HOMEOWNERS affected by Manchester Airport have been told not to panic after a report raised the possibility of aircraft numbers increasing.

In last week’s Guardian, a ‘Government forecast’ highlighted that planes could be landing every 70 seconds by 2050.

But the Manchester Airport Environment Network has told residents of Mobberley and Knutsford not to panic and welcomed the airport’s stance on the subject.

It has said that the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advice in December on how to fit aviation emissions into the UK’s 2050 climate change reduction targets, means UK aviation must limit passenger numbers, cut flights, raise ticket prices, boost rail and video conferencing.

Mobberley resident Jeff Gazzard – and spokesman for MAEN – said: “The CCC report actually recommends strict limits on aviation expansion through to 2050.

“It does not forecast, suggest or rubber-stamp a third runway at Manchester Airport, quite the opposite to last week’s media speculation.

“The CCC conducted, quite rightly, a desk-top worst case analysis which looked at unrestrained expansion at Ringway and all other UK airports to see how bad aviation CO2 emissions would be by 2050.

“But the report, which has been welcomed by national environment groups, wants to see national passenger numbers limited to 370 million by 2050, down from the more than 500 million plus figure the 2003 Aviation White Paper 2030 forecast, a massive and welcome cut; and flight numbers should be limited in turn to no more than 3.4 million for the entire UK.

“We estimate this would limit passenger numbers at Ringway to an eight per cent share of this national total, around 30 to 35 million passengers with approximately 272,000 flights a year.

“This is the current maximum planning level for Ringway. In reality, just 18.7 million passengers passed through the airport in 2009, on 172,515 aircraft movements.

“We are very pleased and pleasantly surprised to learn last week that the airport too ‘welcomed’ the CCC report.”

The action group has said that the committee’s preferred ‘likely’ scenario emphasises the need for prudence to ensure the target that UK aviation’s actual CO2 levels in 2050 do not exceed those in 2005.

It is thought that the committee’s view is that as growth will overtake their forecast of realistic efficiency gains, alternatives to flying need to form part of the Government’s carbon reduction strategy for aviation.

According to the MAEN, these include: High speed rail, domestic and European, taking 10 per cent of demand; video conferencing substituting for up to 30 per cent of business travel over the period to 2050; and carbon price rising to £200 per tonnes of CO2 by 2050.

Jeff, who has worked closely with the CCC, in his role as board member of the Aviation Environment Federation, added: “The Committee on Climate Change has placed once-and-for all limits on aviation expansion and the onus is now firmly on the industry to deliver actual low carbon growth, not just talk about it.

“Passenger and flight limits, plus demand management in the form of realistic carbon pricing, are long overdue, as is a complete revision of the 2003 White Paper.

“The capital costs of expanding airports are firmly under the microscope, as airport businesses will now have to invest and operate in a demand-constrained framework through to 2050 that must curtail Manchester Airport’s aggressive plans.

“There are now no prospects whatsoever of a third runway at Manchester – we need to work hard to ensure the next Government places the CCC recommendation at the heart of UK aviation policy.”