Monday, 10 December 2007

Karen Reissmann Campaign Rally

Karen Reissmann Campaign Rally
Date: 11 December 2007 Time: 6 pm
@ Piccadilly Gardens
Campaign to Continue despite Appeal loss

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Green Councillor smashes aviation myth

At the meeting of Manchester City Council this week, Green Councillor Vanessa Hall smashed the myth that aviation is good for the economy and in fact costs UK taxpayers £16.3b per year.

Nationally Aviation costs us £26.3b in tax breaks, health costs, the tourism deficit and noise reduction plus the unknown costs of climate change (20x the cost of prevention). This compares to £10b benefit to the GDP. Net cost = £16.3b.

In Manchester the Labour Council excuse their Airport favours by the dividend that the City receives from the Airport.
Compared to just the loss of income from tax breaks, this works out at a cost of £141.23 for Manchester residents.

UK Aviation is subsidised by £171.65/person. Manchester Council receives £30.42/person dividend from Manchester Airport. Net Cost = £141.23.

Aviation is extremely inefficient per pound spent at job creation. Investment could create more direct and indirect jobs elsewhere in the economy.

Cllr Hall asked the Leader of the Council when will this Council acknowledge aviation's true impact on the economy and begin a planned transition away from this doomed and inefficient industry into sustainable jobs and economy?

He replied with the usual rhetoric, but did acknowledge that the Airport didn't take account of it's share of the emissions from flights.
When he was asked about ending the unnecessary flights between Manchester and London, he said that it was in the Airport's long-term plans to end these flights.

Cllr Hall today said,
"I am disgusted at the pathetic excuses rolled out by Labour. It is no longer acceptable for jobs to be used as an excuse for this oil-guzzling industry. So many inudustries of the past have crashed with thousands of job losses. It is time to move to sustainable industries which added benefits such as addressing fuel poverty."
To be or not to be : to blog or not to blog

And why has it taken me this long to get a write-up of the debate onto my blog? Well partly because you either have loads of time to write a blog, but nothing to write or loads to write, but no time to write it. I've also been off sick recovering from an ectopic pregnancy, which was pretty scary.

I've decided to go public because I think that the taboo around some womens health issues prevents women from knowing enough about things like this. My pre-conception of an ectopic pregnancy was extreme pain and being rushed to hospital. I went to the doctors on Thursday to report what seemed like an early, light, long peroid. Having looked this up on the internet, my best layperson's guess was fibroids or early menopause. How wrong could I be. I was eight and a half weeks pregnant but with an ectopic pregnancy. My GP did a pregnancy test and suspected it was ectopic because of my case history. The other alternatives at that point were a viable pregnancy with bleeding or some stage of a miscarriage. My GP sent me straight to the hospital for a scan. After dashing home for my bike I cycled there in a bit of a rush to try to get scanned by 4.30pm when they shut. They took some blood for a blood test but didn't scan me. I went home with instructions to come back on saturday for a repeat blood test, unless my HCG levels were over a certain amount in which case I would be called in for a scan. So, next morning I cycled to the hospital again for a scan. I was then told that a "suspicious mass" on my scan meant that I needed to be admitted to the hospital and treated for ectopic pregnancy. I was transferred by wheelchair to the ward - this seemed ridiculous after having cycled from home not 2 hours earlier - but was also highly understandable given the seriousness of my condition. After more blood tests and consultations I was given some drugs to deal with it. I stayed in the hospital overnight and left on saturday morning to go home to rest and recover. I have to go back for blood tests over the next few days and weeks and may need further treatment. The worst thing now is the fear that the drugs won't work and I will need more drugs or far far worse - key-hole surgery, a thought which currently terrifies me. If these drugs do work then I have been extremely fortunate, I have so far had relatively little pain, although I am at increased risk from further ectopic pregancies in the future. I have never felt more fortunate to live in a country with a national health service and the technology to diagnose conditions such as mine which can, if not treated, be fatal.

so blogging isn't as easy as it seems, but then sometimes life isn't as easy as it seems. Sometimes life events serve as a wake-up call, my ectopic event has reminded me that the most important thing to pay attention to is your health. I do neglect my health, it has been very hard for me being a Pioneer Green in Manchester and a new parent at the same time. I have done nearly 5 years of the hardest things I have done in my life and at the same time. Too much stress, too many late nights in front of the computer and not enough countryside and excercise are all part of my neglect of myself. I have started feeling guilty recently about my decision to step down from being a Councillor. I've been enjoying the job more than ever recently, I will be sad to stop in many ways. But I can't have a second child and be a Councillor, I enquired months, (maybe years) ago about maternity arrangements for Councillors, I never got a response. I don't think there are any, I certainly don't know how it could work, especially for a lone Councillor in a split ward. So, I've made my choice and I'm going to try to let go off the guilt and enjoy the rest of my time as Councillor. I've got some goals to acheive in the next 6 months - but that's for the next chapter...
The Great Aviation Debate was great indeed.

Go to YouTube for the video clips:
See also Robbie's blog on the Plane Stupid site:

The debate happened because of the blockade in the domestic terminal at Manchester Airport on 8th October. The action was brilliant in itself because of the direct impact to those flying that day and the media coverage but it was a great acheivement to open up a space for domestic flights and climate change to be discussed.

John Twigg (Airport) and Angie Robinson (Chamber of Commerce) trotted out the predicatable argument about jobs and the right to fly. Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre put this in perspective with the point that globally it is a small minority that exercise their "right" to fly whilst thousands die and suffer hardship due to climate change.

Despite the speakers from the Airport and Chamber of Commerce having time before they spoke to attempt to counter the figures I presented on the economics of aviation, neither of them did. They did not dispute the figures or come up with any additional benefits of aviation:

Nationally Aviation costs us £26.3b in tax breaks, health costs, the tourism deficit and noise reduction plus the unknown costs of climate change (20x the cost of prevention). This compares to £10b benefit to the GDP. Net cost = £16.3b.

UK Aviation is subsidised by £171.65/person. Manchester Council receives £30.42/person dividend from Manchester Airport. Net Cost = £141.23.

Aviation is extremely inefficient per pound spent at job creation. Yes there are indirect jobs created in other sectors, but aviation is not alone in stimulating indirect jobs.Investment elsewhere could create more direct and indirect jobs.

One of the best and most surprising things was that the whole panel agreed that flying was not the right way to get between Manchester and London.

So our challenge to the Airport is to follow this debate with plans to phase out the Manchester to London flights. They've agreed it shouldn't happen so what are they going to do about it?

And if they don't do it, they can expect more direct action...

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Manchester Climate Action

The Great Aviation Debate

Thursday 15th November, at the Friends Meeting House, from 7.30pm.

This event is a live debate over the future of the aviation industry and its contribution toward climate change. Panellists will include

John Twigg, Manchester Airport Planning and Infrastructure Director.

Cllr Vanessa Hall, Green party councillor for Hulme and Manchester Climate Action member.

Angie Robinson, Chief Exec GM Chamber of Commerce.

Robbie Gillet, Plane Stupid.

Professor Calum Thomas, Professor of Sustainable Aviation, MMU.

Dr. Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre, Manchester University

The debate will be moderated by Colin Sykes, the BBC’s North-West Environment and Transport Correspondent.

This debate follows a protest by Manchester Climate Action (MCA) at the airport earlier this month (1). By blockading the internal flights security checkpoint MCA activists sought to highlight the contribution of aviation emissions to climate change, and Manchester city council’s role in supporting the expansion of Manchester airport.

Airport authorities condemned the protest, asserting that protestors should have talked to them rather than causing disruption. MCA have arranged this event as a response.

Aviation is the fastest growing source of CO2 emissions. Emissions from UK aviation have more than doubled since 1990 while emissions from all other UK activities have fallen by about 9%. (2) The Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research has calculated that - If the UK government follows the scientific consensus that a 450ppm stabilisation level is required, then the aviation sector would exceed the carbon target for all sectors by 2050.’ (3)

Manchester City Council currently owns a 55% stake in Manchester Airport (4), and hope’s to see passenger numbers at the airport increase from 22million per year in 2006 to 40million per year by 2015 (5).


1. ‘Airport hit by green protest’

2 Predict and Decide. Oxford University Environmental Change Institute, October 2006

3 Decarbonising the UK. Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. September 2005



Monday, 22 October 2007

Blog under Construction...

....please bookmark this blog and come back in a few days...