To send a statement of support, email manchesterairportontrial[at]gmail.com or fill in our online form.
“If we allow net airport capacity to grow, we will be building problems into the future that will make it very hard, if not impossible for the UK to tackle its emissions. Campaign groups are right to highlight the issue peacefully.”
Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston
“These brave protesters were acting in their own self-defence, and in the defence of our species, by trying to prevent environmental destruction that will backfire horribly on us all. They should be cheered, not punished”
Johann Hari, Award-winning journalist and writer for the Independent
“There is a greater crime here that is being ignored, the crime of ecocide - which is killing both people and planet. One of the worst polluters of our planet is the aviation industry, which remains untaxed and free to destroy our habitat with it’s emissions. Expansion of Manchester airport will continue to cause damage and destruction to us all, both human and non-human. It begs the question: whose interests are being protected here?
We need people like these Manchester activists, people who are brave enough to stand up and risk being prosecuted for taking action where others fail to do so. The fact that they have to resort to illegal direct action to highlight the enormity of these issues is testimony to our skewered approach that fails to protect and assist the eco-whistleblowers.”
Polly Higgins, Barrister, International Environmental Lawyer and author of Eradicating Ecocide: Laws and Governance to Prevent the Destruction of our Planet.
“The likelihood of severe and rapid climate change is arguably the greatest threat facing humanity today. Nobody knows how close we are to the brink of climate chaos, or whether we have already started to fall into the abyss. But we need the kind of brave, committed and peaceful intervention taken by these six climate activists.
We cannot rely on the corporate media, including the BBC, to properly
inform the public of how and why we have ended up here, and what we as a society have to do about it. Tackling climate change seriously represents a real threat to elite interests in the corporate, financial, media, government and military sectors.
We need to challenge the mantra of endless economic growth and rampant mass consumption. We need to expose the myth that ‘our’ leaders have essentially benevolent aims and humane priorities. We should take heart from the demands in the Arab world for true democracy and demand the same here at home.
‘Democracy’ in this country will remain a sham so long as people are
immersed in a propaganda system of relentless brainwashing to promote state-corporate aims. We support, and take encouragement from, the peaceful actions of anyone who tries to raise public awareness of the issues confronting humanity, and who challenges the powerful elite interests that are threatening the very climate stability of the planet.”
David Cromwell and David Edwards. Editors, Media Lens www.medialens.org
“My home is under threat from Manchester Airport’s expansion plans. Our local councillors on the Wythenshawe Area Committee voted against the plans, but this decision was overturned by the Manchester City Council. We wanted to take it to judicial review in January 2010 – but found out we could be saddled with huge legal costs just for trying to save our home. I’ve written to leaders of the political parties but it’s been no use so far. Its good that people are taking action to support us.” Holly Johnson – Hasty Lane resident
“Britons emit more from flying than any other nation on earth, and rising emissions from aviation threaten to undermine cuts in emissions being made elsewhere. The new coalition cancelled runways at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick in response to one of the strongest civil society campaigns in recent history, but the government must go further and stop expansion at all other airports across the country to ensure that we meet our climate targets. When faced with such a situation, it is our duty as citizens to inform and encourage our representatives to do the right thing, and to do the right thing ourselves when they refuse. I commend the activists involved in this case for risking their own liberty to do the right thing at a time when those whose responsibility it was had failed them.”
John Sauven, Executive Director, Greenpeace UK
We are failing in our duty of care towards the planet and all its inhabitants. Direct action like this, by concerned earth citizens, is necessary and legitimate. I applaud the actions of the protesters. We need to change our legal system that may criminalise these brave people rather than support them in their campaign to blow the whistle on climate injustice. Melanie Strickland, Solicitor
“I support my brother David and the other activists involved for acting with courage and foresight in putting the future of our planet and species first; and for making a stand for and a commitment to what they believe in.”
Sophie Cullen, sister of David
“Without signs of credible commitment to reduce carbon emissions, which includes the impact of flying, it is inevitable that people will take direct action to bring these issues forward and therefore be taken seriously. No one wants to disrupt other people’s legitimate business but unfortunately we need this type of non-violent, peaceful protest to happen when all other routes seem closed. Those brave enough to do so deserve our support.”
Ian Roderick, Schumacher Institute for Sustainable Systems, www.schumacherinstitute.org.uk
“Climate change is a threat to us all. The present political system has proved completely incapable of acting to mitigate it because profit trumps all other considerations. Climate change would be misunderstood if just measured in carbon emissions vs. economic benefits. The human cost of airport expansion is direct and tangible, with the loss of people’s homes and biodiversity. We therefore support protest that sees environmental destruction as a result of the capitalist logic of profit.”
Plan B, Radical Routes Housing Co-operative, Manchester
“Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions and as such needs to be curbed in order to help us tackle climate change. In the absence of clear political will, using non violent direct action is an important way of trying to prevent airport expansion and I commend those taking such action in the name of environmental and social justice.”
Caroline Lucas, Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion
“Like the airport protesters, we are passionate about the need to tackle climate change urgently, particularly emissions from aviation (the fastest growing source of emissions in the UK). Tackling greenhouse gas emissions to prevent dangerous climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. Instead of expanding airports the Government must: — Issue a new aviation policy which recognises the imperative of tackling climate change and cancel plans to expand UK airports; — Press for emissions from international aviation (and shipping) to be included in the post 2012 international climate agreement; — Work with rail and video conferencing providers to improve low carbon alternatives to flying.” Stockport Friends of the Earth
Network Action Glasgow express our support for the 17 people who stood up to the aviation industry at Manchester Airport on Monday 24 May 2010. While airlines enjoy tax relief on fuel, our households are being hit bya hike in VAT rates and fuel costs; while aviation shareholders toast their profits, our communities endure noise and air pollution in our doorsteps; while airports expand, they swallow our neighbourhoods and destroy our homes.
Our communities bear the worst of the aviation industry while having least access to its products; both airport expansion and climate change disproportionately affect women, people of colour and the poorest in society. We appreciate and stand in solidarity with those who took action against the expansion of Manchester Airport and the devastation it continues to wreak on our local and global communities.
Network Action Glasgow, www.networkactionglasgow.wordpress.com
“These jolly sensible people have taken action against the aviation industry’s continual prioritisation of profit over people and the environment. For too long big business and government have enforced heavy industry on disenfranchised communities. Whether this is airport expansion in Manchester, unrefined gas pipeline building by Shell in Mayo, Ireland, or open cast coal mining by Scottish Coal in South Lanarkshire, direct action can stop this. We stand in solidarity with all those facing state prosecution as a result of this excellent action. Together we are stronger!”
The Happendon Wood Action Camp and Coal Action Scotland
“In full admiration of their civil disobedience paving the way forward in the on-going battle for climate justice, we commend the boldness and bravery of the 17 activists who shut down Manchester Airport. The links between the false economics of airport expansion, the democratic deficit permitting high-carbon industry to blight peoples’ homes in Manchester, and the blatant contradictions of airport expansion whilst averting runaway climate change can not be made loud enough, or soon enough. Until BAA and high-carbon industry are in the dock for the brutality they perpetuate, So We Stand takes a firm stance behind the 17, and applaud their compassion and integrity.”
So We Stand, Scotland
“Just as students in their tens of thousands take to the streets in defence of education, so the Manchester Airport 17 have taken action against climate change which threatens the lives of future generations. They deserve the support of us all and their courage and determination in organising and fighting is an example to be followed, not condemned.”
Geoff Brown, Secretary, Manchester Trades Union Council
“Climate change threatens our very existance. It is an issue that is of such great importance that we should all be challenging, by whatever means at our disposal, the actions of those who seek to deny, ignore, or to benefit from it.”
Denise McDowell, Director of Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit
“All over the UK, from London to Nottingham to Manchester to Aberdeen, the courts are bulging. Heaving with those prepared to put their bodies on the line to halt business-as-usual from companies polluting the air and our lungs. The atmosphere has changed. People from all walks of life are seeing the necessity in actions taken like those of the ‘Manchester on Trial defendants’. As society increasingly fails to halt disaster, taking action is no longer an exercise in finger-waggling and moral righteousness that this is simply ‘the right thing to do’ but none less than a matter of life and death.
Whether people care about clean air, biodiversity, increasing civil conflicts, corporate monopoly, political accountability or humanity surviving with dignity into the next century – all eyes are focused on supporting inspirations like those here putting Manchester airport on trial.”
Dan Glass, Climate9, www.climate9.com
“Climate change is by far and away the most terrifying threat we face. It has been shown well beyond any kind of test that man made emissions are increasing global temperature, which are already starting to have a catastrophic effect on the environment. Aviation emissions are the fastest growing, and these activists are acting overwhelmingly in the public interest to highlight and prevent the damage the aviation industry is wreaking. It is permissible in law to commit a crime to stop a greater crime being committed, and that is precisely what these activists have been doing. History will not look back and congratulate the airline industry for bravely continuing to pollute the planet, but will look back at these activists and others like them as being the only people who had the courage to actually try and prevent the catastrophic environmental disasters that await us.”
Chris Atkins, Writer and Director
“Fossil fuel emissions, and the climate change they cause, are the bi-product of an intensely energy hungry capitalist economic system based on exponential economic growth, which perceives the expansion of the aviation sector, amongst other things, as a necessary part of the dominant story. As governments gather in Cancun to emit ever more hot air on the subject of climate change without hope of coming closer to a solution, and without making any alterations to that dominant story, we should be applauding the peaceful direct action of ordinary citizens who are attempting to block airport expansion or shut down coal fired power stations. They are doing it to prevent greater damage to current and future generations. They are part of a movement that is putting forward a very different story of the future, one that is sustainable and socially just. Without this movement we are quite simply lost.”
Dr. Lucy Ford, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, Oxford Brookes
“As the effects of disastrous Climate Change are ever more visible all over the world, Manchester airport’s growth is a cause for deep concern. In recent years its growth has been rapid and unsustainable, and the brave efforts of direct activists are probably the main reason people still hear about it. Expanding our airports, and therefore the UK contribution to global damage, is selfish and short sighted. I applaud non-violent direct action – these activists are only trying to ensure a safe future for us all.”
Jenny Jones, London Assembly member and former Deputy Mayor of London
“Non violent direct action is essential to fight climate change, most politicians take an ostrich position, denying there is a problem or using ineffective methods like carbon trading to tackle it. In the same way that any sober analyst understood that the crazy practices of ‘investment’ bankers would lead to a financial crisis, any sober analyst understands that climate chaos is on its way. Those who direct action to combat this threat are heros, I would like to give my whole hearted support to the Manchester Airport seventeen”
Dr. Derek Wall, Author and Economist,Former Principle Speaker of the Green Party
“I am proud of Mark’s stand against the expansion of Manchester airport. As a country we have to find more sustainable ways of living and this includes our methods of transport. Air travel accounts for an increasing amount of CO2 emissions and so any plans to expand it seem to me to be a folly. We all have a part to play in reducing our carbon footprint; Mark and the other young people on trial with him have bravely reminded us of that by their non-violent action. They deserve our thanks and support.”
Jane Haworth -mum of Mark
“There’s a history outside the kings and queens and battles, a radical history of resistance to power, and that will never be taught in schools. Today’s deeds quickly recede into the past and we have to make the effort to make this people’s history live, and see that one generation can take inspiration and practical from what has gone before. The present campaign against Manchester Airport is also a source of inspiration to me, to keep on going, that we fight for what is right, no matter how long it takes. Seeing the new generation of activists team up and share ideas with the older one makes us all stronger and more likely to succeed.” Merrick Godhaven, campaigner against the second runway at Manchester Airport
“I remember the action against the second runway in the 1990s, and the support which the protesters received then. If we continue to expand aviation at our current rate, by 2050 it is likely to exceed the country’s total CO2 budget. It is completely hypocritical for Manchester Council to preach carbon reduction in its Climate Change Action Plan whilst continuing to expand the airport. The Council needs an urgent wake-up call: non-violent protest is not only still valid, it appears it is still needed and Manchester Green Party fully support the campaigners in their use of the defence of necessity in the fight against the threat of climate change. “Brian Candeland, Manchester Green Party Chair
“From my proud and privileged vantage-point as Mark’s dad, I have watched his passionate commitment to sustainable living intensify and mature. He now lives a life of great integrity: his lifestyle, his paid and unpaid work, and much of his conversation are all determined by his search for a way of living that will not make this planet uninhabitable for the human race. His mum and I have been inspired by his example to make many changes so as tolive a greener lifestyle.Regarding the choices he made which led to his facing these charges: he could not have chosen otherwise without breaking faith with himself and with the cause to which he has devoted his life – and what more urgent or worthy cause is there?”
Donald Haworth, for Mark Haworth from his father
“We should be thanking the people who take a stand against the expansion of Manchester airport not taking them to court. Climate change is a very real threat and so is standing by and doing nothing.”
Jacqui Burke, Greater Manchester & District CND
“In the Age of Stupid the question is asked “Why didn’t we stop climate change when we had the chance?”. Thankfully the Manchester 17 did attempt to prevent further global warning and joined a long list of committed campaigners who deserve our support. We know that switching off the lights isn’t enough. Direct Action campaigns are the way forward.” Keir Monteith, Barrister at Garden Court Chambers.
“As we have found out by working with residents who have been affected by runway expansion plans at Heathrow, the impact of airport expansion goes far beyond the environmental impacts. Aviation is the fasting growing source of greenhouse gas emissions and to even be thinking about expansion considering the looming threat of a climate catastrophe is beyond belief. At the same time, airport expansion detrimentally affects residents who live next to airports. The residents of Heathrow have suffered from the blight for many many years now and the same is now occurring in Manchester. The residents of Hasty Lane who face losing their homes are being bullied out of their homes by the airport. This is why Transition Heathrow backs the Manchester Plane Stupid activists who closed down Manchester Airport. In doing so they stood up for the climate, but also for communities across Manchester. The activists should be labelled heroes, not criminals!”
Joe Ryle,Transition Heathrow. www.transitionheathrow.com
“At a time when we witness destruction of life in dimensions confronted by no previous generation responsible citizens are called to take extraordinary measures in the defense of our biosphere. Transition City Manchester offers solidarity to these activists whose courageous and peaceful action goes some way to drawing attention to and holding accountable, those organisations and individuals culpable in the decision to expand an unsustainable enterprise in a way that will impact disastraously, both on local residents in the area and globally on vulnerable citizens in areas at risk of the consequences of increased carbon emissions.”
Katherine Barton, Transition City Manchester
“An aeroplane is a device precisely designed to disperse carbon dioxide and water vapour with great efficiency throughout the atmosphere. One third of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by the oceans. thus acidifying this important component of the biosphere, as well as exacerbating climate change. There are at least 30 thousand large commercial planes presently at work in the world – their increase in number, and the necessary expansion of the world’s airports to accommodate and fuel them, is a further assault on nature and its precarious equilibriums.
Manchester Airport has no better right to expansion than any other airport: in conformity with the city’s professed concern about climate change, this particular airport, above many others, should be planning a reduction in its activities, rather than an expansion. We at Planet-Hydrogen therefore fully support those who raise strong environmental objections to any expansion of Manchester Airport.”
Mike Koefman, Planet-Hydrogen
“Radiation Free Lakeland support the stand taken by protesters at Manchester. We oppose the planned mega expansion of Carlisle airport for freight. Every stand and Everything is interconnected. The prospect of a massive air freight expansion of Carlisle airport with the capacity to transport radioactive materials in…cluding nuclear waste over the North West is connected to the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s diabolic desire for new nuclear build. Nuclear is the pinnacle of the nasty industrial food chain and the pseudo solution to climate change. All Best Wishes!!!”
Radiation Free Lakeland
“Despite the grave threats from climate change – acknowledged by governments throughout the world – our own government refuses to do anything beyond token gestures. It therefore becomes the people’s responsibility to take action to protect our world. These seventeen activists are among the growing number of people prepared to act in defence of the planet that we all rely on for our lives. They have our full support.”
Lancaster Earth First
“The aviation industry does catastrophic damage to our climate: that is not up for question. Yet our political representatives, on both a local and national level, seem intent on pursuing airport expansion in the name of economic growth. The future generations will not thank us for our brief, unsustainable economic growth: they will blame us for ruining the planet.
The individuals who closed down Manchester Airport last May were doing something incredibly brave – they put themselves on the line to do what was right. Non-violent direct action is not only justifiable in the face of a broken political system – it is a necessity. And yet it takes incredible courage to take such a principled stance. That is why I give my unwavering support to these brave individuals, and hope that the legal system will learn to focus its attention on those who are doing the real damage.”
Simon Bradley, Manchester Climate Action
“Abundance Manchester fully supports the non-violent civil disobedience taken by the Manchester Airport activists in the fight for climate justice. Expanding air travel capacity at this critical point in the fight against catastrophic climate change is unjustifiable. As a response to this, the activists’ actions were both brave and completely justified. ”
“We are on the brink of climate meltdown, which is already causing huge suffering and destruction to humans and wildlife around the world. Expanding airports is not a good strategy for dealing with this reality. We fully support the 17 activists who were willing to get out there and try to do something about it. That our legal system will now seek to punish these people for trying to take a step in a positive direction is absurd. Good luck from everyone at the Highfield Eco Allotment Project for the trial!”
Highfield Eco Allotment Project (HEAP)
“If nobody protested there would be no end to the exploitation of the environment for profit. Slowing down movement over the worlds surface seems like a really good thing, even if they did only manage a little of it for a while. They should be congratulated, not prosecuted.”
“It is widely accepted that climate change and the devastation of our natural environment are happening under our noses, accelerated by irresponsible corporate activities and government inaction. Time and again major corporations the world over, from BAA to EDF, from BP to Areva, put profit ahead of any genuine concern for the future of the planet or its inhabitants. People can and should take nonviolent direct action to put a stop to these criminally irresponsible activities – from deep water oil drilling to the false solution of nuclear power plant construction – the effects of which will be felt by people around the world for generations to come. We therefore offer our full support for the Manchester Airport on Trial defendants.”
Stop Nuclear Power Network
“The 17 were acting in the interests of everyone not in the interests of the few, there’s no need to go to trial for that, it’s called social responsibility.”
Gary Anderson, The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home
“The New Internationalist Co-operative supports the actions of the group of activists on trial for temporarily shutting down Manchester Airport. We have covered the issue of climate change in the pages of our magazine for years, and reported on the already devastating impacts it is having on people in the Majority World who bear little responsibility for its causes and yet will suffer most from its consequences. (See, for example, ‘Power Politics’ by Jess Worth).
We have come to the conclusion that direct action in industrialised countries – to stop emissions at their source and highlight the need for urgent and ambitious changes to our economies – is a vital tactic in the struggle to bring about a fair and rapid transition to a zero carbon world. For this reason, we believe that the actions of the protesters were both valid and to be applauded.”
The New Internationalist Co-operative
“Brave women took action and got me the vote; brave black people worked to oppose apartheid and won. Thanks for your bravery and non violent action on behalf of our children and the future of the planet. The magistrates must recognise your action is justified.”
Margaret Westbrook, Trafford Green Party
“My whole experience of trying to keep my three children alive in a society that has got a price for everything but regards human life as having very little value has enabled me to really appreciate the commitment of the young people involved in ‘plane stupid’ who are trying to save our planet and its people. I find it so sad that we as a country have become so brutalised that our modern day heroes are regarded as criminals and put on trial. In my view the biggest crime in our country is the ignorance of the British people who have been made to believe that climate change is fiction and not fact. This reminds of the fable of the ostrich that buried its head in the sand and kept saying, ‘peek a boo’ ‘peek a boo’ you can’t see me, ‘peek a boo’ peek a boo’ this has got nothing to do with me. Unknown to the ostrich the sand that it had buried its head in was contaminated and so it lost all its feathers and died from exposure.”
Cathy McCormack, Organiser with So We Stand and author
“I have been to many protests over the years for various causes close to my heart. In a civilised, democratic society, we all should have the right to protest for which ever cause we are passionate about. Having worked closely on the JUSTICE4BOLTON campaign, and seeing the number of peaceful protesters criminalised by the legal system, it is time we stood together to fight for our democratic rights. In recent weeks we have seen 14 year old school children attacked and kettled in by police; we have seen protesters attacked by the people paid to protect them. This criminalisation of protesters needs to be stopped. I fully support your campaign and hope you get the justice you rightly deserve”.
Lindsay Bessel, Justice4Bolton spokesperson
“Thousands of people are dying every year due to extreme weather events and disease caused by climate change. If we fail to tackle climate change, by pursuing the growth of polluting activities such as continuing to drive aviation expansion, then thousands more people, and the ecosystems which support us, will suffer from the impacts of climate change. People all over the world, many of whom will be those who have done the least to cause climate change, stand to lose their homes, their land, their families and even their lives. This is not acceptable.
In the face of this threat, there are some who could make a difference, but instead, choose to sit back and let it happen, continuing with the old, carbon intensive ways.I stand in solidarity with the Manchester Airport protestors who have refused to sit back and do nothing. Global warming is the greatest challenge facing our generation. We must act and we must act now.”
Kate Eldridge, Stockport
“As a Geography teacher, I spend many hours teaching my students about sustainability. It seems a great pity therefore that instead looking more at sustainable transport, we immediately think about the expansion of the most unsustainable transport method of them all. Surely the Manchester area is already saturated with air traffic and it’s related environmental impacts? It’s time to commit to other methods and give the airspace above Manchester some breathing space.”
Jane Booth, Geography teacher
“Manchester Airport is owned by the 10 local authorities of Greater Manchester. Manchester City Council owns 55%, with the other 9 councils owning 5% each. While the airport’s ground operations are relatively “green”, the airport is refusing to take responsibility for any proportion of the emissions of the planes taking off, flying or landing, on the pretext that there is no internationally agreed way of sharing out these emissions between the origin and destination of a flight. But this will change, and as majority owner of the Airport, Manchester City Council will have to take ownership of a proportion of the aviation emissions. Including these extra emissions will make its ambitious carbon reductions targets set out in the Manchester Climate Change Action Plan impossible to achieve.
Any non-violent action that does not endanger lives which is taken to discourage the Airport’s owners from expanding the airport should be applauded and supported by any sane human being concerned for the fate of the planet. We no longer sell slaves, or deny voting rights to women, and we are astounded that such practices were ever the norm. We will look back at airport growth with the same incredulity.”
Marc Hudson, editor of Manchester Climate Fortnightly 2008-2010.
“The threat of climate change is so great, and so urgent, and so little is being done by those in power, that it is the right of all thoughtful; and caring citizens to take non violent action such as the defendants did. I admire their commitment and courage, putting their own lives to one side in the defence of us all.”
Matt Favier, Manchester Green Machine Project
“I applaud the seventeen people who took direct action to highlight the destructive nature of the aviation industry. This action was carried out in a privileged country in recognition that behavioural choices in the UK directly impact upon the lives of the most vulnerable across the world. Many countries are already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change and we are all facing a future that can appear too daunting to contemplate. Where perhaps some would prefer to ignore the problems of others distant in time and space, this group demonstrate that we all have a voice and can take personal and political action towards a more equitable world.”
Dion Battersby, International development practitioner
“The charges (agravated tresspass and obstruction of the highway) are surely lesser “crimes” against the people than the toxic and noxious emissions and polutants that these individuals were peacefully protesting against. Is it not the duty of every Briton to protect himself and his fellow man against harm, providing that he does no wilful damage to life or property?”
Sue Skinner, supporter of the MAoT campaign.
“the zad sends its support to those in manchester on trial, and hope that our continued struggle will lead to the day in which it is airports on trial and not peaceful campaigners.”
the zad, France.
“For my children, my grandchildren and their future, I wish to thank you for your actions, and state my support for your attempts to bring some sense of urgency to this debate.”
With gratitude, Carol Wellwood, B.Sc., Ph.D.
To send a statement of support, email manchesterairportontrial[at]gmail.com