Extinction Rebellion campaigners raise legal concerns over Doncaster expansion airport plans

Extinction Rebellion campaigners have raised legal concerns over plans to help grow Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

By David Kessen
Friday, 6th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 6th March 2020, 11:50 am

Plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport were ruled illegal by a court because ministers did not adequately take into account the Government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis.

Now campaigners have raised questions over a £5 million loan from Sheffield City Region (SCR) to help expand the Finningley airport.

A letter from Extinction Rebellion Doncaster, released through campaigner Warren Draper, says it makes a mockery of moves by local authorities to declare a climate emergency and “goes against the Paris agreement.”

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A plane from Nairobi lands at Doncaster Sheffield Airport carrying fresh produce for UK supermarkets.

It adds: “Even without the threat of catastrophic climate change, the loan is an insult to local people.”

It raised concerns over plans to divert the East Coast mainline, saying they will cost £170 million for the station and £280 million for works, when the council has seen £272 million in budget cuts between since 2010.

“SCR also recently denied the people of Doncaster the return of the 'Little Nipper' bus service, which would have greatly improved town centre connectivity,” it added.

They raised concerns over parking and noise near the airport, adding loan repayments rely on passenger growth at a time when more people are choosing not to fly, which they believe could lead to more night flights.

It added: “Can this airport expansion loan be allowed to go ahead when there is now clearly a big question mark against its legality, let alone its impact on people and planet?”

Doncaster Sheffield Airport said it was committed to bringing economic and social benefits to the region in a responsible way that supports action against climate change, in line with Government efforts to use of existing runways, easing congestion in the south without building new runways .

It said: “The plans quadruple the number of people with airport access via a sustainable transport mode from 2.4 million to nine million within a 90-minute rail journey. It also reduces the need for 18,000 Trans-Pennine journeys taken by car, many of them through the Peak District National Park, to the north west; removing 80 million road miles to more distant airports, taking around 23,000 tonnes of CO2 off the UK’s road network.”