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Flying Matters accuse Eskimo of 'apocalyptic green spin' in row over Stansted expansion

22.07.07

An Eskimo and a former Labour Minister are at the centre of a furious row over claims that air travel had become a victim of 'apocalyptic green spin'.

Aqqaluk Lynge, from Greenland, is visiting Britain this week to appear at an inquiry into the expansion of Stansted Airport. He will argue that aviation-linked global warming is destroying the Eskimos' way of life.

But Mr. Lynge became the subject of a savage counterattack by a new industry campaign backed by airlines and airport owners. Flying Matters, a new pro-aviation campaign group chaired by Tony Blair's former Energy Minister Brian Wilson, said his claims that Britain's foreign-holiday habit was causing the melting of ice floes near the North Pole are exaggerated.

He said: 'An apocalyptic campaign of green spin confuses the issues rather than doing anything to resolve them. Trying to stop ordinary people doing what the vast majority of them do only very occasionally is a complete dead-end.'

The high profile row marks a dramatic change as the aviation industry battles with environmentalists, who claim that flying must be curbed to save the planet. Until now, the industry has been shy of head-on confrontations with green campaigners. But Flying Matters will change this, launching an initial advertising campaign showing images of iconic holiday sights such as the Statue of Liberty and Taj Mahal alongside signs saying 'No Entry'.

The aim of the campaign, timed to coincide with Mr. Lynge's visit to give evidence at the Stansted planning inquiry this week, is to mobilise Middle England against environmentalists seeking new taxes on foreign holidays and curbs on airport expansion.

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