Over the last few years campaigners have become increasingly successful in challenging the relentless growth of the aviation industry.
Perhaps the best known victory was the success in stopping the third runway at Heathrow in 2010:
In 2012 plans for a new airport near Siena in the beautiful Tuscan countryside of North Italy were defeated after a long campaign by local people. 2012 also saw plans for a new airport at the Viterbo Air Force Base, some 40 miles north west of Rome, dropped following a campaign involving academics, many social movements and environmental and human rights groups. And plans for a 3rd runway were stopped in their tracks when the citizens of Munich voted against it in a city-wide referendum following high-profile protests.
The longest running campaigns have been the protests against the 4th runway at Frankfurt and the fight against a new airport at Nantes.
In Frankfurt virtually every Monday night since the runway opened in 2011 up to 5,000 residents have occupied the terminal in protest against the impact of the new flight paths, with larger protests taking place on many weekends. So far, the campaigners have gained a partial ban on night flights and a promise of a reduction of flights on the new runway during the day. They also ensured that the airport became a major issue during the last German elections.
A very direct message from the Frankfurt campaigners to the airport!
The long-running battle against a new airport outside Nantes in SW France captured the international headlines during the presidential election when farmers went on a 28 day hunger strike in protest against the seizure of their land. Since then there have been battles in the countryside as armed police have used tear-gas to try to remove people living in houses on the route of the planned new runway. The protest has made headline news across France. There were street battles in Nantes in February 2012. The campaigners argue that the new airport is unnecessary as Nantes already has an airport which operates way below capacity.
- Video of campaigners resisting eviction: http://youtu.be/NQV2ZOjJqqs