Oil lobbyists trying to weaken law which would keep tar sands out of Europe

Posted by jamie — 3 August 2010 at 3:04pm - Comments

The BP stations we closed down last week have all long since opened again but the effects our thirst for oil is having on the planet continue. The oil spill in the Gulf is now officially the largest accidental spill ever, and the environmental havoc being wrought in China, Nigeria and elsewhere doesn't get the same news coverage but is just as disastrous.

Meanwhile, lobbyists working for BP and other oil pushers are busy trying to hobble laws and legislation which could set us on the road to reducing our oil dependency and making the transition to a cleaner energy future. One such piece of legislation is the Fuel Quality Directive and if its full potential is realised, it could prevent fuels from dirty sources like tar sands being sold in Europe.

Architects lose green sheen by winning third runway contract

Posted by jamie — 18 November 2009 at 5:07pm - Comments

One of third runway architects Grimshaw's earlier works (photo by Mat Strange)

Even though it hasn't been officially announced, it's been widely reported that architectural firm Grimshaw has won the bid to design the third runway at Heathrow. How much design a strip of tarmac needs I don't know, but presumably there's more to it than my ignorant assumptions suggest.

Grimshaw are, of course, the firm behind such eco-hits as the Eden Project and the firm's chairman Sir Nicholas Grimshaw has something of a reputation for sustainable and environmentally considerate approaches to architecture.

Heathrow writer-in-residence helps plant orchard to stop the third runway

Posted by jamie — 13 November 2009 at 11:47am - Comments

Alison Steadman, Carol Ann Duffy and Richard Briers muck in on the Airplot

Down on the parcel of land Greenpeace has bought on the site of the proposed third Heathrow runway, a new element is being added to the Airplot. Typically for this time of year, it's a bit chilly and a bit muddy, but that makes it perfect for what we've got planned today, which is planting an apple orchard.

With the help of people like actress Alison Steadman, poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy and former Heathrow writer-in-residence Alain de Botton, we're planting yet more roots into the land we own on behalf of tens of thousands of people around the world, a right spanner in the works for advocates of bigger airports at Heathrow and elsewhere.

What's your plot to stop the third runway?

Posted by jamie — 22 October 2009 at 4:14pm - Comments

While BAA continues to make its case for a third runway at Heathrow, the plot of land we bought on the proposed site is still there, and the allotment Richard Briers helped establish has been providing the local community with all manner of produce. Leeks, potatoes, cabbages, rhubarb and blackberries were harvested, although many of the apples were scrumped and reappeared later as bottles of cider.

We now have 57,000 people who've agreed to be beneficial owners of this land (if you haven't become one, you still can) and it feels like the tide is turning. But we still need your help, now more than ever.

New Gatwick owners would like more runways, please

Posted by jamie — 22 October 2009 at 2:28pm - Comments

Gatwick will shortly have a new owner. BAA is selling the airport for much less than it originally hoped in order to reduce the company's debt. But the new owners have already indicated they intend to expand Gatwick as soon as possible, including a new second runway.

Global Infrastructure Partners, which has paid much less than BAA wanted, want to give Gatwick a major make-over, including a second runway. An injunction prevents them from doing this until 2019 at the earliest, but GIP has suggested it will get planning applications sorted so a new runway could be built as soon as possible.

Third runway grounded? Not quite yet...

Posted by jamie — 13 October 2009 at 4:45pm - Comments

How the Sunday Times reported the story

'BAA to give up on third runway' ran the headline in this weekend's Sunday Times and with the recent good news about Kingsnorth delay, there was a moment when I thought it was my Christmas and birthday presents rolled in to one. But unpick the details and unfortunately it's not quite the prize it appears to be.

Tories will 'definitely' scrap Heathrow's third runway

Posted by jamie — 6 October 2009 at 4:39pm - Comments

Some promising news from the Tory party conference in Manchester, where they've pledged to dump plans for Heathrow's third runway as part of their election campaign package. "We are absolutely firm on our opposition to expansion at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted," shadow transport minister Julian Brazier told the Evening Standard today. "It will definitely be in the manifesto."

It's great to hear their commitment being reaffirmed as it shows how isolated the government is on this issue. But there's a long way to go between promising to include it in the election manifesto, being able to form a government and then actually getting round to reversing the decision. Reports from the conference say that the Heathrow pledge in Theresa Villiers' speech received a polite smattering of applause, but her promise to crackdown on cowboy clampers roused the audience further still. Make of that what you will.

Pigs take flight as airlines claim they'll cut emissions by 50%

Posted by jamie — 22 September 2009 at 1:54pm - Comments

Startling news from Willie Walsh of British Airways who is preparing to lift the lid on a deal between aviation bosses to slash their emissions by 50 per cent by 2050. Wow, it seems like magic. Oh wait, it really does seem like magic - it's just some shifty sleight of hand as part of a PR offensive to persuade Copenhagen-bound politicos that airlines really do want to help with climate change.

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