I AM writing this in the middle of November, just after COP26. My activist friends tell me about the  encounters they had in Glasgow with women from parts of the world that are already feeling the effects of extreme weather. Their stories conveyed the urgency needed to stop the temperature rising.

January is the time of year when we might be considering where to go for our holidays. Getting away seems all the more attractive after the constraints of Covid. Certainly we will be encouraged to fly to a warm place and many of us think we deserve it. The airports are getting back to normal and apparently 21 UK airports are submitting plans for expansion in order to meet the demand.

Gatwick would like to use their emergency runway as a second runway, is this a good idea?

Flying is the most carbon-intensive thing that most people can do. One transatlantic flight generates more CO2 than an average year of driving or meat eating. Gatwick expansion would generate nearly a million tons of extra carbon a day from passenger transport to the airport, fuel used by vehicles at the airport, staff commutes and aircraft emissions landing and taking off under 3000ft. Equally important reasons not to proceed would be the damage to the natural environment, damage to air quality, rural tranquility, light pollution and water supplies.

Cutting back on flights is the only option for reducing global warming. Offsets like planting trees are a marketing tool cleverly put forward to allow continued expansion of airports. There is no quicker way to fry the planet than by flying.

Not flying is the easiest way to reduce our carbon footprint.

Would we enjoy lying on a beautiful beach knowing that our flight to get there had produced carbon emissions that are already affecting families all over the world?

We could pledge to FLY LESS!

What about the unemployment? Nearly half the population of Crawley is dependent on Gatwick. This need to reduce our carbon footprint could be used as an opportunity to scale down and review opportunities to help support a just transition to jobs that shift the Crawley area to a local zero carbon economy.

It is clear that our Government is not going to encourage us not to fly, they are pushing internal flights to keep good connections with all parts of the UK. We know that emissions are highest at take off and landing, it’s a no brainer!

Enjoy the challenge of your holiday planning and have fun!

CAGNE, Communities Against Gatwick Noise Emissions has a good website from which much of this information was obtained. The science tells us so clearly that if we keep building new airports, the future for our children is just unspeakably grim.

Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign strives to diminish any wider environmental impact of operations at the airport, including climate change impacts.

Clear Skies and Council for the Protection of Rural England are among many other organisations with useful information.

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