The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

21 November 2007

Plane Stupid

Flying is "plane stupid"; And this is a website with lots of information on why. It wants to bring the aviation industry down to earth!

Here are 10 reasons why Plane Stupid wants us to campaign against flying:

1. Aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change
Despite myths propagated by the airline industry, aviation already accounts for 13% of the UK’s contribution to climate change.
2. Aviation creates massive noise pollution
Living under the flight path is like living on a motorway. Over 1 million people live under the flight paths to the Heathrow and many have to endure a plane flying over every 45 seconds.
3. Aviation is mostly unnecessary
45% of air journeys in Europe are less than 500km – about the distance from London to the Scottish border.These journeys are to destinations easily reachable by train and bus, which are both around ten times less polluting.
4. Airport expansion will destroy important heritage sites
Across the country over one hundred historical buildings are at risk from airport expansion. Philip Venning, the secretary of the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), established by William Morris in 1877, said of airport expansion: "This is potentially the biggest single number of destructions of historic buildings in living memory."
5. Aviation expansion will destroy ancient forests and woodland
Hundreds of acres of ancient oak woodland would have to be destroyed to make way for the government’s expansion plans.
6. Airports cause illegal levels of nitrous oxide pollution
Heathrow airport is already breaching UK and EU legal limits for the high levels of nitrogen dioxide and therefore the present growth in the number of flights is probably unlawful. The government’s own figures show that if a third runway is built 35,000 people would be exposed to this poisonous gas.
7. Aviation's contribution to the economy is massively overstated
The aviation industry is only the 26th biggest industry in Britain. It's half the size of the computer industry, and just a tenth the size of banking and finance.
8. Aviation diverts money away from public services
The airlines receive over £10 billion in tax breaks each year because of tax-free fuel and VAT-free tickets and planes. That’s enough to buy over 30 new hospitals, build 2,000 new schools, put at least 450,000 new police on the beat, and pay the tuition fees of over 3 million students!
9. Aviation expansion is wiping established communities off the map
At its seven airports across the UK BAA is proposing the biggest single programme of airport expansion that the UK has ever seen. The industry is looking for new runways at Stansted, Heathrow, Edinburgh and possibly Glasgow, with significant increases in flights at Gatwick, Aberdeen and Southampton.
10. 'Cheap' flights are for the privileged
It’s the rich who are really benefiting from the artificially low prices of air travel. The average income of people using Stansted Airport is £47,000 per year – and it’s supposed to be a budget airport!

Plane Stupid:

Pledge to stop flying at the LowFlyZone:

You can read about the experiences of people who are choosing to holiday or participate in international business meetings, without flying, and contribute your own experiences.

You can post pictures of places you have travelled to, without flying, on the LowFlyZone map


Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

"6. Airports cause illegal levels of nitrous oxide pollution
Heathrow airport is already breaching UK and EU legal limits for the high levels of nitrogen dioxide and therefore the present growth in the number of flights is probably unlawful."

Not quite... Think again?

"The problem of air pollution is manageable and the continued expansion of Heathrow is desirable and technologically feasible."

Quote from Ian Poll, Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Cranfield University.

I was struck by the use of the word 'probably' - Plane Stupid activists constantly bang on and on about how they are constantly armed with 'The Science'.

For example, they claim that aviation accounts for 13% of the UK's contribution to climate change - but where did they get that figure from? I would suggest they got it from thin air.

Indeed, even the governments indepth 2004 White Paper on the Future of Transport states that: If UK aviation is defined as all domestic services plus all international departures from the UK, then the aviation sector currently contributes about 5.5% of the UK’s CO2 emissions.

So where did Plane Stupid's 13% come from - which you kindly reproduced here?

5:48 pm  

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