Heathrow opposition rally shows united cross-party rejection of 3rd runway
That was the message of a cross-party rally staged by the campaign group HACAN in central London on March 3rd.
Politicians from across the political spectrum lined up with environmental chiefs, local authority leaders, businessmen and trade union leaders to pledge opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
Hundreds of people from London and the South East, including many whose homes are threatened by a new runway, filled the hall.
Twickenham MP Vince Cable made it clear that Liberal Democrat policy remained one of total opposition to a third runway. He said there was no sound economic reason why Heathrow needed to expand.
John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, thousands of whose constituents are facing the loss of their homes, predicted that any decision to go-ahead with a new runway would result in the biggest direct action environmental protest in Europe.
Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith spelt out the impact of another 250,000 planes a year on local communities.
HACAN chair John Stewart said: “The rally sent a loud and clear message to the next Government: build a new runway at your peril. The coalition which saw it off last time round is still alive, well and fighting.”
The Airports Commission which is looking into the case for a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick is expected to make its recommendation towards the end of June. The next Government will need to decide whether or not to accept that recommendation.
HACAN campaigns to stop further expansion of Heathrow and to cut the noise people hear from the existing airport. Find out more here.
Vince Cable tweeted:
Support came from across London
The speakers included:
VINCE CABLE MP Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
NATALIE BENNETT leader Green Party
STEVEN NORRIS former Conservative transport minister
JOHN SAUVEN chief executive Greenpeace
ANDY ATKINS chief executive Friends of the Earth
RAVI GOVINDIA leader Wandsworth Council
CHRIS BAUGH Assistant General Secretary PCS union
JILL SEYMOUR MEP UKIP’s national transport spokesman (unable to attend, so replaced by Cliff Dixon )
CAROLINE PIDGEON Liberal Democrat leader Greater London Assembly
CHRISTIAN WOLMAR Labour mayoral candidate
Zac Goldsmith MP
John McDonnell MP
John Randall MP
Mary Macleod MP
Andy Slaughter MP
Cross party Heathrow opposition on display at runway rally
Many of the speakers at the event organised by HACAN highlighted the inconsistency between building additional airport capacity and meeting climate change commitments, which is detailed in our policy brief here. There was also widespread recognition of the challenge for Heathrow Airport of meeting EU air quality limits with modelling recently published by Government revealing that the area around Heathrow is unlikely to be within the limits before 2030 even without a third runway. Our air pollution briefing is available here.
Conservative MPs Zac Goldsmith, Adam Afriyie, Mary Macleod and John Randall, as well as former transport minister Stephen Norris, all stated their opposition to Heathrow expansion, as did Labour MPs Andy Slaughter and John McDonnell, and Mayoral Candidate Christian Wolmar.
Vince Cable MP, speaking on behalf of his constituency and the Liberal Democrat party reiterated the party’s opposition to a new runway anywhere in South East England.London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon also spoke at the event, emphasising the near total opposition of the London Assembly to Heathrow expansion.
Cliff Dixon, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hayes and Harlington, stated UKIP’s opposition to a third runway at Heathrow and proposed using available capacity at other London and South East airports as the solution.
Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, emphasised the party’s opposition to increasing airport capacity in the UK.
Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS Union, stated the need to oppose the unabated expansion of an industry as carbon intensive as air travel. In 2013, PCS published areport on aviation which highlighted the need to “to protect jobs with a more environmentally-friendly policy towards unchecked expansionism”. PCS has also recently published an updated booklet, available here.
This Saturday (7/3/15) there is a protest march taking place on climate change and there will be a section devoted to the “no new runways” message. Details are available here.
Adam Afriyie blasts Heathrow expansion plans at huge rally
“The breadth of speakers from all major political parties at the Rally against the Third Runway shows that Heathrow’s plans are completely politically undeliverable.
“Airport expansion is essential for the trading future of the country. But Heathrow is not the answer.
“Heathrow will cost the taxpayer tens of billions, disrupt millions of residents’ lives with huge increases in noise and pollution, lead to congestion and entrench its position in the aviation market.
“We need a long term solution to our aviation capacity needs and a third runway at Heathrow would be no more than a short-term sticking plaster.
“Heathrow expansion would only help Heathrow and its shareholders, not the country. I will continue to fight tooth and nail against this ill-advised plan to the end.”