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Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 15:58:42 +0100
From: Road Alert!
Subject: messages

Dear friends,

We have received a request for support from the groups that are opposing the building of a second runway at Manchester Airport. At the moment evictions of the action camps are taking place. The Coalition Against Runway 2 (CAR2) asks groups all over Europe to send a protest letter to Mr. John Prescott, the new labour Minister for Environment and Transport.

In this fax/email you will find background material about the activities of CAR2 and a sample for a protest letter, to be send to Mr. Prescott.

We hope that as many of you as possible will react to this request. At the 'Right Price for Air Travel' Seminar, March this year, we agreed that groups in different countries should start supporting each others' struggles. This is one of the first opportunities to do so.

If you send any protest letters, please inform CAR2 and FoE Netherlands about this. You can reach them under these addresses:
FoE Netherlands, Paul de Clerck, tel: 31-20-6221366, fax: - 6275287 or
Coalition Against Runway 2, Colin Howden, tel: 44 161 8348221, fax: 8348187 or

Best wishes,

Paul de Clerck
FoE Netherlands

Background information

Resist Manchester Airport's Second Runway: Fax action on British Government

The Coalition Against Runway 2 (CAR2) was formed to oppose the construction of the proposed second runway at Manchester Airport. CAR2 comprises environmental groups such as Manchester Friends of the Earth, Earth First!, the Green Party and local residents' groups, and individuals from round the UK who also realise how destructive Manchester Airport PLC's plans are.

Manchester Airport PLC was given permission by the British Environment and Transport ministers in January this year to go ahead with the construction of a second runway. If the runway is constructed, it will be the most environmentally-damaging development the North West of England has seen this century. More than twice as much land as was ruined by the notorious Newbury Bypass road-building project will disappear under a three-kilometre long runway.

The impact of the proposed runway will affect not just the land to be destroyed and enclosed, but also extends across the surrounding regions, and indeed worldwide. The proposed increase in flights will lead to more road traffic, and as a result more road-building; the stone required for construction of the runway will lead to destruction of other land through quarrying; the runway itself will be accompanied by further damaging and unsustainable out-of-town retail and office developments on surrounding greenbelt land. All will lead to further increases in air and noise pollution for surrounding residents.

Air transport generated by the expansion of Manchester Airport will also have more far-reaching effects adding to ozone depletion and climate change. One recent study has estimated that if the Airport grows as planned, carbon dioxide emissions from the Airport by the year 2020 could exceed emissions from all other sources in the regional catchment area. Recent studies have also suggested that proposed new generations of supersonic airliners could have serious implications for stratospheric ozone.

In late January a series of protest camps were set up on the route of the proposed runway. Defences such as treehouses, lock-ons and tunnel systems were constructed, with up to 150 people staying at the camps. The response of the 'Forces of Darkness' has been to encircle the camps with a seven-foot security fence surrounded by private security guards, in a show of intimidation never seen before at an environmental protest site. A series of actions have also been carried out such as disrupting the celebration dinner the Airport held, while one weekend much of the security fencing mysteriously fell down. A number of protest marches and fundays were also arranged, while most of the UK's media believed our April Fool joke that one protester was to stand for Parliament, on a Never Mind the Ballots' ticket!

The evictions of the camps began in the early hours of May 20th. At the time of writing (June 4th) all of the treehouses on route had been cleared from the camps 'Zion Tree', 'Ewok Tree Village/Jimi Hendrix', 'Wild Garlic', 'Sir Cliff Richard OBE Vegan Revolution Penguin Evolution', 'River Rats' and 'Flywood', leaving behind the biggest tunnel system yet constructed at an environmental protest site, the 'Cakehole' tunnel at Flywood camp. So far its four occupants have been down the tunnel for five days, just two days off the record for underground protesting so far set at the A30 road protest earlier this year. We are of the opinion that the Cakehole is near-unevictable.

The tunnellers' first demand was for an aviation fuel tax in order to make aviation reflect the cost it imposes upon the environment. The campaign against Manchester Airport's development plans will continue even after the tunnellers emerge: in Britain, air transport is at last being recognised as the environmental problem. CAR2 is now calling for a halt to the construction of the second runway pending the long-needed sustainable transport system review that the new Labour government has promised.

Please send a fax to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who now heads both the Transport and the Environment Departments, calling for a halt to the second runway until the Government has produced a Sustainable National Aviation Policy. We'd like you to send your fax coming Monday, but anytime over the next week will still do as well. Please inform us what responses you get.

John Prescott's fax number is 44 171-8904399.

A sample letter might read something this:

Sample letter

From: Your organisations name and address

To: Minister of Environment and Transport
Mr. J. Prescott
Fax: 44 171-8904399
Re: Manchester Airport's Proposed Second Runway

Place and date

Dear Mr Prescott,

We have been informed about the protest made against the proposals for a second runway at Manchester Airport. We are concerned about the destructive development plans of Manchester Airport PLC, and write in support of the protestors' actions.

We are writing to call a halt to the proposed second runway. It is clear that the impact of this development not only threatens the environment of the North West of Engeland, but due to the global impacts of aviation, the environment in our country as well. We have also been informed about the fact that the United Kingdom hasn't yet produced a Sustainable National Aviation Policy. Given the growing environmental impact of air traffic, we think that such a policy should be established before any further expansion plans are undertaken.

Air traffic is currently being subsidized by governments in several direct and indirect ways. There is f.i. no excise duty on kerosine, no VAT on tickets and hardly any environmental costs are internalised in the price of a ticket. In accordance with what EU Transport Commissionaire, Mr. Neil Kinnock, has recently emphasized again, air traffic must assume its share of the external costs.

We would ask you to confirm two points to us by return:
(1) that as matter of urgency you will call a halt to the second runway, prior to the implementation of a coherent Sustainable National Aviation Policy for the UK.
(2) the last Conservative government promised at a Climate Change conference in Geneva last summer to support and campaign for the introduction of a tax on aviation fuel. We would like to know if your government is willing to support such a tax on a European level as well.

We look forward to your reply

Yours sincerely,

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