Manchester Airport plc, Second Runway Inquiry Archive

Scope and Content

An archive of material relating to the public inquiry into the proposed Manchester Airport Second Runway between 1994-1997. Most of the documents in the archive were accumulated by the Manchester Airport Joint Action Group (MAJAG), which opposed the second runway. The archive also includes documents of the Department of the Environment which had overall responsibility for the inquiry. .

Essentially the collection is made up of copies of documents which were presented to the Inquiry in support of, or opposition to, the application by various interested parties. Apart from MAJAG these parties include Manchester Airport Plc, Central Manchester Development Corporation, Cheshire County Council, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department of Transport, Liverpool Airport, Macclesfield Borough Council, Manchester Airport Environment Network, Manchester City Council, the National Rivers Authority, the National Trust, and numerous individuals.

The documents themselves range from photocopied extracts from national newspapers through to specially commissioned reports from consultants into particular aspects of the proposed second runway, such as the environmental impact or the potential employment prospects. The collection by no means represents all the documents submitted to the Inquiry, only those in the possession of MAJAG at the time of deposit (for comprehensive lists of all the documents presented see MAI/MS1 to MAI/MS3). Apart from the Unlisted and Miscellaneous Documents (H & MS) they retain their original Inquiry code numbers. The documents which bear the H prefix letter were, although given a prefix letter, not presented to the Inquiry. Documents bearing the MS prefix were originally unnumbered and unlisted: they have been given reference numbers by the Library.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Manchester Aiprort Second Runway project was one of the most controversial large-scale developments of the 1990s.

In 1991 Manchester Airport, which was owned by Manchester Council, set out plans for a second runway to deal with increased air traffic. Various options were canvassed for the location of the new runway, all of which were in proximity to several settlements in North Cheshire. The plans provoked an outcry from many local residents and from environmental campaigners concerned about loss of habitats in the Bollin Valley, close to the airport. In March 1993 a decision was made to build the runway parallel to the existing runway. .

Opposition continued to the proposal and in July 1996 a public inquiry was set up. Among those giving evidence were Manchester Council and the Airport in favour of the plans, and the Manchester Airport Joint Action Group (MAJAG), an umbrella group of those opposed to the project. The Inquiry sat for 101 days, and concluded by approving the planned new runway. Construction commenced in 1997, following which environmental activists set up camps around the construction site in order to prevent work being done. In June 1999, the Appeal Court ruled that activists could be evicted as trespassers. In February 2001, the new runway was officially opened. .


The archive is divided into three main sections: 

  • Proofs and documents submitted by the Airport;
  • Proofs and documents submitted by other bodies and individuals;
  • Unlisted and miscellaneous documents.

Access Information

Open to any accredited reader unless otherwise stated. .

The collection includes material which is subject to the Data Protection Act 2018. Under Data Protection Act 2018, The University of Manchester Library (UML) holds the right to process personal data for research purposes. The Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) Order 2000 enables the UML to process sensitive personal data for research purposes. In accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018, the UML has made every attempt to ensure that all personal and sensitive personal data has been processed fairly, lawfully and accurately. Users of the archive are expected to comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, and will be required to sign a form acknowledging that they will abide by the requirements of the Act in any further processing of the material by themselves.

Acquisition Information

The bulk of this collection represents the documents owned by the Manchester Airport Joint Action Group (MAJAG) which were derived from the Public Inquiry conducted by the Department of the Environment into the Manchester Airport Second Runway application between June 1994 and March 1995. They were deposited by Mr Robert Farr on behalf of MAJAG on 12th May 1995.

Material donated by the Department of the Environment on 4 Apr 1997 is indicated in the relevant description.

Archivist's Note

Further revision of this catalogue will be undertaken at a future date.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopies and photographic copies of material in the archive can be supplied for private study purposes only, depending on the condition of the documents.

A number of items within the archive remain within copyright under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988; it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study.

Prior written permission must be obtained from the Library for publication or reproduction of any material within the archive. Please contact the Head of Special Collections, John Rylands University Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 3EH.

Geographical Names