“Grow Heathrow” squatters in Sipson pledge ‘peaceful’ resistance to bailiffs, due to evict them

The remarkable “Grow Heathrow”squatter community, occupying land near Heathrow in protest at the airport’s expansion, are expected to be evicted by bailiffs today – or soon.   They say they will “peacefully” resist, but a range of non-violent means, including digging tunnels and locking themselves onto items. Grow Heathrow, which includes some 15 families, moved onto a derelict site near Sipson in 2010. The privately owned land had been a wasteland, and an area for anti-social activities. Grow Heathrow cleared rubbish from the site, and created a garden, as well as being as self sufficient in food as possible. They also ran creative and artistic workshops, and a positive and productive community. However, the land owner wants the land back, perhaps for sale to Heathrow airport (their 3rd runway plans would make most of Sipson impossible to live in).  Many local people in Sipson have been delighted to have Grow Heathrow as neighbours, rather than a derelict site. The local MP, John McDonnell said he “wholeheartedly” supported the activists. “These are people who not only helped us fight off the third runway, they’ve actually occupied a site which would have been the sixth terminal for the expanded Heathrow Airport.”



Grow Heathrow squatters pledge ‘peaceful’ resistance to bailiffs

Grow Heathrow eviction campaignMembers of Grow Heathrow have been on the site since 2010

Squatters occupying land near Heathrow in protest at the airport’s expansion say they will “peacefully” resist bailiffs.

About 15 families moved onto a derelict site near Sipson in 2010, creating a garden they call Grow Heathrow.

The land is privately owned and after a lengthy legal battle, the High Court ruled in favour of the owner and ordered the protesters to leave.

The protesters were due to be evicted on Friday morning.

Paddy Reynolds, a member of Grow Heathrow, said: “We plan to peacefully meet them with a barricade of music and dancing and singing.

“If they were to get past that and go inside the actual site, they’d find there’s lots of people there prepared to not very easily be moved from the site, in a very peaceful way.”

BBC London 94.9’s reporter Richard Main, who is at the scene, said the owner of the site, Imran Malik, had entered and left the site after taking a letter from local Labour MP John McDonnell.

‘Sympathetic’ treatment

The MP for Hayes and Harlington has been trying to arrange for the protesters either to buy or rent the land.

Eddy Charles, who has been a resident at the site for one year, said: “The owner and the bailiffs have arrived but I can’t imagine they will do anything today now.

“We are not feeling nervous any more. It’s been warming to see such great numbers turn up and try and protect this space. I think everyone is feeling very upbeat and empowered.”

Earlier protesters had locked the gates and barricaded themselves in, before later opening them.

The local authority, Hillingdon Council, is opposed to the airport’s expansion, but its deputy leader David Simmonds said he could not condone any illegal action.

“We’d like to see them treated sympathetically, and we’ve been very grateful for the support that they’ve provided in that local campaign which has helped in the recent past to persuade the government that expansion shouldn’t go ahead,” he said.

Mr McDonnell said he “wholeheartedly” supported them.

“These are people who not only helped us fight off the third runway, they’ve actually occupied a site which would have been the sixth terminal for the expanded Heathrow Airport.

“They’ve helped us not just in that campaign, but they’ve become part of the community and they’ve turned what was a derelict site into a real community asset and they’re at the heart of our community.”




Grow Heathrow squatters ready to ‘resist’ eviction

Grow Heathrow eviction campaignThe Grow Heathrow campaign has received world-wide support since it started in 2010

After transforming a derelict plot of land into a community market garden in a bid to prevent a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport, a group of squatters are set to be evicted.

Having made Vineries Close in Sipson their home since 2010 they are not prepared to give up their self-built homes easily and have offered their supporters workshops and coaching lessons in how to defend the land.

There is fighting talk from the group of squatters who, under the name of Grow Heathrow, have occupied a slice of greenbelt land in west London for the past four years, seducing their supporters with a post on their website, offering up nature’s rewards.

“If Grow Heathrow hasn’t been evicted, we’re going to bottle loads of blackberries. Bring clean empty jars and you will earn respect, win honour and know true righteousness. If we have been evicted, we’ll just go and eat blackberries.”

The 15 full-time activists and their hundreds of supporters have cleared the site of 30 tonnes of rubbish and created a self-sufficient community, all in defiance of a third runway being built at Heathrow.

Grow HeathrowFrom a wasteland full of rubbish, the residents and volunteers have created a luscious garden

Behind the “doors” they care for the land, building homes from trees, selling produce in the local shop and offering workshops on subjects from bike maintenance to foraging, for anyone who wishes to join them.

The group wanted to create a “place of resistance” for Sipson residents who had seen “the heart ripped out of the community” with the buy-up of land and property by the airport in anticipation of a new runway.

But while Sipson properties may have been spared under new plans, which would see a potential runway built further west than originally proposed, the Grow Heathrow protest site still lies in its path.

The land is owned by businessman Imran Malik and although the activists have garnered support from local residents, MPs and even a judge, they have been told that despite the commendable work it is time to hand the land back to its rightful owner.

Last year Mr Malik, represented by Burch Phillips & Co Solicitors, secured a ruling to evict them, a decision that was upheld during a challenge by the activists at the Court of Appeal in July.

The result means the bailiffs are due to arrive later.

The squatters cleared 30 tonnes of rubbish from the site when they moved inVolunteers estimated that 30 tonnes of rubbish was initially cleared from the site

Georgia Woods, 21, who moved to the site when she was 18, said: “It’s very hard not knowing what’s going to happen and for the incredible space to be threatened.”

The squatters moved onto the site in March 2010 but it is not just a point they wanted to make, it was also about trying to save homes and livelihoods.

Ms Woods said: “We don’t get paid but we all have to do things that make the site run, like growing food or running the free community workshops.

“With the solar panels and wind turbine we have more than enough energy for phones, lights and music. We have totally normal electricity but you learn to appreciate the weather so much more.

ForagingForaging is one of the jobs required to be undertaken by residents of the site

“It’s really understanding the power of community and a gift economy.”

Ms Woods’ home has come from the land too.

“Mine’s made out of hazel and it’s just very small and has got a little woodburner which we built,” she said.

“We’re happier and creating a lighter footprint on the world rather than causing harm to someone through our consumerist polluting lifestyle.”

Winter 2010Even in the depths of winter in 2010 the residents remained self-sufficient and living on site

Despite the idyll of living on a currency-free land, Grow Heathrow does recognise harsh reality and has been trying to buy or rent the land from Mr Malik.

The group has so far offered £50,000, which they say is “above market value” and would have been generated through a crowd-funding project.

John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has supported the squatters “from the first day” said: “We’ve been trying to get involved in some formal negotiations and asked them to get around the table, we’re quite happy as a community to rent the site.

“We’ve heard nothing back from the solicitors, but the door is always open.”

Whether or not it is right that an MP supports the squatters, Mr McDonnell said it had been a “tremendous success and a brilliant asset”.

Wind turbineA wind turbine and solar panels have been constructed to generate enough electricity for every day life

“It’s a demonstration that a small part of land can be so environmentally sustainable, it’s a shining example of what you can do through voluntary effort and what Grow Heathrow have done is turned it back to what it was, an environmental benefit for the area,” he said.

However, little consideration has been given to what happens after the bailiffs arrive.

Rob Hickley, 32, a gardener, said: “We’re not really thinking that far ahead yet, but with the relationships made over the past five years perhaps people will stay with others in the community.

“People will be made homeless as a result of this.”

Grow Heathrow eviction campaignGrow Heathrow has been running workshops and classes to prepare people for the arrival of the bailiffs

Heathrow Airport said it recognised that as well as “bringing huge advantages to the UK and the local people” a new runway would have “downsides for people living nearby”.

It said: “That is why we have rejected our previous plans for a third-runway and have put forward a new option further to the west of the airport, which strikes a better balance between the need for growth and local communities like Sipson.”

That is of little consolation to the squatters, who will be evicted regardless of where a runway could eventually be built.

Ms Woods said: “It’s been four and a half years, we had no idea it would last that long. We thought it was going to be squatted for potentially months, so it has been a success.

“Everyone’s pretty apprehensive and it’s pretty scary, but we’re not doing anything wrong, we’re doing amazing things.”

Efforts have been made to contact Mr Malik but, having recently parted company with his solicitors, he has not been located.



Related Stories


Transition Heathrow eviction day starts with a song round the piano

Local people and supporters of the Grow Heathrow campaigners have blocked the entrance to the squatted old nurseries and are awaiting the arrival of baliffs.

Local people and supporters of the Grow Heathrow campaigners have blocked the entrance to the squatted old nurseries and are awaiting the arrival of baliffs.

A piano sits the other side of the colourfully decorated fence and those inside the community are singing: “We don’t want your runway”.

Also: “Throw your vegetables in the air”, and even: “You are my sunshine.”

 In front of the gates of the former nursery in Vineries Close, Sipson, there is a smoothie stand and people making drinks with fruit and vegetables grown on in the greenhouses.

There is also a seed stand and people are quietly planting them in the ground.

The aim of the peaceful protest is to show exactly what grow Heathrow is all about, says Eddie, a resident.

TV and radio crews are milling around.

People expect bailiffs to arrive with police support. They said they would be there from 8am.



What is Grow Heathrow?

As residents prepare to resist eviction today, one squatter explained what brought him there

Oliva Howard, 15, a Sipson resident. She D-locked herself to the Grow Heathrow entrance. ‘You can’t evict an idea’, reads her sign.


There are around 15 families who live permanently in self-made homes at the community garden site in Sipson and at least 100 others who regularly work at the site.

Eddie has been a resident for a year.

He would not reveal his surname or age, but was happy to explain how he became part of the Grow Heathrow family.

He joined after hearing about it through word of mouth.

Squatters make tea and coffee on a stove in front of a ‘LOVE’ sign

“I’m now friends with them, I love the people who love here, this is my livelihood, it gives me purpose,” he said.

“A lot of people have found they take great fulfillment out of skills we promote here; growing food, bike mechanics, communal living, learning to live with other people – all those different elements.

“The whole value system of this place is our intrinsic goal of community cooperation as opposed to intrinsic goals of individualism and financial gain.”


A squatter makes smoothies using a blender powered by a bicycle


The third runway campaigners and the Grow Heathrow supporters are not isolated to one political party.

“There’s a huge political spectrum – right and left – that is against the third runway,” explained Eddie.

“It’s important that the Government and authorities don’t paint us with a brush of radical squatters or other negative stereotypes.


The Hillingdon branch of Friends of the Earth support Grow Heathrow


“This project has within it other groups which you can’t paint with that brush. For example, Hillingdon Friends of the Earth and campaign groups against the third runway such as HACAN.

“We have common ideas and motivation with them.”


28-year-old Teresa Green with her baby, Raven, Teresa is a part time resident of Grow Heathrow.


John Stewart from HACAN did a talk at the site yesterday (Thursday, August 14), explaining the successes of the campaign group so far.

“The government was unsuccessful in making the third runway happen,” said Eddie.

“John said that’s the first time the aviation industry has had such a crushing blow.

“That was a result of alliance and coalition between direct action and more formal campaign groups, plus using your civil rights to lobby and campaign where you can.

“That is visible in the demonstration here today.

“That coalition is very effective. It is politically very difficult and risky for them [the Government] to go ahead with this proposal.”

The group wants “peaceful resistance” to the eviction threat.

Sipson resident Tracy Howard, 40, and her daughter Olivia Howard, 15, D-locked themselves to the site entrance by their neck as they sang along to songs coming from the other side of the gates.


Made possible by squatting – a sign on the fence of the Grow Heathrow community garden


As of 11.30am there was no sign of police or bailiffs.

Land owner Imran Malik made a brief appearance but refused to engage in conversation with squatters or media.





“Grow Heathrow” still hanging on in Sipson – which would be wiped out by a 3rd northern runway

25.11.2013A small Transition community calling itself Grow Heathrow set up in Sipson three years ago, in order to give heart to the community, so badly damaged by the runway threat and the purchase by Heathrow airport of many properties. The Grow Heathrow site is a hub for local residents and environmental activists to share knowledge and practical skills such as organic gardening, permaculture design, bicycle maintenance and wood and metal work. They endeavour to be self-reliance, producing their own food; by use of solar and wind power, as well as simpler heating technologies, they are completely “off grid”. They collect water from the greenhouse roofs to feed the plants, fruit and vegetables; they use fuel-efficient rocket stoves to heat water; they have compost toilets making “humanure.” The site has been  under threat of eviction for many months. Following an Appeal Court decision on 3rd July 2013 that the landowner could take possession, nothing has happened. They could be evicted at any time. They are still trying to negotiate with the landowner to buy the land, and the legal process seeking to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court is still trundling along. Meanwhile Heathrow’s proposal for a 3rd runway in the Harmondsworth area, west of Sipson, has been short-listed by the Airports Commission.


Grow Heathrow campaigners fight eviction at High Court


A group of young people, calling themselves “Grow Heathrow”, set up a market garden and informal community on squatted land in Sipson in 2010. The land had been derelict and was not being used by its owner, Mr Malik. He has been attempting to remove the squtters, who are environmental activists, for the past two years or more. The case for their eviction went to the High Court on Tuesday 15th January. Grow Heathrow say their case is an important challenge to the idea that landlords can leave land empty in the middle of a housing crisis. Mr Malik was given the judgement of possession in July. The basis of Grow Heathrow’s appeal is Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the right to have a home and family life. On the one hand, Grow Heathrow say they have added “social value” of the garden while it is wrong to keep the owner out of land for which he had paid a six-figure sum.  Given the widespread importance of the issues raised by the case, Lords Justice Ward, Lloyd and Toulson are expected to reserve their decision until a later date – probably 14th February.




“Grow Heathrow” in court facing eviction from their organic gardening site in Sipson – (now delayed a few weeks)


The “Grow Heathrow” community, who have turned an area in Sipson that was once a “derelict mess”, into a thriving market garden, are facing eviction. However, the young people living there are popular with the local community, who want them to stay. When they arrived several years ago, they cleared as much as 30 tonnes of rubbish off the site, renovated greenhouses and now grow organic lettuces, courgettes,squashes etc.  The site happens to be where a 3rd runway was to be built – a location in many of their neighbours’ interests to protect. The owner of the land wants his land back, and a hearing at Central London County Court began on Monday but the judge has decided to take more time, so they are not due back in court for several weeks.  The court is expected to weigh up the human rights and hard work of those who have moved in against the simple fact the land is not theirs.


Transition Heathrow. We’re not going anywhere !

17.11.2011Transition Heathrow’s “Grow Heathrow” project were due to be in court on 17th November, for a hearing about having them evicted from the site they are occupying at Sipson.  The judge took into account the human rights arguments and adjourned the case to the higher authority of Central London County Court where a two day hearing will take place in a few months time. The owner of the site wants the land back, though it had been neglected for years, and Grow Heathrow has turned it into a thriving community venture.




New video from Transition Heathrow to mark the group’s first birthday


Check out this video of the Transition Heathrow first birthday – a very positive
aftermath of the battle to defeat the third runway at Heathrow.  http://bit.ly/fpG4ps


There is much more about Transition Heathrow athttp://www.transitionheathrow.com/author/joe/page/2/









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Up to 20,000 attended a damp but determined weekend at Notre Dame des Landes, against planned Nantes airport

Up to 20,000 or so people (estimates vary) gathered at Notre Dame des Landes over the weekend of 5th and 6th July, from across France, to support the campaign against the planned airport, and show their solidarity. Though dampened by almost continuous rain on the first day, spirits were not dimmed, and some 50 talks and debates went on – under canvas. There were also concerts by popular French singers, as well as stalls and activities for all ages. Some of those taking part in the weekend are opposing other Large Unnecessary Imposed Projects (Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés) across France, with a sincere desire to stop mega-projects that do great environmental harm, for dubious economic benefit. Work on the airport project has been frozen since 2012, largely due to legal obstructions. The last large protest by the Nantes opponents, organised by ACIPA, was on 22 February 2014, attended by between 20 000 and 50 000 people in streets of Nantes, which was severely policed, and from which there were injuries and some public damage.This weekend’s event was peaceful, and once the sun came out, the sky was filled with protest kites.



Below are some articles about the Notre Dame des Landes gathering, on 5th and 6th July, in imperfect English (original articles in French).

Un festival de musique a été organisé à Notre Dame des Landes, le 5 juillet.

John Stewart, (Chair of AirportWatch and of HACAN at Heathrow) attended the gathering. His comment:

“They came  from all over France and beyond.  They came in the weather so wet it would put West Wales to shame.  They came in record number.  Perhaps 20,000 people  – or maybe more – came to the protest weekend at Nantes.
The long-running campaign against a new airport at Notre-Dames-des-Landes in West France has become cause célèbre in France.  The protesters have gained so much support, including, critically, from direct action activists, that it is difficult to see the authorities finding a way to build the airport even if they overcome the legal obstacles and get hold of the money.
More widely, it is yet more living proof of the opposition new airports or new runways generate.  Nowhere in Europe can the authorities be confident of getting expansion plans through.”

More news about the gathering at http://www.scoop.it/t/acipa/?tag=NDL2014

Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Debates and boots


Thousands of opponents of the project … by joe-en

Thousands of opponents of the proposed airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (44) flocked this Saturday, on the site to assist in the rain at large summer gathering of the movement and call for the abandonment of the project disputed transfer from Nantes-Atlantique Airport.

> Back to 15 dates in a controversial [Interactive Timeline] project
From all over France or other European countries, opponents flocked around the stands and marquees debates, but also on narrow roads near the site, which bouchonnaient as a day of going on holiday. In the late afternoon, between 7,000 and 8,000 people were indeed on the spot according to the organizers, more than 4,000 according to police, just before the concert headliners of the first day of the rally, Miossec, Sanseverino and Pigalle . Duflot and Bové support”In Brussels, we also have problems with the aircraft, it touches all people who are in this movement,” says Juliette, a young woman from Belgium with two friends, all three covered with long ponchos rain.

“We are farmers, for us it is important to defend the land to feed the people,” says Réjane a fifties activist first time came Loire-Atlantique.

“It should not be, because the development of air transport is a dead end, Airport Bouguenais (Nantes-Atlantique, Ed) works very well, a simple financial logic shows that the project of Notre-Dame-des- Landes is an aberration, “said Thierry, who came from Loire-Atlantique too.

Surprise guest, former Minister of Housing environmentalist Cécile Duflot arrived mid afternoon, at ease among his friends struggle. “We need to kind of pressure that we posed to the people who live and work here and who, for so many years, living with a sword of Damocles over the head. It has to stop now, “said MP EELV.

Not far from her, José Bové MEP EELV, said that “we are at a turning point in the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. It is clear that today the state is beginning to understand that this project will not succeed. ” Optimism tempered in the wet fields of Bellevue farm, north of the “Area of deferred development” or Zad project, now 18 months since the heart of the peasant resistance, debates succeed in capitals.

Opponents farm Thousand Cows in the Somme, the “No-Tav” (opponents of the Lyon-Turin railway line), through defenders AMAP (Association for the maintenance of peasant agriculture) or even opponents denouncing police violence use launchers soft ball all currents meet.

Artists also came to militants. “I am a kind of citizen who wants to ecology and who want a friendly environment, I have no desire there is an airport here,” says Sanseverino, making the balance of his concert in rain.

Optimism prevails, since the announcement this winter by the Government that the work will not begin until the end of legal proceedings. But Julien Durand, spokesman for the ACIPA, the main association of opponents, “as we will not have an official signature of the government adopting the declaration of public utility, the project can always go back.”



In April, the European Commission opened infringement procedure against France, which is accused of failing to conduct an environmental assessment of the controversial airport project.


Notre-Dame-des-Landes. 22,000 participants in summer gathering

The largest gathering ends tonight music. Since Saturday it has united some 22,000 people, according to the organizers.

The largest gathering of solidarity and music at Notre-Dame-des-Landes  came to an end on Sunday 6th July.

The 14th large anti-airport gathering started on Saturday and brought together 22,000 participants,according to organizers. The authorities say 12,000 people.

At the  rally there were also many debates and education sessions, with fifty meetings and forums.

This gathering also attracted opponents fight against other “big useless projects” (Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés) such as the project Lyon-Turin rail link.

http://www.ouest-france.fr/node/2678620   for more in French and a video clip.




Notre-Dame-des-Landes: new opponents rally at the airport

The Point.fr


On the occasion of their big summer rally, thousands of opponents of the airport project can be found on the site on Saturday.

Photo illustration.
Photo illustration. © Jean-Sébastien Evard / AFP


Thousands of opponents of the proposed airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) Saturday began pouring on the site at the time of their great summer, rain rally to demand the abandonment of the disputed transfer from Nantes Atlantique Airport project.

The first debate, for example on the “civil disobedience”, began in mid-day under large tents set up in the fields around the Bellevue farm, became the center of peasant protest on the site for the airport, was a journalist of the AFP .

The promise  in the afternoon of the first day of the rally, of concerts by Miossec , Sanseverino or Pigalle promised to draw a lot of people – despite the rain. Sanseverino was already mid-day balance of his concert on the main stage at the bottom of a large banner which proclaims on yellow background, “Abandonment is now.” (L’Abandon. C’est Maintenant).

Set up all around the arena were stalls of various militant anti-capitalist and anti-globalization struggles, as opposed to the “farm thousand cows in the Somme, or No-Tav (not TGV Lyon-Turin), representing their own struggles.  Parties and opposition political groups opposed to the draft Notre Dame-des-Landes airport, such as EELV or the Left Party are also represented.

“The project can always come back”

The construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport by the company,Vinci  which should have been completed in 2017, has been frozen since 2012 due to strong opposition both on the ground, and due to legal issues and political plans.

The government announced on February 28, through Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was then Prime Minister, that the work of the airport was expected to start  the end of legal proceedings.

“We are here to show our determination, as long as we do not have an official signature of the government adopting the declaration of public utility, the project can always come back,” said Julien Durand, the spokesman for ACIPA, main opposition group and organizer of the rally,speaking to AFP (Associated French Press).




Notre-Dame-des-Landes : des milliers de personnes pour dire non à l’aéroport

5.7.2014Des milliers de personnes sont attendues ce week-end sur le site contesté du futur aéroport nantais à Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique). Parmi eux, des élus, dont l'écologiste Cécile Duflot (à gauche).

Des milliers de personnes sont attendues ce week-end sur le site contesté du futur aéroport nantais à Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique). Parmi eux, des élus, dont l’écologiste Cécile Duflot (à gauche). 

Les opposants à Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) ne désarment pas. Ce samedi, plusieurs milliers de personnes, qui réclament l’abandon du projet de transfert de l’aéroport Nantes Atlantique, ont répondu à l’appel des organisateurs du festival «L’abandon c’est maintenant !» organisé par les opposants au projet.

Pour ce grand rassemblement qui va durer tout le week-end, 30 000 personnes sont attendues entre samedi et dimanche, sur le site contesté du futur aéroport. <btn_noimpr>

En fin d’après-midi, en dépit de la pluie, quelque 7 à 8 000 personnes étaient arrivées sur place selon les organisateurs, plus de 4 000 selon la police, juste avant les concerts des têtes d’affiche de ce premier jour du rassemblement,  et Pigalle.

Cécile Duflot by surprise guest

Opposing the project are politicians of the party, as MEP José Bové EELV. “We are at a turning point in the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes: it is clear that today the state is beginning to understand that this project will not succeed,” he says. The former Minister Cécile Duflot arrived in the middle of the afternoon. “We need to stop the kind of pressure that puts on people who live and work here and who for so many years have been living with the sword of Damocles over their heads; it has to stop now, “says a member of EELV (Europe Ecology Les Verts).

See picture on Twitter

“We are here to show our determination,”

In booths set up all around the capitals of various militant anti-capitalist and anti-globalization struggles, as opposed to “the farm thousand cows” in the Somme, or No-Tav (not TGV Lyon-Turin), present their struggle. Artists also came to militants. “I’m kind of a citizen who wants to ecology and who want a friendly environment, I have no desire there is an airport here,” says Sanseverino by balance of his concert in the rain. “We are here to show our determination,” said Julien Durand, a spokesman for the ACIPA, main opposition group and organizer of the rally.

Last year, at the height of the summer rally, held on 3 and 4 August, between 9000 and 25000 people attended the event, according to the respective numbers of the organizers and the prefecture of Loire Atlantic.

Works on standby since 2012

According to the original schedule, the work of the airport tarmac, the concession was awarded to Vinci group, have been started in spring 2014 and the airport should be opened in 2017. But with strong opposition both on the ground that the legal and political, construction has been frozen since 2012. latest episode mark of protest, the demonstration of 22 February 2014 which was attended by between 20 000 and 50 000 people opposed to the project in streets of Nantes. This event was punctuated by intense clashes between anti-capitalist activists with radical forces. Dozens of people were injured on the side of police and three protesters have lost the use of one eye . The damage had been estimated at one million euros. In the aftermath, the government announced on February 28, by the voice of Jean-Marc Ayrault, then Prime Minister, that the work expect the end of legal proceedings initiated to start .



A Notre-Dame-des-Landes, la mobilisation reste intacte et la décision incertaine

Par Rémi BarrouxUn festival de musique a été organisé à Notre Dame des Landes, le 5 juillet.
Se fera-t-il, ne se fera-t-il pas ? La question restait entière pour la grande majorité des participants au rassemblement à Notre-Dame-des-Landes contre le projet d’aéroport qui doit être construit à une vingtaine kilomètres au nord de Nantes.Samedi 5 et dimanche 6 juillet, des milliers d’opposants – plus d’une dizaine de milliers selon les organisateurs, moitié moins selon la police – à ce projet porté par le gouvernement, la région Pays de la Loire et la municipalité nantaise se sont retrouvées pour dire non à la plate-forme aéroportuaire, dont Aéroports du Grand Ouest (AGO), filiale de Vinci, doit assurer la construction et la gestion.Deux jours de concerts (avec notamment Miossec, Sanseverino, Pigalle…) et de déclarations contre l’aéroport, mais aussi contre la future ligne ferroviaire Lyon-Turin et d’autres infrastructures jugées « inutiles et coûteuses ». Dans la foule militante, des écologistes, des anticapitalistes, des agriculteurs, des opposants de la première heure au projet vieux de quarante ans et une ancienne ministre du gouvernement de Jean-Marc Ayrault, ardent défenseur de la construction de l’aéroport : Cécile Duflot.


Notre-Dame-des-Landes anti-system Zadistes invite themselves into the debate


Some anti-system zadistes invited themselve into the meeting of political anti-airports which began there half an hour earlier, in under the big tent, because of the rain.

  “Democracy is the shit”, “Stop all work”, they regularly interrupted speakers and wanted toget their points across though  organizers obviously did not want to give them the floor.

One of them has even asked to leave the tent. Which they did not do.

For several months, relations have been strained between historical opponents of the airport,  and some of zadistes who are occupying part of the land.









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Huge gathering at Notre Dame des Landes – 20,000 + expected – this weekend against new Nantes airport

A huge gathering is taking place this weekend, at Notre Dame des Landes, in western France, against the planned airport at Nantes. This airport has been proposed for years, to replace the existing Nantes airport. It has been bitterly and fiercely opposed, not only by those whose land and farms will be expropriated by the plans, and other local people who do not want their area and their countryside destroyed. It is also opposed by thousands of people from across France. This weekend is now becoming a regular annual protest, each summer. Between 20,000 and 30,000 people are expected for a huge festival, with music, poetry, speeches, fun and food sharing. Caravans of supporters have been making their way to Notre Dame des Landes, on foot and bike (as well as by car) for several weeks, some walking huge distances. The airport planning is bogged down in legal challenges and legal details. Though work was expected to start this spring, nothing has happened. This airport project is one of a number of Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés which are being fought not only in France, but in other European countries.


Nantes protest arrivals

The festive weekend and activist began a march with participants from all over France

On foot, by bike or car, they came from all over France. Opposed to the waste of land and what they call unnecessary and imposed major projects, these activists converged on Friday by late afternoon, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

The retired farmer Michel Tarin, a figurehead of the anti-airport movement, led a three-kilometer walk in the bocage. As farmers of Larzac did in 1978, participants were provided with walking sticks, and these resonated rhythmically as people walked down the small roads towards the gathering..

All weekend takes place at Notre-Dame-des-Landes activist and festive gathering around the slogan “abandonment, it is now!” Supporters of anti-airport movement, Miossec, Sanseverino, or Pigalle must occur Saturday on the big stage. Sunday, we will hear Filoche and Heads Straight.The morning meeting will bring together twelve political stakeholders, including MEP José Bové.

Full program on http://www.acipa-ndl.fr

Nantes Irene 600 km


More stories, in French (or atrocious Google translation into English!) at  SccopIt! at     http://www.scoop.it/t/acipa/?tag=NDL2014




Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport: thousands of opponents expected this weekend 

3.7.2014 (Metronews.France)

AIRPORT – Opponents organize their large traditional festive weekend Saturday and Sunday at the site of the future airport of Nantes. Program debates, concerts, political speeches.

Last year, the gathering drew 9-25 of 000 people.

Last year, the gathering drew 9-25 of 000.Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard / AFP

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New branch of CAGNE – CAGNE East – formed in Kent, joining the original in West Sussex

The threat of a 2nd Gatwick runway, and the “trials” of new flight paths by Gatwick airport, has caused considerable upset in areas across southern Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent.  The flight path routed over the Warnham area (Warnham, Rusper, Kingsfold, Winterfold, Rowhook, Slinfold and North Horsham) set in motion the formation of CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions – to fight against the unwelcome noise intrusion into the lives of thousands.  CAGNE has now grown, as more and more people upset by the flight paths – and the threat of more – join forces.  There are now two other groups, working in East Sussex and in Kent, as well as the original CAGNE in Warnham, West Sussex. A group of residents, formerly the Bidborough Environmental Action Group, are becoming CAGNE East opposing planes, flying day and night – an aircraft “superhighway” – over historic areas of the High Weald ANOB, most of Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, Bidborough, Rusthall, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever. CAGNE East strongly supports the High Weald Parish Councils HWPCAAG initiative, opposing Gatwick’s bid for a 2nd runway. 




  • For more on the flight path trials, and consultations on airspace and flight paths see

  • Flight path changes and trials

  • GACC has now produced a detailed and excellent document, deciphering the badly written consultation document, and setting out the important facts so people can respond to the consultation.                                                                                                     GACC notes on Airspace Consultation Phase 2  –  July 2014

CAGNE finds its Lacey

 30.6.2014 (CAGNE –  Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions – in the Gartwick area)
CAGNE_and_CAGNE_East (1)
Image of GACC Jane Vogt with Simon Byerley and Kealey Castle of CAGNE EAST, Sally Pavey and Bill Sorrell of CAGNE
CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions – has joined forces with the Kent protest group against Gatwick Airport’s new runway.
A group of residents, formerly the Bidborough Environmental Action Group, will become CAGNE East in an effort to stop new flight paths, The Gatwick Superhighway of planes will fly day and night over historic areas of the High Weald AONB  (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), most of Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, Bidborough, Rusthall, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever..
 ‘Gatwick Airport plan to place a constant stream of low flying planes over historic sites and many homes that have not suffered aircraft noise before, and this is all before a second runway which would bring additional damage to these areas,’ said Simon Byerley of CAGNE East.
‘By working together we aim to raise community awareness of what is planned by Gatwick Airport, not only through the current changes to flight paths, but how a new runway will alter the Home Counties forever,’ said Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE.
CAGNE was formed this year by concerned residents after a trial route was instigated by Gatwick Airport over areas of West Sussex not previously overflown, affecting residents in Warnham, Rusper, Kingsfold, Winterfold, Rowhook, Slinfold and North Horsham.
CAGNE East strongly supports the HWPCAAG initiative, the alliance of the parish Councils across East Sussex and West Kent who oppose Gatwick’s bid for a second runway. Both CAGNE and CAGNE East are also working very closely with Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, a volunteer group that has opposed Gatwick expansion since 1968.
‘GACC is continuing to lead the battle to protect the environment around Gatwick, opposing the outrageous plans of Gatwick Airport for new flight paths and a second runway.  We are delighted to have two new protest groups from the West and East working with us as members of GACC but bringing new strength to the battle in their own areas,’ said GACC Chair Brendon Sewill.
Residents can find out additional information at www.cagne.org and concerned residents of Kent should contact cagne.east@gmail.com.

Contact details for the local groups:

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

GACC – www.gacc.org.uk
Email: gacc@btconnect.com
GACC is the long-standing community campaign at Gatwick airport, and has been active for some 5 decades. It is principle group in the area, with long experience and an immense amount of expertise and experience. The other groups below are all members of GACC. They all work closely with GACC.
Enquiries: Brendon Sewill (Chairman); Peter Barclay and John Byng (Vice-Chairmen)

CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

Website http://www.cagne.org/
Email: cagnegatwick@gmail.com
Twitter @cagne_gatwick
Enquiries –  Sally Pavey


Email:  cagne.east@gmail.com
Blog at   http://beagblog.wordpress.com.
[The group has emerged from BEAG – the Bidborough Environment Action Group].
CAGNE East is the sister group of CAGNE.   CAGNE East is for all residents and local communities East of Gatwick Airport. Set up by concerned residents of Bidborough in Kent, it provides campaign support to a growing network of residents, communities, campaign groups, Parish Councils and NGOs who are all concerned about Gatwick expansion.
CAGNE East opposes a 2nd Gatwick runway, night flights and the proposed new ‘superhighway flightpaths’, which unchallenged, pose a grave threat to our way of life and our regional economy.
(The beagblog will continue to focus on aviation as well as other local environmental issues, and in the next month or so, (August 2014 perhaps) a new blog devoted entirely to aviation issues will be set up. Sadly these things have to be done, (in contrast to Gatwick airport with its massive budget and large number of staff) by volunteers, in their own time, fitted around work, family and other commitments. So, as they say ….. “Bear with ….” ! )
Enquiries –  Simon Byerley  and Kealey Castle

ESCCAN (East Susses Communities for Control of Air Noise).

 Email:  esccan@outlook.com 
There is also now a very active residents group in Crowborough, called ESCCAN  They want to keep a local focus for their concerns in the Crowborough area, and the protection of the Ashdown Forest.

WAGAN (Weald Action Group Against Noise) 

There is another local group,  WAGAN which is working very closely in support of HWAAG (High Weald Aviation Action Group). These groups are also working on blogs, and as with the case of CAGNE East, this depends on volunteers managing to fit in this work, unpaid, in already busy lives.


(High Weald Aviation Action Group) and the

HWPCAAG (High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group)

This has been formed to fight increasing noise and to oppose Gatwick’s bid for a 2nd runway. The group consists of eight parishes in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which are all adversely affected by Gatwick aircraft noise. The group consists of the Parish Councils of Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst and 4 other parishes. Their chair is Richard Streatfield, who is the Chairman of Chiddingstone Parish Council.  Email: chair@chiddingstone.org



Photo: CAGNE drop in events to help residents understand what Gatwick want to do in the skies above us and how we can object. #CAGNE #RUSPER #WARNHAM #SLINFOLD #ROWHOOK #HORSHAM


CAGNE East and the BEAG (Bidborough Environment Action Group)

BEAG was originally intended as a very local and general environmental interest group. However, with more and more planes flying overhead and with more and more people joining from all over the area – Southborough, Tonbridge, Langton Green Rusthall, central Tunbridge Wells – and most of whom only really wanting to know about the planes, it became increasingly apparent that the Bidborough group was misnamed: there was a real need for a contact point where people concerned about increasing noise and pollution levels  from planes over West Kent could find out more about how Gatwick’s plans translate into the changes we are noticing in our local environment.
Core members of BEAG formed a more active team focussed on the Gatwick issue, and when the lead members of BEAG, Simon Byerley and Kealey Castle, met Sally Pavey things just clicked into place.
BEAG were impressed by the unique fusion of creativity, passion and professionalism in Sally’s approach and found, despite some very fundamental differences between the noise problems faced by residents under departures vs arrivals, that they shared some key objectives. This aviation issue is a David and Goliath situation – it seemed that joining with the CAGNE movement would best serve the interests of  residents in Kent, in the greater scheme of things.
The beagblog is to continue with its more general focus (gradual switch likely to the fracking debate – we have a bore hole in Bidborough that will go active next year.)
Simon Byerley is getting the CAGNE East blog up and running but unfortunately he has a full time job, and as all volunteer activity, this has to be fitted into an already full life.
The beagblog is a temporary contact point for the aircraft flight paths issue. A new, more informative CAGNE East site specifically for the aviation issue is planned.  It should be up and running by August (fingers crossed!)


Kent parish councils fight Gatwick Airport runway plan

26 June 2014  (BBC)
The parish councils said an expanded Gatwick would threaten both local tourism and the environment

Campaigners fighting a second runway at Gatwick are writing to the Airports Commission to object to the level of noise an expansion could cause.

Four Kent parish councils claim an additional runway would also damage local tourism and the environment.

Mitzi Quirk, from Chiddingstone Parish Council, said the village currently saw 10 planes per 20 minutes but expansion would take that to 45 an hour.

Gatwick Airport said building a new runway was in the local interest.

‘Intolerable noise’

Ms Quirk said: “We are concerned not just with the future, but with the current situation. So we’ve grouped together to make a more powerful body with other parish councils who are going to be affected and who are affected currently.

“Currently we must have something like 10 planes in 20 minutes. I think what their projection is 45 planes an hour.

“And if they currently come in at the height they do, it will be really very difficult to live with and it will affect a lot of people. And I don’t think anybody’s sanity could stand that, quite frankly.”

David Barren, who lives in Hever, said the village used to be tranquil but now the noise had become “totally intolerable”.

‘Create jobs’

Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst councils, said he had seen Gatwick expand “vigorously” from what was a local airport and under the plans it would more than double in size.

He claimed tourism businesses in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty brought about 186,000 jobs to the industry and created £1.6bn over a year, which would be threatened by Gatwick expansion because of the impact on the environment and because tourists would not want to visit.

But Gatwick argue a second runway would create thousands of jobs, offer new opportunities to businesses and promote economic growth and prosperity across the region.

“Gatwick is continuously working to reduce the noise levels at the airport, including designing flight paths that avoid the majority of populated areas and providing the most innovative noise insulation scheme in Europe,” it said in a statement.

“Should Gatwick build a second runway, we will also pay annual compensation equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1,000) to all households most affected.”




High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group


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“Pas Question!” [“No Way!”] group in Brussels fights the hated Wathelet Plan flight path changes

On 6th February this year, Melchior Wathelet (Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of Environment, Energy and Mobility) introduced a plan that reorganizes the departure routes from Brussels airport in Zaventem. As a result of this “Wathelet Plan”, the majority of departing aircraft are routed over densely populated areas of central and southern Brussels. The changes are deeply controversial and deeply unpopular among the Brussels residents, who have not been intensively over-flown before. There is huge anger about the changes, and that the numbers over-flown are now far higher than before. On the plus side, some areas that were previously over-flown now have fewer flights. Now almost 18,000 residents have signed a petition to suspend the Wathelet Plan. Its opponents say it was introduced without any prior consultation with local residents, and that in other EU countries, such a consultation process is a regulatory requirement before any change to aircraft flight paths is made. An active group called “Pas Question!” – which means “No Way!” has formed, and they regard the new flight paths as nonsensical. They want the plan cancelled, and are convinced that an alternative policy is possible.



Retrait du Plan Wathelet. Plan Wathelet, Pas Question

Pas Question!  is on Twitter at   @NonPasQuestion

and on Facebook at Pas Question!

Website at  http://www.pasquestion.be/en

No Way !  [“Pas Question!”]

The Pas Question! group is  a movement of Brussels citizens, who say they are indignant about the Wathelet Plan, that they feel has been inflicted on them.
They say they are ordinary citizens, but they have discovered overnight, that their families were now over-flown daily by planes at a low altitude.

They now find the new dispersed flight path plan was adopted by the Federal Government, without consultation, despite its enduring damages to Brussels

The regard this Plan as not offering any long-term solution but instead transferred the problem of aircraft noisecloser to the heart of Brussels.

They are determined that Brussels citizens and inhabitants must combat this nonsensical plan with all their efforts and with all means at their disposal. They are convinced that an alternative policy is possible.


These are their Objectives

The immediate repeal of Plan Wathelet
This Plan is an absurdity , ignoring self-evident public health and safety precautions;We demand its immediate repeal!
A real democratic debate
We demand a consultation of all concerned parties, to be part of those decisions directly impacting our quality of life and the future of Brussels.
Sustainable long-term solutions
The health and security of hundred of thousands citizens has been plainly ignored. Our politicians must consider and adopt long-term solutions to the ill-located Brussels Airport.



On 6 February 2014 Melchior Wathelet – in his function as Belgium’s secretary of state in charge of Environment, Energy and Mobility – implemented a plan that reorganizes the departure routes from Brussels National Airport in Zaventem.

As a result of this plan, the majority of departing aircraft are routed over densely populated areas of Brussels. This plan – referred to by campaigners as the Plan Wathelet  [Wathelet Plan] – soon became the object of controversy and led to a wave of complaints by residents affected by aircraft noise.

As of 1 May 2014, more than 13,000 residents had signed a petition to suspend the Plan Wathelet.  [It now has over 17,700 signatures – 20.6.2014].

A revision of the plan was blocked by the government of Flanders in early May.

The main criticisms of the Wathelet Plan are that opponents say it was introduced without any prior consultation with local residents.

They say that in other European Countries, such a consultation process is a regulatory requirement before any change to aircraft flight paths is made (consultation is required in the UK, by the CAA).

Opponents also claim that no impact assessment was carried out prior to the publication of the new departure routes.  They say the flight paths should over-fly less densely populated areas, and avoid heavily populated areas.

There is some dispute between different areas, and communities, of Brussels about how many residents are being over-flown – and affected by high levels of aircraft noise. There have been different figures produced by Mr Wathelet and by the Brussels minister for Environment Evelyne Huytebroeck.



“Pas Question!” [which means “No Way”] – the campaign against the flight path changes

The opponents of the changes argue that the new flight paths must be removed, as the number of people now over-flown is not acceptable. They say on their campaign website http://www.pasquestion.be/en/wathelet-plan

The Wathelet Plan: A SHORT SUMMARY

Since February 6 2014, The Wathelet Plan has modified certain flight paths from Brussels national airport:

On one hand, the  “left turn” flight path from [Brussels airport at] Zaventem has been enlarged. As a consequence, 35.000 planes now fly at low altitude over densely populated areas like SCHAERBEEK, ETTERBEEK, IXELLES, WOLUWE-Chant d’oiseau, AUDERGHEM and WATERMAEL-BOISTFORT

On the other hand, the so-called “route du canal” flight path goes over Brussels from one side to another, and is used by thousands of the heaviest carriers and night take-offs. This entails a strong and brutal deterioration of the quality of life in MOLENBEEK, BRUXELLES-VILLE, ANDERLECHT, FOREST, SAINT-GILLES et UCCLE.

All of this, in the name of a “fair” distribution of disturbances. In reality this plan saves certain neighbourhoods located east of the airport (Woluwe-Saint-Pierre/Stockel, Wezembeek et Kraainem) and move them over a capital city of  1.100.000 inhabitants !

This plan is absurd and must be immediately withdrawn.

The website contains interactive maps, showing where the flight paths are now going. Maps at http://www.pasquestion.be/en/wathelet-plan

On the map below, the new flight paths are shown with some going across the centre of Brussels and the south of the city. Before the changes, flights were concentrated to the east and south east, with some to the north. There were none across central and southern Brussels.

Brussels new flight paths

The website of the opponents of the changes say on their website at http://www.pasquestion.be/en/wathelet-plan that:


The Wathelet Plan which has been fully implemented on February 6th 2014 reorganizes flight paths from Zaventem airport and is composed of 3 main measures::

1. The use of the runway 19/01 is significantly reduced

Since ten years (the Anciaux Plan) WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE (Stockel), KRAAINEM and WEZEMBEEK areas located east of the airport are being impacted by planes at low altitude with approximately 7.000 takeoffs per year and 12.000 landing per year on the runway 19/01 (2012 traffic).

This situation had an undeniable impact on citizens living in these areas. The Wathelet Plan deliberately modifies the norms of wind used on this runway with the aim to reduce the use of this runway by 50 to 75%. This change has for consequence the intensive use of runway 25R where planes take off in the direction of Brussels city, inreasing nuisances for nearly all Brussels inhabitants. Furthermore these changes were heavily criticised by the pilots and air traffic-controllers.

2. Enlargement of the left turn

Before February 6, 44.000 planes per year were taking off from Zaventem on runway 25R which is facing Brussels, but planes used to take a sharp left turn in direction of Huldenberg avoiding flying over most of Brussels except areas such as WOLUWE-SAINT-LAMBERT, WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE (Stockel), KRAAINEM et  WEZEMBEEK.

With the Wathelet Plan, 80% of these flights (35.000 planes per year) are redirected over other flight paths which go deeper into the Brussels region and fly over densely populated areas which were spared before. Areas such as SCHAERBEEK, ETTERBEEK, IXELLES, WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE (CHANT D’OISEAU), AUDERGHEM et WATERMAEL-BOITSFORT are now badly impacted with a high frequency of planes flying at a low altitude!

Out of the blue, citizens living in areas known for not being flew over by planes, find themselves in a situation with flights over their head from 6am until 11pm characterized by a dense traffic early the morning and late at night with an unavoidable increase of traffic during the summer (charter flights, low cost companies).

The remaining 20% (9.000 planes per year) are still on the northern part of the older flight way, avoiding areas which used to be impacted.

3. Heavy traffic concentrated on the « canal way or route du canal »

THE WATHELET PLAN also regroups many old flight paths on the so-called « route du canal » which respectively go over MOLENBEEK, EVERE, BRUXELLES-VILLE, ANDERLECHT, FOREST, SAINT-GILLES, UCCLE, DROGENBOS and LINKEBEEK.

Because of the Wathelet Plan, this path is also used for the heavy carrier flights (747, A330, etc …) which cause more noise pollution and fly at night and during week-ends. Citizens who used to live in areas known as being moderately impacted by planes are now flown over intensively by heavy carriers and at the worse time of the day or at night.

They list all the areas of Brussels, and which have gained – and which have lost – in terms of peace and quiet, and consequently quality of life, since the flight path changes. They also give the population density of the suburbs now adversely affected, showing them to have higher densities than the areas which now have less over-flying.


The Pas Question! group also say:


Worldwide, flight paths are deviated away from city centres for obvious reasons: to limit consequences in case of accident, and to protect from air / noise pollution, stress and other health hazards,  populations already affected by urban nuisances (pollution from traffic, lack of green spaces, etc.)

Brussels International airport is ill-located, for historical reasons. The proximity of the airport has forever caused nuisances to the populations living nearby.

The very idea of solving airport neighbours’ problem by spreading flights Brussels’ city center is most absurd.

Politicians, who made airport neighbours believe that the Wathelet Plan was the solution to their nuisances problem, must be either irresponsible or incompetent.

Brussels map

The Pas Question!  campaign says a recent study, commissioned by the Minister himself [Mr Wethelet] points out that the new routes fly over 405 700 inhabitants compared to 130,500 before the 6th February.  The details of the study, in French, are at   http://static.lecho.be/upload/Rapport_final_SPF_4872074-35014424.pdf

Another study by the Brussels Region government points out that 244,543 people are newly affected by aircraft noise nuisance (63% of people affected by aircraft nuisance); 113,505 people see their situation unchanged (29.3% of dwellers affected by aircraft noise nuisance); 29,679 see their situation marginally improve (7,65% of people affected by aircraft nuisance) and 1,165 Brussels residents are no longer under a flight path.

This study was reported in the Belgian press:



Convoluted Brussels coalition and flightpath politics cause public furore

Thousands of people in Brussels are up in arms about a new overflight plan that started on 6th February, causing parts of the city subject to the thundering noise of planes using Brussels airport. The Belgian government has only a couple of weeks left to find a solution for a problem that dates back many, many years. As the airport is close to densely populated parts of the city, its flight paths would always over-fly a lot of people. The political choices of who should have to suffer the noise are complicated. Should the burden of the noise be shared between various areas? The flight path change is reported to be because, with the May elections this year, Melchior Wathelet (Sec of State for Environment, Energy, Mobility etc) of the Francophone Christian Democtrats (cdH) decided to do a political favour for the party’s vice prime minister, Joelle Milquet, by tweaking the flight paths over some municipalities, to help with votes. The Wathelet Plan decision can be blocked, under the constitution, for 60 days. That ends at the start of July. It is likely to be the out-going coalition that makes the decision. Lots of politics ….. parties will assess how the vote affects their political chances ….

Click here to view full story…



“The Plan Wathelet downgraded the status of Brussels”

  • 5.5.2014
The Brussels Region will sue for environmental cessation before the trial court to stop Wathelet Plan.

© Photo News

A new study by the Brussels Region shows that the number of Brussels residents affected by noise exploded. The Brussels Region will sue for environmental cessation before the trial court to stop the Wathelet Plan.

Melchior Wathelet is not the end of his sentences. A new study by the Brussels Region shows that the number of Brussels residents affected by aircraft noise has greatly increased. This is due to the dispersion of  aircraft taking off from Brussels Zaventem airport established by Melchior Wathelet (CDH), Secretary of State at the Federal.

Faced with this situation, the Brussels Region will sue for environmental cessation before the trial court to stop the Wathelet Plan.

The Environmental Action cessation seeks, initially the suspension of the plan for non-compliance with Brussels noise legislation, the Gosuin stopped from 1999 imposing increasingly stringent thresholds, more planes move away from the airport;and lack of assessment of environmental impacts of the plan, contrary to advocate European rules.

State Secretary for Mobility, Melchior Wathelet, has announced its evening he would come up with solutions in the coming days  to aircraft noise experienced by the people of Brussels.

What does the study say?

Presented on Monday evening by the Minister Evelyne Huytebroek (Ecolo), Minister of the Environment in the Brussels Region, the number of Brussels residents affected by aircraft noise has exploded. 

In reaching this conclusion, Evelyne Huytebroeck (Ecolo) asked his administration to increase the sound level on the area of the capital and to make accurate measurements of the level of aircraft noise, so you can quickly prepare a report on the noise nuisance to introduce where appropriate  an action for environmental injunction. The points of comparison are March 2013 compared with March 2014.

The study was conducted by Brussels environment using the new sound level meters of the Capital Region placed under the flight paths, and a tenth in theaths  and placed tenth in the neighbourhood of la Chasse, à Etterbeek.  
Brussels environment also observed an explosion of the number of complaints of residentss: 1056 between February 6 and April 16, against only nine for the same period in 2013.




Original in French:


“Le Plan Wathelet a dégradé la situation des Bruxellois”

  • 5.5.2014 (L’Echo)
Une nouvelle étude menée par la Région bruxelloise montre que le nombre de Bruxellois touchés par les nuisances sonores a explosé. La Région bruxelloise va intenter une action en cessation environnementale devant le tribunal de première instance pour faire stopper le Plan Wathelet.

Melchior Wathelet n’est pas au bout de ses peines. Une nouvelle étude menée par la Région bruxelloise montre que le nombre de Bruxellois touchés par les nuisances sonores a explosé.  En cause, le plan de dispersion des avions de l’aéroport de Zaventem mis en place par Melchior Wathelet (cdH), secrétaire d’état au Fédéral.

Face à cette situation, la Région bruxelloise va intenter une action en cessation environnementale devant le tribunal de première instance pour faire stopper le Plan Wathelet.

L’action en cessation environnementale vise à obtenir, dans un premier temps une suspension du plan, pour non-respect de la législation bruxelloise sur le bruit, l’arrêté Gosuin datant de 1999 imposant des seuils de plus en plus sévères, plus les avions s’éloignent de l’aéroport; et pour absence d’évaluation des incidences environnementales du plan, contrairement à ce que préconisent les règles européennes.

Le secrétaire d’Etat à la Mobilité, Melchior Wathelet, a de son côté annoncé en soirée qu’il viendrait dans les prochains jours avec des solutions aux nuisances sonores des avions que subissent les Bruxellois.

Que dit l’étude?

Présentée ce lundi soir par la ministre d’Evelyne Huytebroek (Ecolo), ministre de l’Environnement à la Région bruxelloise, le nombre de Bruxellois touchés par les nuisances sonores a explosé. Pour arriver à cette conclusion, Evelyne Huytebroeck (Ecolo) avait demandé à son administration de multiplier les sonomètres sur le territoire de la capitale et de procéder à des mesures serrées du niveau du bruit des avions, de façon à pouvoir très vite établir un rapport des nuisances pour le cas échéant introduire une action en cessation environnementale. Les points de comparaison sont mars2013 et mars 2014.

L’étude a été menée par Bruxelles Environnement à l’aide des neufs sonomètres de la Région-capitale placés sous les routes aériennes et d’un dixième placé dans le quartier de la Chasse, à Etterbeek. Bruxelles Environnement a par ailleurs observé une explosion du nombre de plaintes d’habitants: 1056 entre le 6 février et le 16 avril dernier, contre seulement neuf pour le même période en 2013.



Wathelet dans la tourmente: 8 Boeing survolent Bruxelles la nuit illégalement avec la permission du cabinet

Le cabinet Wathelet est à nouveau au coeur de la tourmente concernant le survol de Bruxelles. Selon le journal Le Soir, des Boeing 777-Aerologic peuvent survoler Bruxelles de nuit alors que c’est illégal, et le cabinet est au courant.

16 Juin 2014

Huit Boeing 777-Aerologic (une “joint-venture” appartenant à DHL et Lufthansa Cargo) ont la permission de survoler Bruxelles de nuit depuis cinq mois et ce, en infraction avec la législation européenne et les règles acoustiques de l’aéroport de Zaventem, rapporte lundi Le Soir.

Pas trop de bruit?
Ces avions-cargos ne disposent pas de certification acoustique officielle requise. Le cabinet Wathelet serait au courant depuis le début de l’entorse légale, d’après Le Soir. L’administration reconnaît les libertés prises avec la loi. “Le QC maximum (quota de bruit) de ces avions n’aurait pas dû leur permettre de voler de nuit, mais cette décision de la DGTA a permis de remplacer deux vols DHL de nuit par un seul vol du 777. On passe de 5 à 4 vols DHL par nuit, tout en respectant le quota de bruit par vol car le 777 n’est pas complètement chargé”, justifie Laurent Ledoux, président du SPF Mobilité. DHL n’a pas confirmé cette réduction de vols de nuit.


Wathelet in turmoil: 8 Boeing flying Brussels night illegally courtesy cabinet

The Wathelet cabinet is again at the heart of the turmoil on the over-flying of Brussels. According to the newspaper Le Soir, Boeing 777-Aerologic is being allowed to fly over Brussels at night, while it is illegal, and the firm is aware of this.
June 16, 2014

There is a short video on the story, but in French Link

Eight Boeing 777-Aerologic (a “joint venture” belonging to DHL and Lufthansa Cargo) are allowed to fly over Brussels at night for five months and, in breach of European legislation and noise rules of Brussels Zaventem airport, Le Soir reported on Monday.

Not too loud?
These freighters do not have the official noise certification required.  The Wathelet cabinet would have know since the beginning of the legal tussle, according to Le Soir. The administration recognizes the liberties being taken with t he law. “The maximum QC (noise quota) of these aircraft would not have been allowed to fly at night, but this decision DGTA has replaced two flights DHL night by a single flight of 777.  Were from 5 DHL 4 flights per night, while respecting the noise quota per flight for the 777 is not fully charged “justifies Laurent Ledoux, President of the FPS Mobility.  DHL has not confirmed this reduction of night flights.







Protest in Brussels as new flight paths over-fly new areas, giving some respite to those previously heavily over-flown

In Brussels there has, for a long time, been a problem because of the division between the French speaking south of the city, and the  Flemish speaking north. The airport is to the north east of the city, and traditionally the people living to the north have complained bitterly that they have had a disproportionate number of flights, while many affluent areas to the south have had no over-flying. From the 6th February the government has brought in new flight paths, which disperse take-offs towards the west, so more fly over the areas to the south of the city. Flights start at 6am and continue to 11pm, though the new routes are meant to not be used for Saturday evening and during Sunday, if there isn’t  a strong westerly wind. There has been huge protest in Brussels about this change, with furious citizens incensed that their peace, and their quality of life has been reduced. The changes have brought some relief to the other areas which previously took more than their fair share of the noise. Petitions and protests have been set up, and it is uncertain what will happen next.  The situation is complicated by Belgian politics, and the separate interests of Flemish and Walloon sections of society.https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=20890….



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Over 4,000 take part in Frankfurt’s 100th protest evening – including supporters from Heathrow and Gatwick

The 4th runway at Frankfurt airport was opened in October 2011. The flightpaths for this runway overfly thousands of residents in the Frankfurt, many of whom had not  previously been overflown. They suddenly found the noise of aircraft overhead every few minutes, relentlessly (day after day, week after week) for most of the day intolerable. Other areas were also affected by changes to flight paths.  Ever since the opening, the people of Frankfurt have absolutely refused to accept this, and have campaigned continuously and relentlessly. They hold unique and remarkable protests, almost every Monday night, in the airport terminal. These are attended by well over 1,000 people, every time. On 19th May,  the 100th airport terminal protest was held, with around 4,000 (maybe more) protesters.  Some campaigners from the Heathrow and Gatwick campaigns went out (by train) to show solidarity and share this remarkable achievement with their German friends. John Stewart, Chair of HACAN and of AirportWatch, addressed the protest, saying they were making aviation history, and the tenacity, persistence and determination  of the opposition to Frankfurt flights is increasingly a matter of concern to the aviation industry.



Below are some photos of the protest, and links to videos.

YouTube film :    This is a video of part of the 2 hour protest, with the speeches. All in German, except John Stewart’s 2 minute address.  Mention of the British visitors to the protest is at about 10 minutes in, and John’s speech at about 11 – 13 minutes in.   http://youtu.be/LVOh_3E3bBw  

This flim is longer and shows more of the  protest     http://youtu.be/Cdk_XQmZiqs

Also another Link to a video on the occasion of the 100th Monday Demonstration against aircraft noise at Frankfurt Airport  http://youtu.be/JTYWrjQHSJ4


This is the Frankfurt theme song

The song the which the protesters sing – loudly – at their Monday evening airport terminal invasions. With a very catchy chorus  “Unsere Forderung wird immer lauter Die Landebahn muss weg” means “Our challenge is getting louder. The Runway Must Go”.


DSCF9513 John and Sally in need of earplugs

John Byng and Sally Pavey, from Gatwick, wishing they had bought earplugs against the din. Most of the Frankfurt participants, (banging drums, tooting whistles, blowing horns, singing ….) take the precaution of the earplugs.  The protests aim to attack noise with noise ….


James and Sally displaying our t-shirts – supporting the Frankfurt protest.

DSCF9507 John Byng with the witches

John Byng from Gatwick with ladies objecting to the aircraft noise, with tambourines, balloons and  wicked hats.

DSCF9511The UK banner sets off to march round the terminal

The Heathrow and  Gatwick banner sets off – with a thousand or so others  – on its not-so-sedate tour around the entire airport terminal complex, with drums, whistles, music and lively  chanting of “Die Landebahn muss  weg”, which means “The  [Frankfurt ] runway must go.”

DSCF9543 Tamsin and Sarah with the banner

Tamsin and Sarah on their turn to take the banner as it joined in the procession around the airport


The German version of the t-shirts of the British visitors.


The English version of the t- shirts of the British visitors


DSCF9528 some of the crowd

Part of the crowd.  Each of the areas affected by aircraft noise has its own placard, expressing their opposition to the noise. “Fluglarm” means aircraft noise.   “Fluglarm macht krank” on a lot of the banners and placards, means “aircraft noise makes you ill.

These ordinary, peaceful, law abiding Germans feel sufficiently furious about the noise that they have kept up these protests for about two and a half years. Many, or most, have turned out almost every Monday – with this the 100th time. They have absolutely no intention of stopping either.

Photo_of_John_S_speaking (3)

John Stewart addressing the protesters, after the presenter gave a warm welcome to the British and Dutch protesters, from Heathrow, Gatwick and Schiphol campaigns, who had come to join in the 100th protest. John said the Frankfurt protesters had made history by continuing to protest for so long. He added that the extent and the determination of the Frankfurt protests have bothered the aviation industry, especially as the opposition to the new runway and its flight paths shows no sign of diminishing.

DSCF9556 Crowd listening to speeches

A small section of the crowd, listening to the speeches. Generally a different area affected by noise help organise the weekly protests in turn, sharing the responsibility and work.

The strength of feeling about the hated aircraft noise is made plain by the sheer scale of the protests. This number of responsible, mild mannered citizens do not take up weekly  protests unless they feel very strongly, and very passionately indeed, about the cause.

DSCF9550 John Stewart with the singing air hostesses

John Stewart with two of the singing air hostesses, who sang lively anti-runway songs.

Plane_hat smaller

Example of creative Frankfurt anti-runway head gear.


DSCF9559_all_the_UK_group_with_friends_at_the_end (1)

The UK group with German friends at the end of the 100th Frankfurt protest

DSCF9565_group_photo_in_restaurant_with_banner_added   1

After supper, with good German beer, and some German-English t-shirt swapping – Heathrow, Gatwick and Frankfurt campaigners  …. celebrating the 100th protest.



Links to videos on the occasion of the 100th Monday Demonstration against aircraft noise at Frankfurt Airport: 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdk_XQmZiqs 2014-05-19 Frankfurt Airport: 100 Monday demonstration against the expansion, speeches I

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVOh_3E3bBw 2014-05-19 Frankfurt Airport: 100 Monday demonstration against the expansion, speeches II 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzy4_2Jbd00 2014-05 -19 Frankfurt Airport: 100 Monday demonstration against the expansion, Terminal Demo I 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7yTKgfoUwk 2014-05-19 Frankfurt Airport: 100 Monday demonstration against the expansion, Terminal II Demo 

https:// www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-YD99wp5js 2014-05-19 Frankfurt Airport: 100 Monday demonstration against the expansion, demo in front of Terminal I




More news about Frankfurt and the protests at    Frankfurt Airport







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“Gatwick Obviously” adverts on the tube not merely subvertised but now substituted

 Gatwick airport has produced a huge number of adverts, on bill boards, on underground stations, and on underground trains. The campaign must have cost a vast amount of money. The theme of the adverts has been “Gatwick Obviously” in their attempt to influence first the thinking of the Airports Commission, and then also the next Government – which will have to decide what to do with the Commission’s report after summer/autumn 2015. The Gatwick adverts have suffered from being subvertised, but on Monday 19th around 200 on the underground were replaced with substitutes – by Plane Stupid. The temptation must just have  been too strong ….  Earlier the ad canpaign had the misfortune to have plastered the walls of Bank and Westminster stations, on the two days of the tube strike in April.



Gatwick Obviously  1


This is one of the Gatwick adverts.









and here is another:

Gatwick advert













And here is another:

Gatwick advert about M25










Below is one of the Plane Stupid substitutes that were put up across the underground, with a total of 200 of the adverts being changed over.













The Gatwick adverts have also been subvertised in various ways.

Such as:

Gatwick Seriously












Gatwick fine the size it is














Gatwick and the Heathrow M25












“Gatwick Obviously” poster subvertised into ” Gatwick Seriously?”

29.4.2014   “ A new runway at Gatwick could be ready by 2025, bringing huge economic benefits to its owners, while you get more traffic, more noise and a new town the size of Crawley. And they say it’s the obvious choice.”  Gatwick Obviously  1  Spot the differences.  Gatwick Seriously (Box 4 refers to the only way, on the Gatwick consultation form, it is possible to express opposition to any of the airport’s runway schemes).





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Anti-third runway campaigners “put the boot in” at Westminster with a protest football game

Protesters – from the villages of Harmondsworth and Longford (to be destroyed by Heathrow’s 3rd runway plan) played a protest football game on the green outside the Houses of Parliament. This was to highlight the “broken promises” of David Cameron over his “No ifs, no buts, no third runway” commitment to no expansion at Heathrow at the last election. The residents of the 2 villages feel they have been “kicked into the long grass” over new Heathrow expansion plans.  The villagers travelled from west London too Westminster with Channel 5 TV cameras in tow, to set up their jumpers for goalposts on the green overlooked by Parliament. The team wore England shirts, with past quotes from senior politicians affirming cross-party opposition to a third runway emblazoned on their backs.The football organiser said “We will practice our kicking into the long grass, and our U-turns. The Conservative Government made promises that there would be no third runway before they were elected, and now it looks like they are going back on their word. If we can’t believe them on this issue, how can we believe them about anything?”


Anti-third runway campaigners put the boot in at Westminster

Protestors played a football game on the green outside the Houses of Parliament, to highlight the “broken promises” of David Cameron over his ‘no ifs, no buts’ commitment to no expansion at Heathrow

Anti third runway going to protest at House of Commons photographed at High Street, Harmondsworth. L-R: Justine Bayley, Stan Woods, Neil Keveren, and David Durston.

HEATHROW villagers who feel they have been “kicked into the long grass” over new Heathrow expansion plans had a protest football game outside the House of Commons.

The group travelled to Westminster this morning (Friday), with Channel 5 TV cameras in tow, to set up their jumpers for goalposts on the green overlooked by Parliament, and take a stand against the government’s changing stance on a third runway.

The team wore England shirts, with past quotes from senior politicians affirming cross-party opposition to a third runway emblazoned on their backs.

Amongst them is David Cameron’s now-infamous pledge in 2009 that a third runway would not go ahead, “no ifs, no buts.”

Two Heathrow expansion options – a third runway to the north west of the existing airport, over Harmondsworth and Longford, and the extension of the northern runway to the west – are being considered by the Airports Commission, set up by the government to assess and recommend the best way to increase hub airport capacity in the south east.

The Commission is due to advise on their preferred option next summer, after the general election.

A second runway at Gatwick is a third option on the table.

The protest was organised by Harmondsworth resident Neil Keveren, who said: “We brought with us people from all the villages that would be affected. We will practice our kicking into the long grass, and our u-turns.

“The Conservative Government made promises that there would be no third runway before they were elected, and now it looks like they are going back on their word.

“If we can’t believe them on this issue, how can we believe them about anything? We have been ignored for too long, and we just want to exercise our free speech and let our political leaders know that they should stand by their word.

“Sipson has been reprieved this time, but Harmondsworth and Longford would be destroyed.”





No ifs No buts


Actual text from Conservative election leaflet for the May 2010 election.                                   Full leaflet at  http://www.electionleaflets.org/leaflets/full/b58fa8c95aec5d810bfe2ebb16bcbf91/





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Aviation lobby form new pressure group, “Runways UK” with large conference in January

The aviation industry must be a bit alarmed about its prospects of getting another runway, or more than one, in the south east of England.  It has formed a new lobbying organisation, this one being called Runways UK, in order to fight its case and put pressure on government and political  parties to get building, after 2015. They plan to hold a large conference (“an entirely impartial event”) in London, on 16th January 2014, which they are calling the inaugural Runways UK. This will be shortly after the Airports Commission makes its interim report, in December, on whether new runway capacity is actually needed, and which schemes to short list for further detailed consideration. The conference will be very pricey, if the cost of sponsoring part of it is anything to go by. Tickets are not yet on sale. They intend to hold a similar conference annually. The lobby group says of its advisory board that it  “comprises a combination of luminaries, appropriate institutions and associations and commercial partners” including its Chair, Baroness Brenda Dean (trade unionist), Baroness Jo Valentine, Chief Executive of London First, and Michèle Dix, Managing Director of Planning at TfL. Plus many aviation lobby executives.



Runways UK: Airport Infrastructure for a Future Britain

the information below is from their website at http://www.runwaysuk.com/about-runways-uk

Runways UK is centred around the aviation capacity issues currently facing the United Kingdom

On 2nd November 2012 the Government launched an Airports Commission chaired by Sir Howard Davies, an eminent British economist. The role of the Commission is to examine the need for additional UK airport capacity and to recommend to government how this can be met in the short, medium and long term. It is due to submit its final report to government mid-2015, however an interim report is due by the end of 2013, which will deal with the following:

  • making an assessment of the scale, nature and timing of the UK’s airport capacity needs
  • producing recommendations on making the best use of existing capacity within the next 5 years
  • identifying those proposals for the medium term and for providing new capacity in the long term which merit further exploration by the commission, in advance of its final 2015 report

The inaugural Runways UK will take place shortly after the release of this Interim Report. This one-day event is about reconciling government, infrastructure and the transport industries together under one roof, in a neutral environment, to debate its output and help catalyse the solutions. Specifically it will provide a platform for the short-listed concepts to present their schemes publically in a structured and comparable format which will enable delegates to assess each one against the Commission’s own sift criteria. Each scheme owner will be rigorously challenged against these criteria by both a panel of independent experts and the audience.

Going forward Runways UK will become an annual event which will evolve with the progress of the Commission initially and thereafter with the development and delivery of the solutions it identifies as viable options for meeting the UK’s international connectivity needs in the short, medium and long term.


Runways UK

This inaugural event is timed to be the first public forum for discussion and debate following the release of the Airport Commission’s interim report due to be published in December 2013. In excess of 50 potential long term solutions were submitted to the Commission by the July deadline. In the report that number will be whittled down substantially to a short list of those options which are considered to merit further development into 2014. The format of Runways UK is to line up, on a neutral stage, the owners of these short-listed schemes. Accordingly we have agreement from a number of these scheme-owners to be on standby to speak at the event.

The event will attract a uniquely large and inclusive gathering of key stakeholders and interested parties. It will be an opportunity for a serious and rigorous debate of the options on a level playing field and its overarching aim is to improve delegate understanding of key issues and thus help to move the debate forward towards a consensus.

Runways UK is being advised by a high level advisory board of individuals representing all interested parties.  This is being Chaired by The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Dean of Thornton-le Fylde.

Advisory Board

The Runways UK advisory board is designed to be a microcosm of the event itself.  It comprises a combination of luminaries. It comprises a combination of luminaries,[sic]  appropriate institutions and associations and commercial partners. Its role is to help shape the content and personality of the event as well as to ensure fair representation of the interests of all parties. The membership of the Runways UK Advisory Board is currently:

  • Chair, The Rt. Hon. The Baroness Dean of Thornton-le Fylde  (formerly Chair of Freedom to Fly!  – see article by her in 2002 below)
  • The Baroness Valentine, London First,
  • Michèle Dix, Managing Director Planning at TfL
  • LGA Representative
  • Jason Prior, Chief Executive of Planning, Design and Development at AECOM
  • Paul Harwood, Principal Strategic Planner for London and the South East at Network Rail
  • Nelson Ogunshakin OBE, Chief Executive of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering
  • Paul Wait, CEO Guild of Travel Management Companies
  • Dr. Andy Jefferson, Programme Director Sustainable Aviation
  • Philippe Forest, Country Manager UK & Ireland, International Air Transport Association
  • Michael McGhee, Founding Partner of Global Infrastructure Partners
  • Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of The Airport Operators Association
  • Dale Keller, Chief Executive of Board of Airline Representatives UK
  • John Green, Chairman of The British Aviation Group
  • Barry Humphreys, Chairman of British Air Transport Association
  • Hugh Boulter, Aviation Consultant (ex-BA Commercial and Operational Planning),
  • Paul Le Blond, President International Air Rail Organisation





Freedom to Fly, which no longer exists, was set up to lobby for an expansion of airports in the aviation white paper, which set out a framework for the development of airports in the UK.

By Brenda Dean, in 2002:

We all benefit from more air travel

The chairman of the Freedom to Fly Coalition says that the government must push ahead with expansion plans if Britain is not to lose the economic and social benefits of more air travel

Airport debate: Observer special

The number of people using UK airports has tripled in the past 20 years. Though the rate of growth is slowing, the Government forecasts that demand will double within the next 20 years. But our major airports are quickly getting full. Experts suggest we will need three new runways in the south east and more capacity elsewhere in the country to cope with rising demand and keep the economy on course. That is why the Government has launched a major consultation on where new capacity could be located.

The freedom to fly is something which we have grown to value. Air travel has opened up new horizons, both for business and holidaymakers. In 1977 we took 7 million holidays abroad. Now we take 38 million holidays abroad each year. Today ordinary people can contemplate taking the family to the Med, have a romantic weekend in Venice or even visiting grandchildren in Sydney. Flying is no longer the preserve of the wealthy.

Air travel also makes Britain accessible to tourists from overseas. Foot and Mouth Disease and September 11 brought home how valuable tourism is to Britain, to our major cities, to rural areas and a range of activities from hotels to theatres. 15% of young people flying to the UK are coming here to study, benefiting our universities and widening the exchange of views.

But air transport is also vital for the UK economy. Time is money. Modern businesses rely on fast, reliable transport both of people and high value, time sensitive goods. The UK’s highest growth industries especially, such as pharmaceuticals, communication services, finance, insurance and consultancy, depend heavily on good international transport links.

Business leaders have ranked external transport links in the top three factors in deciding company location. The wide range of destinations and frequency of flights from the UK have helped the UK become the number one European destination for inward investment.

These benefits cannot be taken for granted however. Today, many of the UK’s airports are straining to cope with this rising demand and lots of us have felt the consequences: it is harder to avoid delays, overcrowding and inconvenience. Congestion causes longer flying times, adds to pollution and prevents growth. Meanwhile Charles de Gaulle in Paris now serves more destinations than Heathrow. In fact while we were labouring through the cumbersome inquiry about a fifth terminal for passengers at two-runway Heathrow airport, the French, Germans and Dutch were busy building the fourth or fifth runways at Paris Charles de Gaulle, Frankfurt and Schipol.

The challenge for the Government is to maximise the economic and social benefits of air travel while mitigating harmful effects and environmental costs.

Of course growth must be responsible and sustainable. All human activity affects the environment. There is general agreement that aviation like all industries should meet the environmental costs it imposes, on a fair and equitable basis. Unfortunately there is a wide and sometimes wild range of estimates of what these costs amount to. The costs can be dealt with through cutting out problems at source, mitigation (e.g. noise insulation) and compensation. That is why we must encourage the aviation industry to be greener by design. And many believe that a system of tradable permits would be the best way to reduce global emissions for aircraft while permitting people to enjoy the benefits of air travel.

Britain’s air quality has vastly improved since the days of ‘pea-souper’ smog. But new tougher limits are being set by Europe. There is no argument these have to be met and everyone must be signed up to meeting them.

The system of compensation in Britain has fallen behind other countries leading to blight, worry and delay. Whatever option for new runways are chosen, there will need to be detailed discussions with the local community to minimise problems and recompense people fairly and promptly.

What will happen if capacity is not increased? The price of tickets would rise. Indeed anti-air travel campaigners want to impose £6 billion of extra taxes on air passengers – that’s about £60 on a return ticket, £340 on for family of four flying to Majorca. That would price many lower income people out of flying.

Choice would be restricted. Delays would increase. And the economy would suffer. Inward investment would be deterred. And jobs would be at risk.

The Government should be congratulated for thinking about the long term future and grasping this nettle, when so many of its predecessors dithered and delayed. It will be tough to decide where to put new capacity. As consumers, business people and workers we benefit from the freedom to fly and a strong economy. But we must also look after the environment.

Whatever the Government decides it will not be able to please everyone. But at least people will be able to plan ahead, knowing what the future holds. And let’s hope the Government strikes the right balance between the economic, social and environmental issues, the national interest and the local concerns which will be best for Britain in future decades

· Brenda Dean chairs the Freedom to Fly Coalition which is [was]  a broad-based campaign bringing together air users, business, tourism, trade unions, airports and airlines. Its goal is to support sustainable growth in air travel.

See www.freedomtofly.co.uk for more information.


….. so she hasn’t changed much over the intervening 11 years …………..


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Notre-Dame-des-Landes: 1,000 kites “occupy” the sky – symbolic of opponents’ determination to keep it free of planes

On Sunday 4th August, as many as 8,000 people gathered at Notre Dame des Landes as part of a weekend of protest against the planned new airport for Nantes.  People have again come from all over France to show their support for the airport opposition. In the morning, they flew some 1,000 or so kites, many that had been made in preceding weeks and many with slogans on them. The aim of the kite flying was symbolically to occupy the skies and show that the skies above the Notre Dame des Landes bocage countryside (the site chosen for the kite flying is due to be an airport terminal) are free; the campaigners intend these skies to remain free from planes. Some of the kites read, in French,  “Pour que nos libertés occupent le ciel” and “Le ciel libre aux hommes libres” (“For our freedom occupy the sky”, “Free sky to free men” ). The two day gathering had a festival atmosphere, with music (musicians playing under a sign that read “Un aéroport à NDDL, jamais !”) and also lectures and speeches.  ACIPA has been organized a summer gathering for 13 years on the same site, but this was the largest yet.  



And there is a short video clip (2 minutes) of the kites, the gathering and the music at

Un millier de cerf-volants ont été lâchés dans le ciel

Notre-Dame-des-Landes: Opponents’ “occupy the sky “

4.8.2013  ( 20minutes.fr)

ECOLOGY – Thousands of people gathered Sunday to say no to airport Notre-Dame-des-Landes in a festive atmosphere …

An armada of kites against Airbus and Boeing:  opponents of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project, which gathered thousands of supporters this weekend north of Nantes, chose to occupy the skies too, to influence the government.

Keep the air space

On a vast field of freshly harvested wheat there are concerts and conferences until Sunday evening, with the organizers working to make a thousand kites designed to symbolically keep the airspace above the Nantes countryside.

On the ground, two young women squatting write a message on a large red and white triangular kite “so that our freedoms occupy the sky.” “The open sky to free men,” reads one of these messages.

The ACIPA, the leading association of historical opponents of the airport project in the 1960s, claimed more than 8,000 participants in festive gathering Saturday from 20:00, while the prefecture of Loire-Atlantique were counted between 3500 -4 000 three hours earlier.

The ACIPA, which has organized this summer gathering for 13 years on the site which is planned for the future airport terminal, have never done things on such a large scale, with a bloated security service, capitals, and a giant scene which musicians parading under a sign proclaiming “An airport NDDL, never! “.  (“Un aéroport à NDDL, jamais !”)

Tryo and Sanseverino

Other festival-goers were expected  to attend the concerts of musicians known as Tryo and Sanseverino until late Sunday night.  Many artists have rallied since the police attempted to evacuate the site in October to make way for excavators, observes Julien Durand, spokesman for the ACIPA.

This initiative has boosted the fight against the project entrusted construction group Vinci, and which should have been ready in 2017. At that point the government requested additional studies on the project and the police withdrew in April.

“Another model of society”

“The symbolism of this place is the resistance,” told AFP jazzman Lubat Bernard, a former musician Claude Nougaro happened Saturday. The mindset that prevails in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, “I knew the Larzac,” recalls the musician, who made the connection with jazz “music revolt of people who are released of slavery. ”

The rally saw as a separate society, where money does not reign. “It’s good to be with people who have the same desires, the same ideas, the same visions of society,” says Nicolas Dhervaux, 33, came from nearby Morbihan with his girlfriend Marie-Cécile, Assistant to education like him in a vocational school.

Access to the festival is free, but spectators are strongly encouraged on their arrival to contribute towards expenses. “People give an average of between 5 and 20 euros,” says Miriam, cashier installed in a trailer at the entrance. “It sometimes goes up to 50 euros, people are very generous,” she said.

Ayrault in the crosshairs

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault , Mayor of Nantes and former strong supporter of the airport project, is in the crosshairs. “It would be better to recognize that he lost on that shot,” slice Maria Theresa, a native of the nearby village of retired Bouvron, which carries a sticker with the words “Not to the airport and to the world” .

“We came here to defend our farmers colleagues. But the fundamental issue is calling for another model of society, “says the old farmer, who said he campaigned for the first time against the airport project” 43 years ago. ”

But nobody dares to comment on the government’s intentions. “Mystery,” says Marie-Therese.



.Original article in French:

ECOLOGIE – Des milliers de personnes se rassemblent ce dimanche pour dire non à l’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes dans une ambiance festive…

Une armada de cerfs-volants contre des Airbus et des Boeing: les opposants au projet d’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, qui ont rassemblé des milliers de sympathisants ce week-end au nord de Nantes, ont choisi d’occuper aussi le ciel pour faire plier le gouvernement.

Garder l’espace aérien

Sur l’immense champ de blé fraîchement moissonné où sont organisés concerts et conférences jusqu’à dimanche soir, les organisateurs s’activent à confectionner un millier de cerfs-volants destinés à garder symboliquement l’espace aérien au dessus du bocage nantais.

A même le sol, deux jeunes femmes accroupies écrivent un message sur un grand cerf-volant triangulaire rouge et blanc «pour que nos libertés occupent le ciel». «Le ciel libre aux hommes libres», peut-on lire sur un de ces messages.

L’Acipa, la principale association d’opposants historiques au projet d’aéroport qui remonte aux années 1960, a revendiqué plus de 8.000 participants au rassemblement festif à compter de samedi 20h00, tandis que la préfecture de Loire-Atlantique en avait dénombré entre 3.500 et 4.000 trois heures plus tôt.

L’Acipa, qui organise ce rassemblement estival depuis 13 ans sur le site prévu pour la future aérogare, n’avait jamais fait les choses en aussi grand, avec un service d’ordre pléthorique, des chapiteaux, des secouristes et une scène géante sur laquelle défilent les musiciens sous un panneau proclamant «Un aéroport à NDDL, jamais !»

Tryo et Sanseverino

D’autres festivaliers étaient attendus dimanche jusque tard dans la nuit pour assister aux concerts de musiciens connus comme Tryo et Sanseverino. Beaucoup d’artistes se sont mobilisés depuis que les forces de l’ordre ont tenté d’évacuer le site en octobre pour laisser la place aux pelleteuses, observe Julien Durand, porte-parole de l’Acipa.

Cette initiative a relancé la lutte contre le projet confié au groupe de BTP Vinci et qui doit voir le jour en 2017. Au point que le gouvernement a demandé des études complémentaires sur le projet et retiré les gendarmes en avril.

«Un autre modèle de société»

«La symbolique de ce lieu, c’est la résistance», confie à l’AFP le jazzman Bernard Lubat, un ancien musicien de Claude Nougaro qui s’est produit samedi. L’état d’esprit qui règne à Notre-Dame-des-Landes, «je l’ai connu au Larzac», se souvient le musicien, qui fait le lien avec le jazz, «musique de révolte de gens qui se sont libérés de l’esclavage».

Le rassemblement se vit comme une société à part, où l’argent ne règne pas. «Ca fait du bien de se retrouver avec des gens qui ont les mêmes envies, les mêmes idées, les mêmes visions de la société», confie Nicolas Dhervaux, 33 ans, venu du Morbihan voisin avec sa copine Marie-Cécile, assistante d’éducation comme lui dans un lycée professionnel.

L’accès au festival est gratuit, mais les spectateurs sont fortement incités à participer aux frais à leur arrivée. «Les gens donnent en moyenne entre cinq et 20 euros», témoigne Myriam, caissière installée dans une caravane à l’entrée. «Ca va parfois jusqu’à 50 euros, les gens sont très généreux», dit-elle.

Ayrault dans le collimateur

Le Premier ministre Jean-Marc Ayrault, ancien maire de Nantes et fervent partisan du projet d’aéroport, est dans le collimateur. «Il ferait mieux de reconnaître qu’il a perdu sur ce coup-là», tranche Marie-Thérèse, une retraitée originaire du proche village de Bouvron, qui porte un autocollant avec la mention «Non à l’aéroport et à son monde».

«On est venus défendre nos copains paysans. Mais la question de fond, c’est qu’on réclame un autre modèle de société», explique cette ancienne agricultrice, qui dit avoir milité pour la première fois contre le projet d’aéroport «il y a 43 ans».

Mais personne ne se risque à se prononcer sur les intentions du gouvernement. «Mystère», résume Marie-Thérèse.




And a slightly longer version in Liberation at http://www.liberation.fr/societe/2013/08/04/notre-dame-des-landes-les-opposants-occupent-le-ciel_922684



Notre-Dame-des-Landes: opponents occupy the sky

Opponents of the proposed airport in western France have chosen to release a thousand kites in the sky of Notre-Dame-des-Landes this morning .

  • Fabienne Beranger
  • Posted on 04/08/2013  (Pays de la Loire)
© Christine Vilvoisin - France 3 Pays de la Loire
© Christine Vilvoisin – France 3 Pays de la Loire

This gesture is listed as one of the highlights of the now traditional summer gathering organized by the anti-airport. A way for them to occupy the sky to make the government of this airport project, “Thousand Kites, to assert that the sky at Notre Dame will remain free!”  announces ACIPA.

See the video

NDDL: release of kites

The kites were made ​​throughout the week by volunteers.  “For our freedom occupy the sky”, “Free sky to free men” are some of the messages that can be read on these kites. The summer anti-airport gathering today continues on Sunday with debates and concerts. Tryo Lo’Jo or Sanseverino share including the scene today. 5,000 people attended the event on the site yesterday.

On the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Saturday, Aug. 3 © JEAN-SEBASTIEN Evrard / AFP
© JEAN-SEBASTIEN Evrard / AFP On the site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Saturday, Aug. 3











Some earlier news about the Nantes airport campaign:

Nearly 40,000 people form a 25km human chain surrounding site of proposed new Nantes airport

May 12, 2013 Mission accomplished for the opponents of Notre-Dame-des-Landes: from France entirely, they could circle the contested site.

A huge number of protesters from across France organised themselves into a human chain in the early afternoon on Saturday. There are likely to have been almost 40,000 though the authorities give a lower attendance figure. The human chain surrounded the site of the proposed new Nantes airport, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, with its two planned runways and new passenger terminal. The airport has been intended as a replacement for the current Nantes airport. Large numbers of people had come long distances to be there, many travelling overnight by bus, and then shared their picnics in a good natured event with a festive, but determined, spirit. The opponents of the new airport say that it is not needed, the economic arguments don’t stack up, it will increase carbon emissions, and will destroy valuable farmland and biodiversity. At the moment, the project is considerably delayed, but it is still going ahead. Its opponents want it stopped, and they show no sign of reducing their intense opposition.    Click here to view full story…  with many more photos …

Dialogue Commission on Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport reports: project delayed but confirmed

April 10, 2013    The dialogue commission looking into the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project at Nantes has produced its report. There were also two reports on the impact on water and wetland and impact on local agriculture. The commission has said that substantial adjustments are needed to the original draft of new airport designed to replace the existing Nantes Atlantique airport. This means there is an indefinite postponement. It had been planned to open in 2017. The dialogue commission has had to decide on the usefulness of the project , and also on changes and improvements needed ​​to the project, to which is strongly opposed locally – and also by many across France. There now needs to be a new assessment of redevelopment costs of the existing Nantes Atlantique airport, and whether it could be adapted to take larger planes. Also the impact of a new airport on other airports nearby. The commission has questionned the way in which wetland would be dealt with, and the impact of loss of farms and farmland. Opponents now believe their concerns and opposition has been vindicated, but they will continue to occupy the land and fight the plans.     Click here to view full story…



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