Flights of Fancy

It seems the sporadic tug-of-war between London’s airports has kicked off again, with Gatwick’s consultation on a new runway over-shadowed by Heathrow’s claims to boost the economy.  As a woodland charity with specified aims, we’re not fundamentally opposed to growth of aviation, but we have and will continue to get involved when the direct effect of airport expansion includes the loss of ancient woodland.  We’ve done this in the past at Stansted and Gatwick and will continue to do so in the future, where we have a long history of campaigning.

Edolphs Copse WTPL Pam Page

Edolphs Copse WTPL Pam Page Ancient Woodland to the north of the proposed runways

However, as one of the biggest long-term threats to all ancient woodland is climate change we are exploring how we would respond to aviation growth, or indeed the current demand, in terms of climate change, as aviation is one of the largest contributors of CO2.  In our response to a consultation on aviation and climate change 2 years ago, we said we’d want to see how the sector reduces its carbon footprint, and therefore would like to see agreements across Europe – it’s no use just shifting the footprint to a neighbouring country.

We also don’t see biofuels as a credible alternative – I’ve not seen anything to suggest biofuels are ever better than carbon-neutral, and usually negative when you take into account the full “well-to-wheel” (or in this case wing!) life-cycle comparison.  There are global environmental and social issues associated from the land-take – if we’re worried about the deforestation already caused by palm oil production, that will be nothing compared to the pressure if aviation biofuel adds to the demand.  Personally I think there are already enough people in the world struggling to get food to consider switching food crops to biofuel crops…

So, in summary, our main issues with aviation are:

1 Land-take from airport expansion affecting woodland (and other valuable habitats);
2 Threat to woodland and the wider landscape from aviation’s contribution to climate change;
3 Land-take (including deforestation in UK and abroad) and net CO2 emissions from growing biofuels for aviation fuel.

Edolphs Copse WT Copyright web upload Ancient Woodland to the north of the proposed runways

Edolphs Copse WTPL Ancient Woodland to the north of the proposed runways

Thank you to all of those who responded to the recent Gatwick consultation, highlighting the impact all three options would have on ancient woodland and on the wildlife corridors that are so vital in the area. More than 4,000 responses were sent in.

Read the Trust’s response to the Gatwick consultation.

Gatwick Airport Limited will feed in the responses from this consultation to the independent Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies. In the coming months, the Commission is expected to consult on its recommendations for national aviation growth before submitting a final report to the Government after the general election.

Richard Barnes, Senior Conservation Adviser


About Katharine Rist

Campaigner- Ancient Woodland
This entry was posted in Aviation, Campaigning, Climate Change and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Flights of Fancy

  1. Derek West says:

    Economic Growth is the mantra of the worlds politicians,they know as we do,that it is not sustainable,but its what the voters want to hear,where do we go from here Matt?.

  2. sherwoodforestcommunityvision says:

    Reblogged this on Sherwoodforestcommunityvision’s Blog and commented:
    Thanks Woodland trust for your excellent campaigning

  3. Matt Derrington says:

    i’m “posting too fast”- ?! Can’t remember the last time i posted. Haven’t done much recently. Certainly not what your average jury member would call ‘manic’.

    What exactly do you say to the likes of Peter Kyte, when he posts on almost every blog you host?​ Or is he some in-house pretend punter? If he is, you need one with a better turn of phrase. He’s very predictable, repetitive and negative. Not good if what you really want is more support from people, and even politicians.

    Or has the good old Woodland ‘Trust’ got some illuminati-style filter on its comments page to try to intercept posts with key words? Such as illuminati, chemtrailing, massive and doomed fraud, etc.

    Can’t wait to hear your answer, chaps- whether it’s standard guff, or silence. i promise i’ll apologise if it’s something genuine ‘]

    ‘Life’ is getting too silly not to be derided for the sham it is

    • Katharine Rist says:

      No conspiracy Matt! Some of our readers like to comment on our posts and some don’t. They’re all genuine – we don’t have time to pretend to be commenters.

      We monitor the blog but don’t filter comments (WordPress filters for junk mail and spam, which can be a little over-enthusiastic at times) and where comments are abusive or offensive to others or the author we may remove them and leave a message to say we have done so. This might kick in if a lot of hyperlinks or symbols are included.



  4. Derek West says:

    The aviation industry is determind to expand,regardless of the environmental cost,it must be continually challenged .This is not just a UK problem with woodland destruction,it affects the whole biosphere in a multitude of ways.

  5. Peter Kyte says:

    Economic growth cannot be unfettered as in its present format, it is like a tumour, which if left to its own devices will kill the host.

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