GATWICK BANS MEP’S PHOTO IN CLIMATE CHANGE ROW
‘KEEP OUT – DON’T TELL THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE DAMAGE WE ARE DOING’
THE owner of Gatwick Airport has refused permission for a Euro-MP examining
the aviation industry’s impact on climate change from taking photographs in
a public area of the airport.
Staff at BAA told Green Party MEP Caroline Lucas and local environmental
activists they would be prevented from taking photos – even in public areas
– to illustrate the issue of air travel’s growing impact on climate change.
Dr Lucas, who has drafted a report being examined by MEPs into how to reduce
the impact of flying on climate change, said: “Aviation is the fastest
growing contributor to climate change – in fact, researchers have shown it
will account for all permissible greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 if it is
allowed to grow unchecked.
“I wanted to illustrate this with a series of photographs depicting the
level of damaging emissions produced during each flight – and I am amazed
and appalled at BAA’s head-in-the-sand attitude, especially at a time when
the government and the EU are trying to raise public awareness about how to
reduce CO2 emissions.
“The EU is currently considering Green Party proposals to introduce a range
of measures to reduce the sector’s emissions – by ending tax breaks and
hidden subsidies and making the industry meet the true costs of its social
and environmental impact.”
Dr Lucas had originally sought permission to take photographs of a mock
passenger carrying 85 kilo bags of sugar – equivalent in weight to the
carbon released per passenger on the average air journey from Gatwick,
according to a recent report ‘Gatwick – Climate Change Culprit’, produced by
Area Conservation Campaign (GACC).
GACC calculate that on average each passenger departing from Gatwick adds 85
kg of carbon to the atmosphere where it remains for up to 100 years.
GACC chairman Brendon Sewill, said: “It is ironic that BAA says that the
climate change impact of aviation is being dealt with through the EU
emissions trading scheme.
“Over the past five years BAA has led the airlines in their support of a
policy of getting aviation into the EU emissions trading scheme – a policy
which would allow the airlines to effectively carry on with business as
“As Mike Clasper, Chief Executive of BAA, has himself admitted, ‘In future
[with emissions trading], the climate will not be a restraint on growth or a
limit on the expansion of aviation or of airports’.”
Dr Lucas, in her role as rapporteur of the EU Parliament Environment
Committee, has infuriated the aviation industry by recognising this, and
proposing parameters that reflect the real climate change damage caused by
“BAA and the airlines dare not face up to the fact that we will have to fly
less if we are to prevent devastating climate change,” said Dr Lucas.
“85 bags of sugar, or 85 kg of carbon, may sound small but with 16.5 million
passengers departing from Gatwick that means 1,400 million kg of carbon
polluting the sky each year.”
Dr Lucas’s report will be voted on by the European Parliament in July.