involved extending the existing terminal building in order to handle those extra passengers – as well as extending the runway and creating new hotels, restaurants and commercial space.
A key aim would be to enable the airport to operate long-haul flights.
Expansion of the airport was seen as an absolute necessity for the wider economic development of the city and the region and for many it still will be – but have the events of the years since 2018 changed anything?
Plans to grow the airport have always been opposed by some, who are concerned about the impact on green space surrounding it.
Last year, it was confirmed via Halton Council’s local plan, that the runway extension vision would see it extended east towards the village of Hale, with around 80 acres of green belt being gobbled up in the process.
While the council itself has backed the plans, they were described as ‘nothing short of an act of vandalism’, by Hale Parish Council chair Luke Trevaskis.
And he is not the only one to object to the potential impact any expansion may have on the surrounding area.
Campaign groups like Save Oglet Shore have long been concerned that any growth of the airport may cause damage to the picturesque and nature-filled places that lie close by.
The Oglet Shore runs North West from Dungeon Lane, up to the Airport light gantry and almost to the earth mound that separates Speke Hall from the runway.
It is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and regarded as a site of international importance for the wetland birds that live there.
The Oglet Shore is also a popular walking spot and was known to be a favoured childhood setting of Beatles legend Sir Paul McCartney.
The fields that lie between the airport runway and the shore are designated Greenbelt and grade one agricultural land that campaigners say could be the last truly rural area in Liverpool.
The Save Oglet Shore group says that the airport expansion plans will see ‘this beautiful area, with its woods, ponds and streams, home to bats, owls and many Red list, endangered farmland birds disappear under concrete.”
For its part, the airport, which is owned by Peel, says its plans will put a key focus on protecting areas around the Oglet Shore.
A spokesperson said: “Within our plans, we put a particular focus on the measures that would be put in place to protect the areas around the Oglet Shore, with proposals within the Oglet area for a 50 hectare coastal reserve, with the potential for a Visitor Centre and the creation and management of habitats to maintain and improve the Estuary’s ecological and ornithological value, making the area more accessible and appealing to visitors than it is today.”
But the pressure being potentially placed on the airport and its long term vision is now extending beyond local environmental campaign groups.
When Liverpool Council meets for its first full meeting of the year later this month, the council’s opposition leader, Cllr Richard Kemp intends to begin a discussion on whether the airport should ever expand.
Ahead of that debate, Cllr Kemp told the ECHO: “There are three very clear reasons why John Lennon Airport is unlikely ever to expand:
“Brexit has made travel to continental Europe, and further, more expensive and bureaucratic.
“Covid has changed people’s desire to travel through packed airports and into crowded planes in the way that we once did.
“The environmental crisis means that the Government has started to limit flight expansion.
“We now need to recognise this fact and ensure that Oglet Shore and that whole area can make a valuable contribution to the environmental aims of both Liverpool and Halton councils.
“Irrespective of the land zoning in the local plan, the councils can take effective action now to ensure the development of a rewilded ecological area which will encourage a diversity of wildlife and provide recreational activities for our residents.”
This intervention will be warmly welcomed by green groups, who have also been buoyed by the city council’s Net Zero Carbon 2030 plan – which is also set to be ratified at the meeting in late January.
In the opening statement of that plan, the city council’s cabinet member for transport, Cllr Dan Barrington identifies the need to reduce air pollution and highlights ‘the importance of addressing emissions’ from transport.
He adds: “This includes emissions from waterborne navigation, rail, aviation, on-road, and off-road transport.”
For Stephanie Thompson – who represents Merseyside Greenpeace and Liverpool Friends of the Earth – these statements must come with a commitment not to expand the airport.
She said: “An increase in airport traffic – flights and associated road transport, would result in greater global CO2 emissions – a clear contravention of Liverpool’s Net Zero Carbon aims.
“It will seriously damage the health and wellbeing of communities with resultant evidence affecting the reputation of Liverpool Council.
“Younger generations in particular have a rapidly growing consciousness, concerns and activism about the effects of environmental change at both local and global levels. Those generations will become a significant proportion of future electorates.”
So, what does the airport have to say about all this – and where does its expansion visit lie after this transformative and difficult few years?
JLA, like all airports, has suffered during the pandemic, but there is a firm belief that ‘air travel will continue to recover,’ although it is accepted that it may be a few years before numbers return to pre-covid levels.
A spokesperson said: “Here at Liverpool our airline partners are already planning for a busier summer as they are at all UK airports.
“Brexit appears to have had little impact on demand or passenger processing and we are pleased to see that air fares remain as competitive as ever.
“What passengers continue to love about flying from here both prior to and during the pandemic is the Faster Easier Friendlier passenger experience, with plenty of space for them to relax and socially distance if necessary before their flight and these are benefits that will be maintained as we hopefully continue to grow and expand in the years ahead.
“Whilst the timescales for any physical expansion plans for the airport are now likely to slip because of the pandemic and the subsequent recovery period, we still believe the plans we consulted on and published previously remain valid.”
So what about those thorny questions about climate change and the environmental impact of any future expansion?
JLA says it ‘naturally recognises its wider environmental responsibilities’ and says it has its own plans to reach net carbon zero by 2040.
This includes the potential for on site renewable energy generation through the installation of a solar farm to decarbonise the airport’s energy usage.
A spokesperson added: “The Airport is also a signatory to ‘Sustainable Aviation’, working with airlines, aircraft and engine manufacturers and others in the aviation industry with a roadmap for the wider aviation industry to be carbon neutral by 2050.
“It is of course important to also recognise that the airport brings significant economic benefits to the city region – just next week we are holding a recruitment day with vacancies for over 200 jobs on site at the airport for local people.
“Not forgetting the airport’s strategic importance for the city in helping to support and develop the visitor economy too, as a gateway for visitors from across Europe and soon worldwide following the recent commitment by Lufthansa with their new service to their global hub at Frankfurt starting in May.”