Keith Taylor, Green MEP for south east England, joined campaigners at Gatwick today to protest against proposals to use the airport's emergency runway as extra capacity in a move dubbed 'expansion by the back door'.
The senior Green politician joined local residents, Green Party members and campaigners from the Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign (GACC) at Gatwick Airport to call for the 'climate destructive and deceitful' plans to be rejected.
Mr Taylor, a member of the European Parliament's Transport and Tourism Committee, said:
"I'm joining campaigners here because Gatwick's plans for expansion by the back door are as deceitful as they are reckless. The planet cannot afford airport expansion. At the same time, residents cannot afford to have their health and wellbeing even further impacted by the air and noise pollution generated by the airport's greed."
GACC Chair Peter Barclay, who joined Keith at the protest, added:
"Gatwick has decided, in a month that highlights the health impacts of noise and an announcement from the UN's IPCC warning of a crisis in meeting carbon emission limits, to contribute further noise and pollution by suggesting additional runway capacity in its latest Master Plan."
"Having lost the south east runway challenge to Heathrow the owners of Gatwick have decided to create their own runner-up prize via the back door."
"The proposals will create a huge increase the problems already being experienced by local communities - noise, air pollution and excessive road traffic. It would also put even greater pressure on the tottering road and rail infrastructure both locally and further afield."
Keith Taylor, a staunch opponent of expansion at both Gatwick and Heathrow, continued:
"Earlier this month climate scientists from across the world came together to highlight the need for urgent and radical action to avoid the very worst effects of a climate breakdown that is already in process. Airport expansion quite literally flies in the face of the government's claim that it is committed to protecting our planet and our environment."
"Aviation is a top ten global polluter and emissions from the heavily subsidised industry are set to balloon by 300% if action is not taken sooner rather than later. Not accounting for any airport expansion, emissions from aviation are already expected to use up more than two-thirds of the UK's carbon budget by 2050. At the same time, the 'Clean' Growth Strategy the government has been promoting this month will already see the UK miss its legally-binding climate targets."
"As Greens, we support a fairer frequent flyer levy that would help reduce demand driven by the privileged few and reduce costs for the average UK holidaymaker."