« Our choice for the future is a local economy that is socially fair and protects the environment, health, culture, education and human rights. Not airports and logistics. »
Our very future is at stake when ministers Céline Tellier (Ecolo) and Willy Borsus (MR) decide on the development of Liège Airport for the next twenty years at the end of September. On 25 September let us converge our thousands to tell the Walloon Government it has to oppose the renewal of the operating permit.
Our Walloon leaders see Liege Airport as a most desirable asset that will enable the economic growth we supposedly need to ‘relaunch’ the whole region.
In order to turn Wallonia into a European hub of logistics and e-commerce the development of Liege Airport is supported beyond all reasonable bounds and outside any democratic debate. The Walloon Region deliberately promotes the full extension of Liege Airport, whether through allowing night flights when our European neighbours start prohibiting them or through pouring millions of euros of public subsidies.
Meanwhile planes, lorries, cement and concrete pollute and destroy the place where we live, sleep, breathe, where we work and walk around with our children.
In more than twenty years, no environmental impact assessment (EIA) has been able to take into account all the deleterious effects and risks incurred by Liege Airport’s activities on the environment, climate, health, mobility, the local economy, employment or human rights. Worse, they are dangerously underestimated and/or ignored by the decision-makers.
According to the latest IPCC report, we only have three years to act, otherwise the consequences of climate change will be disastrous. Yet by 2040, the airport’s fuel consumption will cancel all efforts made by Walloon citizens to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The floodings in the summer 2021 are evidence that the climate crisis already impacts our population and particularly the most vulnerable, thus deepening the social crisis. Let us keep in mind too that the consequences of climate change will hit more badly countries of the South while they emit much less greenhouse gases. We fight for climate justice, yet the extension of Liège Airport will only increase this violence against countries of the South that started centuries ago.
For months now, excavators and shovels have been taking turns on the multiple construction sites of the airport, which has even been endowed with a concrete plant. Yet we know that the massive sealing of soils increases the impact of climatic events and also threatens our food resilience by destroying agricultural and market gardening land.
At a time when air pollution is the cause of 9 million dead par year in the world, the Liege Airport Master Plan announces that air traffic will more than double and roads will be saturated with lorries, two major sources of pollutants that are harmful to our health. Intense noise pollution (and this, well beyond the vicinity of the airport!) deteriorates the physical and psychological health of those who are exposed to it.
E-commerce, which is currently thriving at Liege Aiport, not only results in over-consumption and waste, it is also a direct threat for local small business and shopkeepers through unfair competition and tax optimization practices.
However deciders keep using the argument of job creation to vindicate the development of the airport. But those jobs depend on public investmentsand are in a sector that is known to be hard on workers’ bodies and rights (short-term and temporary contracts, night shifts, etc.). These jobs are also threatened by delocalization (as recently happened with TNT) and by automation (exponential in the airport logistics sector).
Also, by playing the game of hyper-globalization (delivery everywhere in less than 72 hours), the Walloon Region leaves room for e-commerce multinationals such as Alibaba, which are known to violate human rights, especially in China.
Under the guise of job creation, Liege Airport is leading our region to disaster.
By betting on the development of Liège Airport, the Walloon Region would be making a conscious choice to favour a model that mortgages any alternative for our future. We know that it is impossible to go back to earlier models of economic and industrial activity. Many professional occupations will have to be transformed (or even disappear) over the next few decades, new ones will have to be created, and the skills of certain sectors will have to be transferred to others.
The public money that has generously been allocated to Liege Airport should be dedicated to this exciting socio-economic transformation. We badly need jobs adjusted to the needs of the population in favour of soft mobility, building insulation, sustainable food, renewable energies, securing social and health systems, decolonizing our relations with the world, etc.
The development of the airport is not our choice for the future.
We never chose airplanes, lorries, concrete, precarious jobs, thousands of tons of parcels conveyed over thousands of kilometers, thousands of acres of artificial land… It is urgent that the Walloon Government takes the responsibilities it owes to its citizens:
- by introducing an immediate moratorium on all decisions relating to the extension of Liege Airport and its logistics hub, which implies :
- the non-renewal of the operating permit
- the freezing of the works in progress
- the blocking of building permit applications for the airport and the logistics companies
- by carrying out a new inclusive and independent STUDY of the direct and indirect IMPACTS at all levels (environmental, economic, social, health, cultural, mobility, respect for human rights, quality of life, health, etc.)
- by conducting an independent STUDY on possible ECONOMIC ALTERNATIVES to this European logistics hub that are respectful of the environment, health, social justice, human rights and the quality of life of workers and all the inhabitants of Wallonia.
Action Vivre Ensemble
Actrices et Acteurs des Temps Présents
Assemblée des relais de Stop Alibaba&co
Autre Terre (ONG du Groupe Terre)
Boulangerie Sans Patron
Brigades d’Actions Paysannes
Cafétéria Collective Kali (CCKali)
Ceinture Aliment-terre liégeoise
Centre Liégeois du Beau-Mur
C’est des canailles
Comité de quartier Saint-Laurent – Saint-Martin
Comité Liège Air Propre (CLAP)
Comité pour l’Abolition des Dettes Illégitimes (CADTM)
D’une Certaine Gaieté
Entraide & Fraternité
Extinction Rebellion Liège
Fin du Nucléaire
Grands Parents pour le Climat
Groupement Cerexhe-Heuseux/Beaufays asbl
Inter Environnement Wallonie (IEW)
Inter Groupe Liégeois des Maisons Médicales (IGL)
Le Corridor asbl
La Santé en Lutte
Le Chaudron – cantine populaire
Le Jardin des Enfants asbl
Le Jardin Zen
Le réseau des GASAP asbl
Les Amis de la Terre
Les Citoyens Contagieux
Liège pour le climat
Maison des jeunes du Thier-à-Liege
Miel Maya Honing ASBL
Mouvement d’Action Paysanne (MAP)
Mouvement politique des objecteurs de croissance (mpOC)
Nucléaire Stop Kernenergie
Occupons le Terrain (OLT)
OJ Jeunes FGTB
PEC Peuple et Culture
Sortir du bois
Stop Alibaba &co
Vent de terre
Voix De Femmes Asbl
ZAD de la Chartreuse Occupée