Launch of SHE – Stop Heathrow Expansion – fighting to save much-loved village of Harmondsworth
More than 80 people attended the inaugural Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) meeting to bring together the opposition locally in the Harmondsworth area against Heathrow’s plans to destroy their villages. Politicians, campaigners and members of the public came together for the launch of the new action group against a north-west 3rd runway, in the beautiful and historic St Mary’s Church in Harmondsworth’s High Street. Local MP, John McDonnell called on political parties to ‘come clean’ about their positions regarding the airport’s expansion before the general election in 2015. He also urged those affected by the proposals to ‘mobilise’ and demonstrate ‘people power’. He said: “The one thing we can rely on is our own power – people power – because that’s how we won it last time.” The meeting heard that a 3rd runway would mean an extra 260,000 Heathrow flights per year as well as around 750 homes being destroyed, and hundreds more made almost uninhabitable – but with minimal compensation. SHE is not opposed to Heathrow as it is, just to its expansion. The meeting ended with heart-felt singing of the No 3rd runway song, with the chorus: “This is our home, and we will stay; No Third Runway.”
Passions high at launch of SHE – campaign group against Heathrow Airport expansion
Nov 14, 2014 (Get West London)
By Will Ackermann
Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE). The new campaign group’s logo
SHE website SHE on Twitter @StopHeathrowExp Facebook
More than 80 people attended the inaugural Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) meeting to voice concerns about the proposals.
Politicians, campaigners and members of the public came together for the launch of a new action group against plans to expand Heathrow Airport.
More than 80 people attended the inaugural Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) meeting at St Mary’s Church, in High Street, Harmondsworth, last night (Thursday, November 13).
Among them was Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell, who called on political parties to ‘come clean’ about their positions regarding the airport’s expansion before the general election in 2015.
He also urged those affected by the proposals to ‘mobilise’ and demonstrate ‘people power’.
He said: “We are not going to let this [expansion] happen. Of course we thought we had finished it off last time. I thought my days of swinging the mace were over, but they have come back.
“The one thing we can rely on is our own power – people power – because that’s how we won it last time.”
The group has been established by residents from Heathrow Villages to unite individuals and organisations opposed to either building a third runway at Heathrow or extending one of the airport’s existing runways – two of the three options being considered by the Airports Commission.
The meeting heard that building a third runway would mean an extra 260,000 flights a year at the airport, creating added noise and air pollution, as well as around 750 homes being destroyed to make way for the project.
Introducing the group, SHE chairman Neil Keveren said: “Our aims are very simple: to stop the expansion of Heathrow.
“We do not want the closure of Heathrow. We never have. Equally, we do not accept it is a case of ‘Heathrow must grow or die.'”
He added: “It is not the role of SHE to find an alternative. We are just here fighting for our own homes and everything we believe in.”
Various speakers detailed the negative impacts they believe any expansion of the airport would have, from increased noise and air pollution to the demolition of homes, green spaces and historic buildings.
SHE treasurer Justine Bayley said: “Once it’s gone, it’s gone – and we need to make sure we hold onto our heritage.”
She added: “There are lots of old buildings, important buildings, around here… deep history in this area, and I would like to see that continue on, not come to a full-stop because of the short-term whim of foreign investors.”
Also speaking were SHE committee member Bryan Tomlinson; Stewart Pomeroy, programme manager for Colne Valley Park, which would be impacted by any expansion; activist Christine Taylor; Robert Barnstone, of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN); and Hillingdon Council leader Councillor Ray Puddifoot.
Councillor Puddifoot said: “I wish you didn’t have to have SHE and it’s a pity that we have to start the fight again.”
The meeting also heard that among those who had expressed their support for the group but could not attend were writer Will Self, writer and broadcaster Lucinda Lambton and the organisation Greenpeace.
The meeting ended with a heart-felt and spirited rendition of the “No Third Runway” protest song, with the chorus of “This is our home, and we will stay; No Third Runway.”
MP slams report for ‘massively underestimating’ Heathrow third runway damage
Nov 12, 2014 (Get West London)
By Will Ackermann
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell said the Airport Commission’s report did not go far enough. The Airport has also given its views on the findings.
An MP has criticised the Airport Commission for ‘massively underestimating’ the damage that would be caused by expanding Heathrow Airport.
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell said the Airport Commission’s report, published yesterday (Tuesday, November 11), rightly highlighted the environmental implications of the proposals, but did not go far enough.
He said: “The [Airports Commission] report at last acknowledges the ‘environmental stress’ that our area is already under and admits that there would be a ‘substantial negative impact on air quality’.
“However, the commission massively underestimates the impact of Heathrow expansion on the overall quality of life of local people. Nevertheless, it is increasingly apparent that Heathrow expansion is the least attractive option for airport growth.”
The independent commission has been tasked with identifying which would be the best option for increasing flight capacity in south-east England: building a third runway at Heathrow, extending one of Heathrow’s existing runways, or building a second runway at Gatwick.
Yesterday, it published its assessment of the proposals and opened its analysis for public consultation.
The commission found that enlarging Heathrow Airport would result in a ‘substantial negative impact’ on air quality, unless ‘forceful mitigation measures’ were implemented, and that overall noise levels would increase, but fewer people would be affected because of improved aircraft technology.
However, the commission said further work was required to fully assess the environmental impact of the proposals.
Nigel Milton, the airport’s director of external relations, said it was ‘disappointing’ that this work had not been completed in time for the consultation launch.
He added: “What we have said is that we would only allocate onto the third runway the cleanest, quietest aircraft. The bulk of air quality issues are caused by surface transport, so we have committed to switching to hybrid and hydrogen vehicles.”
He also said that with improved rail links fewer staff and passengers would be driving to the airport, and that bosses would consider a congestion charge.
The commission’s report also found that a third runway at Heathrow would cost £18.6 billion, as opposed to the £14.6bn predicted by the airport, while extending the northern runway would cost £13.5bn, rather than £10.1bn.
Mr Milton said this discrepancy was largely accounted for by the fact that the commission had added a 20 per cent ‘optimism bias’ to the projected cost, which he said should only be applied to public sector projects.
Mr Milton said: “We take big issue with the fact that they have added 20 per cent to this cost.
“We are not the Treasury. We know how to procure big projects. We have shown with Terminal 5 and Terminal 2 that we can deliver on budget. We can manage big contracts and procure effectively.”
SHE (Stop Heathrow Expansion)
S.H.E is a resident-led campaign organisation opposing any expansion of Heathrow Airport including the proposed third runway.
S.H.E has three main aims:
1. Stop expansion at Heathrow – no more runways; no increase in flights beyond the current cap.
2. Reduce both air and noise pollution from Heathrow Airport
3. Preserve our community life and heritage
Established in 2014, S.H.E is campaigning for a better quality of life for all residents free from the threat of their homes being demolished or pollution harming their children.
The expansion of Heathrow in terms of both runways and flights are a constant strain on our community. For decades various stages of expansion and the constant threat of more to follow have condemned residents to an ever-diminishing quality of life.
Noise from aircraft wakes residents in the early hours or makes it hard for children to hear in class. Pollution from planes makes the area around Heathrow one of the unhealthiest places to live in the UK. And the threat of a third runway means people live with the very real possibility of having to leave their community to make room for more planes, more pollution and more noise. S.H.E says no more.
S.H.E. is protecting our community; fighting to save it from destruction
S.H.E wants communities that can look forward to a future without the threat of Heathrow expansion
S.H.E wants the right to a decent night’s sleep
S.H.E wants clean air not pollution
S.H.E wants children to hear their lessons not deafening aircraft noise
S.H.E wants our elected politicians to put people before profits for foreign companies
S.H.E wants areas around Heathrow to be lifted from the constant threat of expansion.
Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE). The new campaign group’s logo
SHE on Twitter @StopHeathrowExp
SHE on Facebook