Local Authorities must question if it is justifiable, or a…

local-authorities-must-question-if-it-is-justifiable,-or-a…

Local Authorities must question if it is justifiable, or a…

Local Authorities must question if it is justifiable, or a financial asset, to own an airport
2021-07-10 11:14:00
There is a glaring logical inconsistency between the declaration of “climate emergencies” by councils, and the backing of local airports. That is particularly the case where the airport owns, or partly owns, the airport.  The Local Government Chronicle has written that “councils’ declarations of climate emergency will be mere weasel words unless they lead to painful but necessary decisions being made.” To achieve action on climate, councils need to take urgent and significant action. Helping an airport expand and increase its number of passengers, flights and CO2 emissions should no longer be happening. And while some airports were useful sources of income for councils in pre-Covid years, there is no certainty at all that will continue. Instead airports have been a sink for public money over the past year. Councils should not attempt to confuse the situation, by claims that airports are cutting carbon, becoming carbon neutral etc. That is only for their buildings, conveniently ignoring the carbon from the flights the airport facilitates. Councils need to accept that the restoration of passenger numbers to previous levels is not desirable. .Tweet   Airport growth is incompatible with climate emergency 15 JUNE 2021 BY NICK GOLDINGLocal Government Chronicle Councils’ declarations of climate emergency will be mere weasel words unless they lead to painful but necessary decisions being made, writes LGC editor Nick Golding in the leader article for June’s LGC magazine. The declarations of a climate emergency now made by three-quarters of UK councils need to be followed by urgent and significant action. It is an ‘emergency’, after all – the clue’s in the name. If councils’ promises in relation to the gravest crisis facing the world are to be honoured, a complete rethink of many spheres of life, work and economic activity is required. It may therefore surprise many that a number of councils that have declared climate emergencies own airports, and some still plan to expand them. While growth in aviation has previously had a positive impact on economic growth, [perhaps, though in 2019 there was a UK £33.5 billion tourism deficit…] and facilitates the cultural enrichment and personal vitality that results from foreign travel, it comes at a terrible cost to the climate. Any increase in aviation will make it harder for the UK to honour its commitment to net zero emissions by 2050. Committee on Climate Change chairman Lord Deben (Con) has warned that zero carbon aviation is “unlikely to be feasible” by then, with aviation becoming the “largest emitting sector in the UK”, even allowing for improvements to fuel efficiency and the limiting of demand growth. In a 2019 letter to transport secretary Grant Shapps, Lord Deben said of airports: “Investments will need to be demonstrated to make economic sense in a net-zero world and the transition towards it.” “No council should be contemplating airport expansion” Local government has sought to justify its expansion of airports. Greater Manchester CA mayor Andy Burnham (Lab) has previously insisted the growth of his city’s airport from 25 million to 45 million passengers annually by 2045 will be the result of “taking passengers from other places”, not extra journeys overall. Meanwhile, Graham Olver, chief executive of the Luton BC-owned London Luton Airport Ltd, told LGC increasing passenger numbers from 18 million to 32 million annually was compatible with the council’s “completely reinvigorated” approach to sustainability, and that a “regulatory structure” would ensure “managed green growth”.

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