What is BANG?
BANG! is a residents campaign group formed in 2001 by local people who, sick of aircraft noise, night flights and pollution from Birmingham International Airport (BIA), got together to represent themselves and oppose the airport's further expansion. The group currently (April 2004) has over 400 official supporters in Birmingham and Solihull.
To become a supporter and add your voice to our growing campaign, simply contact us with your name and postal and/or e-mail address and a contact telephone number (optional).
What does BANG campaign on?
Aircraft noise and pollution
Aviation has been afforded protection from legal action for noise nuisance since the 1920s. Section 76 of the Civil Aviation Act (1982) still affords this protection today, leaving communities and their local authorities with no redress in law. To get some idea of the social and human cost of the growth in air transport, read extracts from an 'Aircraft Noise Diary' kept by Chair of BANG, Mrs Hertta Hussein of Castle Bromwich, and our our briefing 'Consequences of aircraft noise on children's learning (July 2003)', about the impact of daytime aircraft noise on children's learning in schools.
Air transport also contributes significantly to local air pollution, as much from the additional road traffic airports inevitably generate as from the aircraft themselves. What's more, aviation is exempt from the air pollution controls of the Pollution and Prevention and Control Act (1999); exempt from UK Integrated Pollution Control; exempt from the Air Quality Action Plan regime; and exempt from the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. The voluntary codes of practice so favoured by the Government in its recent Aviation White Paper effectively allow airports and airlines to get away with a "business as usual" approach.
BANG thinks it's time that aviation was made more accountable for the noise and pollution it generates.
Aircraft noise at night (11pm-6am) represents by far the biggest intrusion into the lives of people living near airports and under flight paths. BANG supports the European Green Party's proposed legislation banning commercial night flights across the European Union. By supporting the Greens' proposals we are demonstrating our commitment to the principle of a ban on night flights and our support for fellow campaigners across the country and in Europe, not just 'in our backyard'. See our briefing 'The case for an EU-wide ban on commercial night flights (March 2004)'
In a case brought in 2001 by Heathrow residents, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that night flights breached two articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. Sadly, in July 2003 the European Court's Grand Chamber overturned this ruling. See our press release on the Court's decision or visit the HACAN website.
In December 2003 the Department of Transport (DfT) published its Air Transport White Paper, setting out the Government's aviation policy framework for the next thirty years and recommending a massive program of airport expansion across the UK. The proposals included a second runway and extension to the existing runway at BIA. Read our press release on the White Paper and our 6th newsletter for more in-depth analysis.
BANG opposes the expansion of BIA as outlined in the Air Transport and White Paper and the Airport Company's subsequent Draft Master Plan, 'Towards 2030'. But we are definitely not "NIMBYs" - we do not view the expansion proposals of other airports in the West Midlands, the UK or the EU as acceptable alternatives to the expansion of BIA. Read our response to BIA's Draft Master Plan (March 2006) for a overview of the 'Genuinely Balanced Approach' we believe should guide the future development of UK air transport.
The 'right price' for air travel
BANG believes that today's fashion for cut-price air travel fails to reflect the environmental, social and human costs of mass aviation and is artificially fuelling demand for airport expansion. Britain's cheap flights boom has brought with it unacceptable levels of noise disturbance, as well as the spectre of airport expansion on the doorstep, for hundreds of thousands of people. Central to the problem is the £9.2 billion worth of tax exemptions the aviation industry currently receives every year (source: Friends of the Earth, 2003). The EU must act to end these tax breaks and force the airlines to bear the full environmental costs of their operations, costs which, until now, they have been allowed to dump on society at large.
Cheap air fares mainly benefit those who fly the most - high-earners, and second home-owners in particular. Seventy-five per cent, even on low-cost airlines, are taken by the wealthier half of the population. While the rest of society is struggling with failing trains, dirty buses and inadequate cycling and walking facilities, is it really fair to subsidise air travel for the well-off?
Who funds BANG?
BANG is entirely funded through donations from its supporters and the general public.
How can you help?
New supporters and volunteers are always welcome. Could you, for instance:
If you can help with any of the above then we'd like to hear from you!