Manchester Plane Stupid appear in Magistrates Court
From the Mule.
Six Manchester residents from the group Manchester Plane Stupid pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated trespass yesterday (5th October 2010).
A trial date has now been set for February 21st 2011. In the first climate change trial of its kind in Manchester expert climate scientists will defend the six in court.
On 24th May 2010 the activists created a human circle around a stationary plane using arm tube lock-ons in order to keep the plane grounded.
The action came in response to the airports recent decision to expand the World Freight Terminal which will involve the demolition of homes on Hasty Lane. Manchester airport faces continued scrutiny for wanting to increase airport capacity whilst critics say aviation expansion continues to be incompatible with climate change targets across the UK. Following the recent decision to stop expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, the aviation industry is likely to look to regional airports such as Manchester to increase profits.
The environmental and social impact of Manchester airport will further be on the spotlight during the trial as all the local councillors around the airport had their unanimous objection to expansion overturned by the Manchester Council Planning Committee in November 2009.
Penny Woodson from local campaign group Manchester Climate Action said, “Despite the threat of climate change, Manchester Airport wants to demolish local people’s homes to expand flight numbers and increase emissions. The public are facing VAT rises this January yet the aviation industry pays no VAT at all. With all these injustices stacking up, direct action is necessary.”
Another group who simultaneously used tripods to blockade the World Freight Terminal preventing airfreighted goods from being taken in and out have been charged with obstruction of the highway. Those defendants have already pleaded not guilty and will stand trial on 6th December 2010.
Manchester Airport did not respond to MULE’s questions.