Plane Stupid activists set up protest, locking themselves together, on Heathrow northern runway

At around 3.30am a group of 13 climate change activists from the group Plane Stupid cut a hole in the perimeter fence at Heathrow, and set up a protest  on the northern runway. They set up a tripod of metal poles, and metal fencing panels, and locked themselves onto these. Some were attached by D locks around their necks, onto the fence.  Others used arm locks (two people link arms, linked together with carabinas, inside a hard tube) to make it difficult for police to remove them. Police arrived on the scene shortly after the protest was set up. The first flights arrive at Heathrow from around 4.30am. Flights were delayed while the airport needed to shift runways.  Six protesters were removed quite quickly.  The protest was due to the recommendation of the Airports Commission that a 3rd runway should be built at Heathrow.  Besides the serious negative impacts of the runway on noise, air pollution, destruction of Harmondsworth, huge costs to the taxpayer and considerable social disruption for miles around, the issue which has been glossed over is the CO2 emissions that the runway would create from greatly increased flights, many long-haul. The Commission itself was aware that a new runway would mean the UK could not achieve its aviation carbon cap, and make it less likely the UK could meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050.



BBC  for many more photos:


including a short video of the protesters arriving and setting up and many more photos.

Guardian  with other video clips

Direct action group Plane Stupid said 13 demonstrators opposed to the airport’s expansion plans got on to the northern runway at 03:30 BST.   The runway was closed for nearly three hours and 13 flights were cancelled. All the protesters were removed from the runway by 10:00 BST.


Two of the protesters arm-locked together on the northern runway

Protester: “We don’t have resources at our disposal other than our bodies”


Protesters from the Plane Stupid group have been further explaining their action this morning – and have denied they are putting aircraft in danger.

Sarah Shoraka, a member of the group, told the Guardian: “We thought we’d won this fight, because David Cameron said ‘no ifs, no buts’ there would be no runway at Heathrow.

“We thought it was off the table and then the report came through and we thought ‘we’re going to have to fight this all over again’.

““We picked the spot so we wouldn’t endanger flights trying to land. But we are not big corporations, we are not Boris Johnson, we don’t have resources at our disposal other than our bodies.”

“We need to insert climate change into the narrative, it’s been absent from the whole debate ever since the report came out.”

Plane Stupid would stage more demonstrations on the issue, she added. “There is a huge coalition of groups against this and we have to stop this again.”  Link

And a delightful bit of unintended irony:

Retired couple Jean and Ray Leonard, who were travelling to Munich for a river cruise, said they had mixed feelings about the protest, though they had not been delayed. “We saw the police at the roundabout when we came in and wondered what was happening,” Mrs Leonard said. “It’s very difficult when you’re personally affected and losing your house [because of the new runway].”

“It seems to be young people, not the people affected. They’ve got nothing better to do,” her husband interjected.

Some extracts from early reports below:

• Climate change activists stage protest on Heathrow northern runway
• Dozen Plane Stupid demonstrators cut hole in fence at 3.30am
• Police arrest six after cutting locks from protesters chained to ‘tripod’
• But Heathrow warns passengers face delays and cancellations


Direct action group Plane Stupid said 12 demonstrators opposed to the airport’s expansion plans got on to the northern runway at 03:30 BST.

The runway was closed for nearly three hours. The airport said there would be some delays to flights.

Heathrow Airport said the protesters were still at one of the runways.

Passengers have been told to check with their airlines before they travel.


The airport said its southern runway had remained open throughout the protest.

“We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident.

“Both runways are open although there will still be delays – we are sorry for the disruption to passengers. Our priority remains to ensure the safe running of the airport,” said the airport in a statement.



The airport said the first flight was meant to take off from the northern runway at about 06:00 BST.

A video posted online appeared to show several activists chained together and being spoken to by police officers.

In the footage, an officer told them: “As a consequence of you being here, you are causing severe disruption and it will be in the millions of pounds because it will take us a while to remove you.

“The cost will be in the couple of millions. The airport will attempt to make a civil recovery.”

The Met Police said the protesters had chained themselves together using a tripod which they had assembled themselves.



Ella Gilbert, one of the activists on the runway, said: “Building more runways goes against everything we’re being told by scientists and experts on climate change.

“This would massively increase carbon emissions exactly when we need to massively reduce them, that’s why we’re here.

“We want to say sorry to anyone whose day we’ve ruined, and we’re not saying that everybody who wants to fly is a bad person.

“It’s those who fly frequently and unnecessarily who are driving the need for expansion, and we cannot keep ignoring the terrifying consequences of flying like there’s no tomorrow.

“No ifs, no buts, no third runway. And we mean it.”

After three years of investigation, the Airports Commission said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity, but environmentalists warned that building a new runway there will make it harder to reduce air pollution and climate change emissions.

On 1 July a report recommended a new runway should be built at Heathrow rather than Gatwick.

The Airports Commission said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity, but environmentalists warned building a new runway there would make it harder to reduce air pollution and climate change emissions.




The protest has raised questions about security at the airport’s perimeter fence.

Afzal Ashraf, a consultant fellow at defence and security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, said the security breach is a “concern”.

“If they did manage to get to a runway before being apprehended then there is a bit of an issue,” he said. “If a terrorist group came up to the fence it would take a few minutes to cut through.

“It’s very easy to get to a fence before the police are able to react.”

“I think we need to look at the details, it’s worth asking questions. I don’t think there is a straightforward comparison between protesters and terrorists,” he added.

“It’s one thing to get in and chain yourself to a railing, it’s another to get near an aircraft. I’m sure there will be a security review.”


Scotland Yard has just confirmed that six of the protesters have been arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “At approximately 3.45am on Monday, 13 July, officers were alerted to a number of protesters who had unlawfully made their way airside at Heathrow Airport.

“There were 13 protestors in total on the North runway. Six have so far been arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences and taken into custody.

“Officers remain at the scene and are continuing to work to remove the remaining protestors.”




Heathrow has just released an update explaining that both runways remain open despite the protest, but delays will continue. Passengers are advised to check flight times with their airline.



The Metropolitan Police confirmed that some of the demonstrators had chained themselves together using a so-called tripod.

A spokesman said: “At approximately 3.45am officers were alerted to a number of protesters who had made their way airside at Heathrow Airport.

“A small number of these protesters are believed to have chained themselves to a ‘tripod’.

“Officers are in attendance.”


A Heathrow Airport spokesman said: “A group of people have breached the airport perimeter fence and are currently staging a protest on the northern runway.

“We are working closely with the police who are dealing with the incident. The southern runway remains open. Our priority remains to ensure the safety of the airport community, including passengers, employees and protesters”

The spokesman was unable to yet confirm whether the protest has caused delays for travellers.



Climate change activists are staging a protest on the north runway at Heathrow Airport.

A supporter of direct action group Plane Stupid said a dozen demonstrators entered the runway at 3.30am after cutting a hole in a fence.

He said the protesters were campaigning against airport expansion and would stay there for as long as possible.

Heathrow protest: This is why I broke onto the runway yesterday morning at Heathrow Airport

Over the last few years, the aviation industry has managed to convince the general public that we have an airport capacity crisis. This is a myth


As you’re reading this I am sitting in a police cell. I was one of the 12 people from Plane Stupid who were responsible for breaking onto the runway yesterday morning at Heathrow Airport and holding up flights.

The reason we decided to take what might seem like such extreme action is quite simple: we cannot build anymore new airport runways if we are serious about averting climate catastrophe. This action was a message to the Government who now have to make a decision based on a public debate that until now has virtually ignored the climate change implications. Heathrow versus Gatwick? We can’t expand either if we still remain serious about stopping climate change.

We apologise to those passengers who have been inconvenienced today and we know the action we took this morning won’t be popular with everyone. However, the long-term climate change consequences of building another runway is surely of greater concern here. Aviation remains the fasting growing source of emissions, so at exactly the time when we need to be reducing our carbon emissions – building another runway is clearly the wrong way to go.

Some people flying out of Heathrow today will have been taking their only flight this year or their first flight in a long time. However, the statistics are clear –  15 per cent of the population take 70 per cent of all flights which means that it’s rich frequent flyers who are taking the majority of the flights and burning the planet. What this also does is push up the demand for expansion. To address this we must begin talking again about the need to fly less – in a country that already flies more than nearly any other country per head.

Over the last few years, the aviation industry has managed to convince the general public that we have an airport capacity crisis. This is a myth. Most airports are underused and business flights are declining. The only journeys on the increase are leisure flights which clearly need to be taxed properly so that the environmental cost of flying is factored into the price of the ticket. One way of doing this could be to introduce a ‘frequent flyer tax’.

Furthermore, nine of the ten most popular destinations out of Heathrow are short-haul flights, including to destinations such as Paris and Manchester. If these flights were moved over to existing rail alternatives then Heathrow’s capacity problems would disappear overnight.

I would prefer not to have been arrested today and I’m all too aware that I could end up being sent to prison for this action, but when the aviation industry can splash £3million on advertising to argue for unnecessary runways, sometimes we have to take bold actions to make our voices heard.

Building new runways isn’t for the masses and it will only benefit rich frequent flyers and the aviation industry who continue to enjoy huge tax exemptions and pay no VAT. This represents an  estimated an €27 billion shortfall to Europe each year. In times of austerity, we must ask ourselves – why are we propping up a highly polluting industry in a time of looming climate crisis?

The protest today isn’t about saying we can never go on holiday by plane – it’s about what’s necessary and unnecessary in a world threatened by climate change.

Lastly, a direct message to the Government and the aviation industry: we want to be clear that the anti-airport expansion movement is back and we’re here to stay. “No, ifs, no buts, no third runway”. We mean it.




The 13 activists will appear at Uxbridge Magistrate’s Court on 19th August, charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome.


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Protester whose Harmondsworth home would be destroyed by 3rd runway, blocks Heathrow tunnel for half an hour

A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today. The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that  the Airports Commission report recommends the building of 3rd runway at Heathrow.  This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution. Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”.  The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election. His entirely peaceful protest was only ever intended to last 20 minutes, to avoid disruption to the airport. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.  Neil Keveren made it clear his action was a personal protest, and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group. However, his action were supported by many local residents and the local MP, John McDonnell.


Heathrow tunnel blocked 2.7.2015


A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today.

The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission report recommends the building of a third runway at Heathrow.  This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution.

Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”.  The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election.

While stunned drivers looked on, Mr Keveren climbed onto the roof of the vehicle and shouted slogans including, “No Third Runway” until police arrived and negotiated with him to come down. The protestor made it clear that he was staging a peaceful protest, which he intended to end after 20 minutes.  His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.

Neil Keveren wanted to reinforce the fact that this was a personal direct action protest and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group.

He said, “This was a personal decision but my actions were supported by local residents and our local MP, John McDonnell.

“We have been fighting this airport’s expansion for decades and enough is enough, the Davies recommendation was our red line.

We won’t let our communities be bullied any more or destroyed.”

Heathrow tunnel protest 2.7.2015

The road tunnels are the only route for cars, taxis and buses to travel from the M4 to Terminals Two and Three.

A local supporter who preferred not to be named said, “I feel let down by Davies.

“He has seen the evidence, the communities it will destroy, the air and noise pollution, the carbon emissions and yet he’s ignored it all.

“Air pollution around here already regularly breaches EU limits and the noise is so bad that our children can’t learn in school.  We already suffer with an airport of this size, let alone a bigger one.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: “Police are aware of a protest at Heathrow Airport and have responded.”


From Get West London (though their article contained inaccuracies.




Heathrow third runway backing leaves village fearing for its future

Harmondsworth villagers say they will support direct action against any attempt to bulldoze 750 homes if government backs expansion

1.7.2015 (Guardian)

Community leaders in Harmondsworth, the village that would be largely flattened to make way for a third runway at Heathrow, have reacted with anger at Howard Davies’s recommendation that the plan should go ahead – and alleged they were “deceived” by the government.

Villagers pledged on Wednesday to fight on, including supporting “direct action” against attempts to bulldoze 750 homes, some dating to the 17th century, if the government backs the recommendation that the west London airport should be expanded rather than Gatwick.

Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, vicar at the 950-year-old St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, said: “The government always knew this was going to happen and have deceived us. They have caused a lot of anxiety in this parish especially among older people. They should have told us so people could get on with their lives.”

Amatu Christian-Iwuagwu, vicar of St Mary the Virgin church in Harmondsworth, speaks out
He said he did not want to be the last of 50 vicars who have served the village for close to 1,000 years, and said he had even seen some in his congregation question their faith in God over the runway issue.

In the middle of the village residents have erected a mural showing where the new runway would be. They have also planted “a forest of defiance” on the recreational ground that would become the runway with oaks, hornbeams and field maples.

But the destruction of the village is moving closer. Within 90 minutes of Davies’s decision, letters were delivered from Heathrow’s chief executive, John Holland-Kaye, reminding villagers their homes would be subject to compulsory purchase. He said: “I know this is a time of significant uncertainty and we will continue to keep you informed throughout the process.”

“This is not just a village issue,” said Neil Keveren, 53, a builder and chairman of the Stop Heathrow Expansion campaign. “It will affect hundreds of thousands, if not millions, across London and there will be serious health issues. Boris Johnson, potentially our future prime minister, has promised to lie down in front of the bulldozers and we will be fighting with him.”

Keveren spent Wednesday morning trying to allay the fears of anxious villagers. He told Irene Nsona, 30, a nurse whose son attends the village school that will be demolished, that Heathrow will not win. She said she was very disappointed at the news, adding: “I hope we win this because this is a very, very good school.”

The village of Harmondsworth falls within the Heathrow expansion zone
Jackie Clark-Basten, the owner of a hairdresser in the nearby village of Sipson, which would be at the end of the third runway, said her business would collapse and her home above the shop would be uninhabitable.

“Jets’ landing gear will be clearing my roof every 30 to 40 seconds,” she said. “I will be about 200 yards from the end of the runway. It will be impossible to stay. I just think the process has been a farce. With all the information that was given to Howard Davies in the consultation period on health and the historical content of these villages he has still gone ahead and decided to go with Heathrow. This whole consultation has been a PR exercise and they were going to do this from the beginning.”

Bryan Tomlinson, a taxi driver who operates from Heathrow, vowed to defy Davies’s recommendations. “He will be gone to work at RBS, but we will still be living here,” he said. “He will never beat us. At the moment the people fighting are taxi drivers, hairdressers, mums, housewives, retired people. We are the frontline. But very shortly you will have Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace turning up and every person who believes the climate change act should be honoured by our government. There will be millions of angry people across the country who will make a fuss. They will be trying to glue themselves to David Cameron, they will be climbing Big Ben.”

It was a lot harder on Wednesday morning for Graham Wibrew to start work on the roof of his bedroom and kitchen extension. Davies’s announcement meant it was more likely than ever that his would be one of 750 homes in Harmondsworth to be flattened. It couldn’t have come at a worse time for Wibrew, 47, a carpenter and father of two, who is halfway through spending £60,000 on improving his home.

“When the builders turned up this morning I said you might as well go home, it’s all going to be flattened,” he said. But they are carrying on with erecting the two-storey extension even though, Wibrew admits, he might lose everything.

“I have no idea what the compulsory purchase arrangement is,” he said. “I could lose this money and have wasted £60,000. We went though so much trouble to get planning permission yet they can come along and say we’re going to build another runway as if nothing else matters. I’m the little man and money speaks. We are just figures to them.”





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Protesters stage silent air pollution demonstration at Heathrow Terminal 5

Around 50 campaigners have staged a silent protest against air pollution in Heathrow Terminal 5.  The protesters wore face masks and t-shirts to make their point that the high air pollution levels in the Heathrow area should rule out its plans for a 3rd runway. The protest was just days after the Airports Commission announced a further consultation into air pollution at Heathrow, and a fortnight after the Supreme Court ordered the UK Government to produce plans by the end of the year on how it intends to tackle pollution across the country. The protesters at Terminal 5 included local people whose homes are threatened by a 3rd runway, activists based at Transition Heathrow and residents whose lives are disturbed by aircraft noise.  Air pollution already affects local communities badly, with the amount of road traffic generated by the airport. It will not be possible for Heathrow to guarantee that, with a 3rd runway and an extra quarter of a million planes each year, and associated road vehicle journeys, air pollution levels could be reduced so they meet the EU legal limits. The Airports Commission’s consultation closes on 29th May, and its findings will be included in the Commission’s final report which is expected to be published in June. 

Protesters stage silent air pollution demonstration at Heathrow Terminal 5

10.5.2015 (HACAN)


 Protesters Stage Silent Air Pollution Demo in Terminal 5


Around 50 campaigners staged a silent protest against air pollution in Terminal 5 this afternoon.  The protesters donned masks and t-shirts to make their point that the high air pollution levels in the Heathrow area should rule out a third runway at the airport.

The protest comes just days after the Airports Commission announced a further consultation into air pollution at Heathrow and a fortnight after the Supreme Court ordered the UK Government to produce plans by the end of the year on how it intends to tackle pollution across the country.


The protesters at Terminal 5 included local people whose homes are threatened by a third runway, activists based at Transition Heathrow and residents whose lives are disturbed by aircraft noise.


Local resident Neil Keveren, whose home faces demolition if a third runway goes ahead, said, “Right now air pollution badly affects our communities.  In a number of our areas pollution levels are above the legal limits set down by the EU.  Heathrow Airport claims things are getting better.  But it simply cannot guarantee that, with a third runway and an extra quarter of a million planes a year, air pollution levels will come down so they meet the EU legal limits.  It is just wishful thinking.”   Neil Keveren is Chair of local group, SHE (Stop Heathrow Expansion), which represents the communities close to Heathrow whose homes are threatened by a third runway.

The EU legal limits, set out in the Air Pollution Directive, came into force in 2010.  Because countries across Europe have struggled to meet them, the EU has not fined member states for breaching the limits.  But it has indicated that it expects the member states to draw up plans outlining how they will meet them.  The UK Government had argued that it could take its time in drawing up the plans but ten days ago the Supreme Court ruled that it needed to have plans in place by the end of this year.

Since 2010 air pollution levels in areas around Heathrow have consistently breached the EU legal limits.  The pollution is caused by both the high traffic volumes on the surrounding motorways and the aircraft using the airport.  Heathrow is the only airport in the UK where air pollution is above the legal limit.

The Airports Commission, set up in 2012 to look at the case for new runways, issued a consultation last week into further work it has done on air pollution.  The consultation closes at the end of this month and its findings will be included in the Commission’s final report which is expected to be published in June.  The Commission will either recommend a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick but the Government is not bound by its findings.


See also

Airports Commission to carry out a new consultation on air quality impact of runway schemes

It is reported that the Airports Commission is now intending to carry out a new public consultation on the the impact of air quality of a new runway. It is thought that the Commission is keen to avert a potential legal challenge to their decision, if the runway would put air quality standards at risk. Only recently the UK Supreme Court ruled that as Britain is still not meeting EU air quality standards, it must quickly produce plans to limit pollution, especially NO2. The FT reports that the consultation would be a very quick, technically focused one, perhaps being completed by the end of May. It is not anticipated to involve any meetings with the general public. Sir Howard Davies is off to become Chairman of RBS, starting that job on 1st September. He joins the RBS board at the end of June. Therefore the runway decision was anticipated during June. If the consultation on air quality is to be thorough enough, and give those consulted adequate time to respond, getting an announcement by the end of June would be very difficult. Parts of the Heathrow area regularly breach air quality limits. Though Gatwick has less of an air quality problem, expanding it to the size Heathrow is now would risk breaching air quality limits – and the Commission should not recommend a development that would mean NO2 limits would be broken.

Click here to view full story…





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Polar bears & anti-2nd-runway campaigners descend on Gatwick terminal with dance & song

On Saturday morning, in Gatwick’s South Terminal, an invasion of fancy-dress polar bears took place, who danced, chanted and unequivocally put their “NO NEW RUNWAY” message across. The dancing polar bears – Plane Stupid – descended on the terminal, to make their point that a new runway (either at Heathrow or Gatwick) is a threat to our carbon targets.  Asking” Whose Climate?”(response “Our Climate”) and “Whose Future?” (response “Our Future”) and with huge banners proclaiming “Any Runway is Plane Stupid” and “Climate Chaos Obviously” (rather that Gatwick Airport’s mantra of “Gatwick Obviously” they entertained travellers, putting their message across in a good humoured way (somewhat perplexing the security guards …) for half an hour. No arrests were made, and the polar bears then danced their way out of the terminal. Other protesters against the 2nd runway plans sang the “No Way, 2nd runway, NEVER NEVER NEVER” song, and marched a banner around the terminal. T-shirts read:  “NO 2nd runway.” “Save our tranquillity.” “Save our economy.”  “Save our countryside.”  ” Save our environment.”  “No new flight paths”  (No passengers were inconvenienced in the making of this protest).  




Despite the light hearted tone of the protest, it indicates the intensity of opposition to a new runway at Gatwick.  This comes from all across the political spectrum, and from all sectors of the local communities around Gatwick.

The reasons for intense local opposition are many and varied, including noise, air quality, total change in character of the area, threat to parts of the local economy, pressure on surface transport, need for thousands of more homes, loss of Green Belt ….. and so on ……..

There are also serious concern about the UK’s carbon emissions, and the likelihood of a new runway breaching UK aviation carbon limits. That would be likely to then cause the UK to miss its national carbon target.


The Gatwick song (to the tune of “What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor” lyrics are here.The Gatwick Song (2)


“No Way, 2nd Runway (x3)

Never, never, never

the two banners

Polar bear line

Backs of t-shirts

Any new runway is Plane Stupid

Marching round the terminal

Polar bears leaving

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Harmondsworth Open Day shows the extent of the threat of a Heathrow runway, and what it would destroy

On Sunday 12th April the village of Harmondsworth hosted an open day, to show off the village – and inform visitor about what plans for a Heathrow north-west runway would mean for the area.  The Heathrow Villages are fighting for their survival.  If Heathrow is allowed to build its north west runway, Harmondsworth will be destroyed.  Much of it would be built over, with the airport’s northern boundary slicing off around half of the village. Longford would disappear altogether. During the open day, held on the village green, there were tours of the magnificent early 15th Century Great Barn, and walking tours of the village and of Harmondsworth Moor. A huge canvas had been created, showing a plane and a wire boundary fence – which would be where the airport would come to within a few yards of the current village centre. Though the Great Barn and the Church of St Mary the Virgin would not be demolished, their proximity to the airport boundary would mean the level of noise and air pollution would be intolerable. In an effective short video, Neil Keveren explains how people in the area have been living through hell, unable to plan for their future – or even make decisions about whether to do improvement work on their homes – because of the Sword of Damocles threat hanging over them. And Christine Taylor shows on a map what would be destroyed.


Campaigners protest over third runway at Heathrow


Stop Heathrow Expansion

A day of action was held at Harmondsworth, near Heathrow, to highlight “the devastation” that local residents and campaigners know would be caused by a third runway.

Historic buildings would be under threat in villages around the airport from the development with hundreds of thousands more flights causing extra noise and pollution across the Thames Valley and over London.

Harmondsworth is one of attractive Heathrow villages, and residents are working hard to protect its historic buildings and community.

Its magnificent early 15th-century Great Barn was described by Sir John Betjeman as the cathedral of Middlesex.

Stop Heathrow Expansion

Map below showing Harmondsworth village, and approximate line where Heathrow airport’s northern boundary, with a new north-west boundary, would demolish the southern half of the village.

Harmondsworth sliced

Film on YouTube

Film on YouTube
While the village communities of Harmondsworth and Sipson will be torn apart by a third runway,
The village of Longford will be erased from the map
With it hundreds of years of English heritage will be buried beneath the tarmac.

Harmondsworth takes stand against Heathrow’s third runway plans

21.4.2015 (Get West London)

The village united with parliamentary candidates for an open day to show what would be lost if Heathrow’s third runway plans are approved

Harmondsworth villagers unite in their stance against the third runway

Harmondsworth villagers staged an open day to show members of the public what would be destroyed if a third runway at Heathrow Airport goes ahead.

Residents of the ancient village were joined by prospective parliamentary candidates for Hayes & Harlington on April 12 to make a stand against the third runway.

The event was organised by Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) and Friends of the Great Barn to protect Harmondsworth, which originated as a Saxon manor.

John McDonnell, previous MP and Labour candidate for Hayes & Harlington, said: “I am confident that we can defeat the threat of a third runway once again and once and for all.

“I was so pleased to see the Heathrow villagers rallying to our campaign to save the village once more.

“The Harmondsworth open day demonstrated what a beautiful village would be lost if the third runway went ahead.”

The parliamentary candidates stopped for photos to reiterate their stand against a possible third runway at Heathrow.

Alick Munro, Green candidate for Hayes & Harlington, said: “As a GP with patients in Harlington, I am daily made aware of the effects of air pollution. About one in three of my patients asks for help to cope with their cough, even although the prevalence of smoking in the area is low.

“Nitric oxide and small particle pollution from traffic fumes are well known to make runny nose and itchy eyes worse and aggravate the results of lung function tests.”

UKIP’s Cliff Dixon said: “The residents of Hillingdon have overwhelmingly rejected the project in a referendum. It is time the government and the airport listened to the wishes of the people.”

A focus of the event was the reopening of the 15th-century Great Barn since the completion of major repairs by English Heritage.

Poet Sir John Betjeman, who spoke to visitors at the event, described the barn as “the cathedral of Middlesex”, which was saved from developers by the intervention of a group of determined villagers.

Neil Keveren, chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE), said: “This is a chance for us to show to the world that we are utterly determined to fight for our homes and our community. We will not be going anywhere else.”

The event included the unveiling of a giant mural on Cambridge Close, especially created for the open day, to illustrate the proposed airport boundary cutting through the village.

Mr Keveren added: “We are thankful for the backing we have received from Hillingdon Council and from Harts, the community arts project”.

As well as displaying the mural, SHE and HARTS set up a tree-planting planting project in the Heathrow Villages, with the first tree planted in Harmondsworth Recreation Ground on the day.

World War Two RAF veteran Tommy Thomas, who is one of the oldest residents of the village at age 93, was chosen to plant the oak tree.

As well as the oak, nine new trees now form a triangular grove just south of Harmondsworth primary school.

The Airports Commission has been examining potential sites for new runways in the South East and is expected to publish its final report in June.

SHE hopes to take the canvas on its folding frame to various locations before the Davies Commission announces its recommendation.


Campaigners’ artwork shows life with a third runway

12.4.2015 (SHE – Stop Heathrow Expansion)

A huge artwork created by campaign group, Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE), was used on Sunday 12th April to show Harmondsworth residents how a new airport boundary would cut through their village.

New boundary would cut across Cambridge Close in Harmondsworth

Neil Keveren explaining the huge canvas to the crowd

The painted canvas depicts a wire airport perimeter fence, in front of an imposing aircraft with a control tower in the background.  Two solitary residents, shown as silhouettes in the foreground, look through the fence at what was once their village.

As part of the Great Barn Open Day event, the portable canvas was unveiled in Cambridge Close.  If Heathrow’s North West option for a third runway is given the go ahead, the Close would be demolished together with all the homes and businesses to the south of the published boundary line, including the primary school.  Current plans indicate The Crown public house and properties lining the village green would be left.

Neil Keveren, SHE’s Chair, unveiled the artwork with the assistance of two climate change protestors dressed as polar bears. Representatives from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Plane Stupid, Transition Heathrow and HACAN, showed their support by placing their logos on the painted fence.

Local politicians and parliamentary candidates from the Labour, Conservative, UKIP and Green parties also joined villagers to pledge their support for the anti-expansion campaign.

SHE hopes to take the canvas on its folding frame to various locations before the Davies Commission announces its recommendation in June.

There is a moving and expressive short film, showing how the Harmondsworth village will be devastated, with half destroyed.


Film on YouTube

Film on YouTube
While the village communities of Harmondsworth and Sipson will be torn apart by a third runway,
The village of Longford will be erased from the map
With it hundreds of years of English heritage will be buried beneath the tarmac.

Map shows the area (red line) that would be compulsorily purchased (750homes), for a Heathrow north west runway, and the area (purple line) which Heathrow will now also offer to buy (total 3,750 homes). Details here

Map below shows Heathrow north west runway location, and approximate airport boundary. From Heathrow document.

Heathrow north west runway option 31.7.2013


Candidates from (l-r) UKIP, Conservatives, Labour and the Green Party show their support.

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Polar bear flashmob at Heathrow Terminal Two draws attention to aviation threat to UK CO2 target

Over 30 polar bears invaded Heathrow’s recently opened Terminal Two in a protest against plans for a 3rd runway.  In  a lively flash-mob, the polar bears hung up banners, played in the terminal and danced to music produced by sound systems.  They were watched by somewhat bemused travellers …….The action, which started on the dot of 11am, lasted about 30 minutes.  No arrests were made, as the protesters left of their own accord.  The direct action network Plane Stupid is thought to have been behind the protest which was timed to coincide with the big “Time to Act”  climate change march that took place in central London at lunchtime.  Many of the polar bears travelled to Westminster, to take part in the march. The building of a new south east runway, whether at Heathrow or at Gatwick, would mean that UK aviation carbon targets would be breached (the Airports Commission is aware of this) and UK carbon targets would also be at risk. To permit expansion of aviation CO2 emissions, all other sectors have to make cuts of over 85% – even 90% – in their carbon emissions. Otherwise the UK would not meet its legally binding carbon target for 2050. A Plane Stupid spokesperson said: “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it should not even be thinking about a third runway at Heathrow.”

Polar Bears invade Heathrow Terminal Two


Great video of the dancing etc toohere

Polar_bears_at_heathrow smaller

On Saturday over 30 polar bears invaded Heathrow’s recently opened Terminal Two in a protest against the third runway. The bears hung banners, played in the terminal and danced to sound systems.  The action, which started on the dot of 11am, lasted about 30 minutes.  No arrests were made as the protesters left of their own accord.

The direct action network Plane Stupid is thought to have been behind the protest which was timed to coincide with the big climate change march that took place in London yesterday.

“Rob Gray” from Plane Stupid said, “If the Government is serious about tackling climate change, it should not even be thinking about a third runway at Heathrow.”

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the anti-third runway campaign group, which was alerted to the protest, said, “Plane Stupid played a famous role in defeating the third runway last time round.  This action is a warning that the direct action protesters will be out in force again if a new runway is given the green light.”






One of the polar bears, interviewed after the event, commented:

As well as about 30 bears, there was someone dressed as a pilot who unfortunately got attacked by bears! There was lots of chanting “No Third Runway” etc and banners.  A couple of polar bears tried to display a banner over the balcony of a café but this was rapidly taken down by staff  – who were definitely not amused! There were mixed reactions from other airport staff.   One security woman would have liked to cart us all off to the Tower. Other airport staff thought it amusing and took photos of the flashmob,  as did many real tourists. As well as the bears (many of whom were young bears) having great fun, there was a deep sense of commitment and determination – and very real concerns about the climate impacts of a new runway.


Many of the polar bears then made their way , on public transport, to take part in the Climate March taking place in central London.

Polar bears at Parliament

See also

Strong “No New Runways” bloc gets its message across at the London Time To Act Climate March

The huge “Time To Act” on Climate Change march was held in London on Saturday 7th March. There was a good turnout, described by some as “over 5,000″ and by others as nearer 20,000 (numbers are always hard to be accurate on). The “No New Runways” bloc had a good attendance, from Gatwick and from Heathrow opposition groups, as well as many individuals. Gatwick protesters from CAGNE wore pantomime devil horns, and T-shirts with the logo “Gatwick, Neighbour From Hell.” Many people who stand to lose their homes, to be bulldozed for a new Heathrow runway, too part. The AirportWatch banner read “No New Runways”, and another” Aviation Expansion = Climate Threat.  The runway bloc were with others in the transport bloc,  and marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Parliament, where the speeches took place. During the speeches John McDonnell (the MP for Hayes and Harlington, which the Heathrow north west runway would wipe out) spoke of the need for climate action, not least to oppose a new runway – digging up the village of Harmondsworth. He described the level of protest and direct action that would happen, if the north west runway was recommended, as unprecedented and the “mother of” all environmental battles. The aim of the march is to put pressure on political parties before the general election, and raise the profile of climate change ahead of crucial climate talks in Paris in December.


No New Runways outside Downing Street gate

2 banners outside Parliament


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“Grow Heathrow” squatters in Sipson pledge ‘peaceful’ resistance to bailiffs, due to evict them

The remarkable “Grow Heathrow”squatter community, occupying land near Heathrow in protest at the airport’s expansion, are expected to be evicted by bailiffs today – or soon.   They say they will “peacefully” resist, but a range of non-violent means, including digging tunnels and locking themselves onto items. Grow Heathrow, which includes some 15 families, moved onto a derelict site near Sipson in 2010. The privately owned land had been a wasteland, and an area for anti-social activities. Grow Heathrow cleared rubbish from the site, and created a garden, as well as being as self sufficient in food as possible. They also ran creative and artistic workshops, and a positive and productive community. However, the land owner wants the land back, perhaps for sale to Heathrow airport (their 3rd runway plans would make most of Sipson impossible to live in).  Many local people in Sipson have been delighted to have Grow Heathrow as neighbours, rather than a derelict site. The local MP, John McDonnell said he “wholeheartedly” supported the activists. “These are people who not only helped us fight off the third runway, they’ve actually occupied a site which would have been the sixth terminal for the expanded Heathrow Airport.”



Grow Heathrow squatters pledge ‘peaceful’ resistance to bailiffs

Grow Heathrow eviction campaignMembers of Grow Heathrow have been on the site since 2010

Squatters occupying land near Heathrow in protest at the airport’s expansion say they will “peacefully” resist bailiffs.

About 15 families moved onto a derelict site near Sipson in 2010, creating a garden they call Grow Heathrow.

The land is privately owned and after a lengthy legal battle, the High Court ruled in favour of the owner and ordered the protesters to leave.

The protesters were due to be evicted on Friday morning.

Paddy Reynolds, a member of Grow Heathrow, said: “We plan to peacefully meet them with a barricade of music and dancing and singing.

“If they were to get past that and go inside the actual site, they’d find there’s lots of people there prepared to not very easily be moved from the site, in a very peaceful way.”

BBC London 94.9’s reporter Richard Main, who is at the scene, said the owner of the site, Imran Malik, had entered and left the site after taking a letter from local Labour MP John McDonnell.

‘Sympathetic’ treatment

The MP for Hayes and Harlington has been trying to arrange for the protesters either to buy or rent the land.

Eddy Charles, who has been a resident at the site for one year, said: “The owner and the bailiffs have arrived but I can’t imagine they will do anything today now.

“We are not feeling nervous any more. It’s been warming to see such great numbers turn up and try and protect this space. I think everyone is feeling very upbeat and empowered.”

Earlier protesters had locked the gates and barricaded themselves in, before later opening them.

The local authority, Hillingdon Council, is opposed to the airport’s expansion, but its deputy leader David Simmonds said he could not condone any illegal action.

“We’d like to see them treated sympathetically, and we’ve been very grateful for the support that they’ve provided in that local campaign which has helped in the recent past to persuade the government that expansion shouldn’t go ahead,” he said.

Mr McDonnell said he “wholeheartedly” supported them.

“These are people who not only helped us fight off the third runway, they’ve actually occupied a site which would have been the sixth terminal for the expanded Heathrow Airport.

“They’ve helped us not just in that campaign, but they’ve become part of the community and they’ve turned what was a derelict site into a real community asset and they’re at the heart of our community.”



Grow Heathrow squatters ready to ‘resist’ eviction

Grow Heathrow eviction campaignThe Grow Heathrow campaign has received world-wide support since it started in 2010

After transforming a derelict plot of land into a community market garden in a bid to prevent a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport, a group of squatters are set to be evicted.

Having made Vineries Close in Sipson their home since 2010 they are not prepared to give up their self-built homes easily and have offered their supporters workshops and coaching lessons in how to defend the land.

There is fighting talk from the group of squatters who, under the name of Grow Heathrow, have occupied a slice of greenbelt land in west London for the past four years, seducing their supporters with a post on their website, offering up nature’s rewards.

“If Grow Heathrow hasn’t been evicted, we’re going to bottle loads of blackberries. Bring clean empty jars and you will earn respect, win honour and know true righteousness. If we have been evicted, we’ll just go and eat blackberries.”

The 15 full-time activists and their hundreds of supporters have cleared the site of 30 tonnes of rubbish and created a self-sufficient community, all in defiance of a third runway being built at Heathrow.

Grow HeathrowFrom a wasteland full of rubbish, the residents and volunteers have created a luscious garden

Behind the “doors” they care for the land, building homes from trees, selling produce in the local shop and offering workshops on subjects from bike maintenance to foraging, for anyone who wishes to join them.

The group wanted to create a “place of resistance” for Sipson residents who had seen “the heart ripped out of the community” with the buy-up of land and property by the airport in anticipation of a new runway.

But while Sipson properties may have been spared under new plans, which would see a potential runway built further west than originally proposed, the Grow Heathrow protest site still lies in its path.

The land is owned by businessman Imran Malik and although the activists have garnered support from local residents, MPs and even a judge, they have been told that despite the commendable work it is time to hand the land back to its rightful owner.

Last year Mr Malik, represented by Burch Phillips & Co Solicitors, secured a ruling to evict them, a decision that was upheld during a challenge by the activists at the Court of Appeal in July.

The result means the bailiffs are due to arrive later.

The squatters cleared 30 tonnes of rubbish from the site when they moved inVolunteers estimated that 30 tonnes of rubbish was initially cleared from the site

Georgia Woods, 21, who moved to the site when she was 18, said: “It’s very hard not knowing what’s going to happen and for the incredible space to be threatened.”

The squatters moved onto the site in March 2010 but it is not just a point they wanted to make, it was also about trying to save homes and livelihoods.

Ms Woods said: “We don’t get paid but we all have to do things that make the site run, like growing food or running the free community workshops.

“With the solar panels and wind turbine we have more than enough energy for phones, lights and music. We have totally normal electricity but you learn to appreciate the weather so much more.

ForagingForaging is one of the jobs required to be undertaken by residents of the site

“It’s really understanding the power of community and a gift economy.”

Ms Woods’ home has come from the land too.

“Mine’s made out of hazel and it’s just very small and has got a little woodburner which we built,” she said.

“We’re happier and creating a lighter footprint on the world rather than causing harm to someone through our consumerist polluting lifestyle.”

Winter 2010Even in the depths of winter in 2010 the residents remained self-sufficient and living on site

Despite the idyll of living on a currency-free land, Grow Heathrow does recognise harsh reality and has been trying to buy or rent the land from Mr Malik.

The group has so far offered £50,000, which they say is “above market value” and would have been generated through a crowd-funding project.

John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington, who has supported the squatters “from the first day” said: “We’ve been trying to get involved in some formal negotiations and asked them to get around the table, we’re quite happy as a community to rent the site.

“We’ve heard nothing back from the solicitors, but the door is always open.”

Whether or not it is right that an MP supports the squatters, Mr McDonnell said it had been a “tremendous success and a brilliant asset”.

Wind turbineA wind turbine and solar panels have been constructed to generate enough electricity for every day life

“It’s a demonstration that a small part of land can be so environmentally sustainable, it’s a shining example of what you can do through voluntary effort and what Grow Heathrow have done is turned it back to what it was, an environmental benefit for the area,” he said.

However, little consideration has been given to what happens after the bailiffs arrive.

Rob Hickley, 32, a gardener, said: “We’re not really thinking that far ahead yet, but with the relationships made over the past five years perhaps people will stay with others in the community.

“People will be made homeless as a result of this.”

Grow Heathrow eviction campaignGrow Heathrow has been running workshops and classes to prepare people for the arrival of the bailiffs

Heathrow Airport said it recognised that as well as “bringing huge advantages to the UK and the local people” a new runway would have “downsides for people living nearby”.

It said: “That is why we have rejected our previous plans for a third-runway and have put forward a new option further to the west of the airport, which strikes a better balance between the need for growth and local communities like Sipson.”

That is of little consolation to the squatters, who will be evicted regardless of where a runway could eventually be built.

Ms Woods said: “It’s been four and a half years, we had no idea it would last that long. We thought it was going to be squatted for potentially months, so it has been a success.

“Everyone’s pretty apprehensive and it’s pretty scary, but we’re not doing anything wrong, we’re doing amazing things.”

Efforts have been made to contact Mr Malik but, having recently parted company with his solicitors, he has not been located.


Related Stories


Transition Heathrow eviction day starts with a song round the piano

Local people and supporters of the Grow Heathrow campaigners have blocked the entrance to the squatted old nurseries and are awaiting the arrival of baliffs.

Local people and supporters of the Grow Heathrow campaigners have blocked the entrance to the squatted old nurseries and are awaiting the arrival of baliffs.

A piano sits the other side of the colourfully decorated fence and those inside the community are singing: “We don’t want your runway”.

Also: “Throw your vegetables in the air”, and even: “You are my sunshine.”

 In front of the gates of the former nursery in Vineries Close, Sipson, there is a smoothie stand and people making drinks with fruit and vegetables grown on in the greenhouses.

There is also a seed stand and people are quietly planting them in the ground.

The aim of the peaceful protest is to show exactly what grow Heathrow is all about, says Eddie, a resident.

TV and radio crews are milling around.

People expect bailiffs to arrive with police support. They said they would be there from 8am.


What is Grow Heathrow?

As residents prepare to resist eviction today, one squatter explained what brought him there

Oliva Howard, 15, a Sipson resident. She D-locked herself to the Grow Heathrow entrance. ‘You can’t evict an idea’, reads her sign.


There are around 15 families who live permanently in self-made homes at the community garden site in Sipson and at least 100 others who regularly work at the site.

Eddie has been a resident for a year.

He would not reveal his surname or age, but was happy to explain how he became part of the Grow Heathrow family.

He joined after hearing about it through word of mouth.

Squatters make tea and coffee on a stove in front of a ‘LOVE’ sign

“I’m now friends with them, I love the people who love here, this is my livelihood, it gives me purpose,” he said.

“A lot of people have found they take great fulfillment out of skills we promote here; growing food, bike mechanics, communal living, learning to live with other people – all those different elements.

“The whole value system of this place is our intrinsic goal of community cooperation as opposed to intrinsic goals of individualism and financial gain.”


A squatter makes smoothies using a blender powered by a bicycle


The third runway campaigners and the Grow Heathrow supporters are not isolated to one political party.

“There’s a huge political spectrum – right and left – that is against the third runway,” explained Eddie.

“It’s important that the Government and authorities don’t paint us with a brush of radical squatters or other negative stereotypes.


The Hillingdon branch of Friends of the Earth support Grow Heathrow


“This project has within it other groups which you can’t paint with that brush. For example, Hillingdon Friends of the Earth and campaign groups against the third runway such as HACAN.

“We have common ideas and motivation with them.”


28-year-old Teresa Green with her baby, Raven, Teresa is a part time resident of Grow Heathrow.


John Stewart from HACAN did a talk at the site yesterday (Thursday, August 14), explaining the successes of the campaign group so far.

“The government was unsuccessful in making the third runway happen,” said Eddie.

“John said that’s the first time the aviation industry has had such a crushing blow.

“That was a result of alliance and coalition between direct action and more formal campaign groups, plus using your civil rights to lobby and campaign where you can.

“That is visible in the demonstration here today.

“That coalition is very effective. It is politically very difficult and risky for them [the Government] to go ahead with this proposal.”

The group wants “peaceful resistance” to the eviction threat.

Sipson resident Tracy Howard, 40, and her daughter Olivia Howard, 15, D-locked themselves to the site entrance by their neck as they sang along to songs coming from the other side of the gates.


Made possible by squatting – a sign on the fence of the Grow Heathrow community garden


As of 11.30am there was no sign of police or bailiffs.

Land owner Imran Malik made a brief appearance but refused to engage in conversation with squatters or media.




“Grow Heathrow” still hanging on in Sipson – which would be wiped out by a 3rd northern runway

25.11.2013A small Transition community calling itself Grow Heathrow set up in Sipson three years ago, in order to give heart to the community, so badly damaged by the runway threat and the purchase by Heathrow airport of many properties. The Grow Heathrow site is a hub for local residents and environmental activists to share knowledge and practical skills such as organic gardening, permaculture design, bicycle maintenance and wood and metal work. They endeavour to be self-reliance, producing their own food; by use of solar and wind power, as well as simpler heating technologies, they are completely “off grid”. They collect water from the greenhouse roofs to feed the plants, fruit and vegetables; they use fuel-efficient rocket stoves to heat water; they have compost toilets making “humanure.” The site has been  under threat of eviction for many months. Following an Appeal Court decision on 3rd July 2013 that the landowner could take possession, nothing has happened. They could be evicted at any time. They are still trying to negotiate with the landowner to buy the land, and the legal process seeking to apply to appeal to the Supreme Court is still trundling along. Meanwhile Heathrow’s proposal for a 3rd runway in the Harmondsworth area, west of Sipson, has been short-listed by the Airports Commission.

Grow Heathrow campaigners fight eviction at High Court


A group of young people, calling themselves “Grow Heathrow”, set up a market garden and informal community on squatted land in Sipson in 2010. The land had been derelict and was not being used by its owner, Mr Malik. He has been attempting to remove the squtters, who are environmental activists, for the past two years or more. The case for their eviction went to the High Court on Tuesday 15th January. Grow Heathrow say their case is an important challenge to the idea that landlords can leave land empty in the middle of a housing crisis. Mr Malik was given the judgement of possession in July. The basis of Grow Heathrow’s appeal is Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which is the right to have a home and family life. On the one hand, Grow Heathrow say they have added “social value” of the garden while it is wrong to keep the owner out of land for which he had paid a six-figure sum.  Given the widespread importance of the issues raised by the case, Lords Justice Ward, Lloyd and Toulson are expected to reserve their decision until a later date – probably 14th February.



“Grow Heathrow” in court facing eviction from their organic gardening site in Sipson – (now delayed a few weeks)


The “Grow Heathrow” community, who have turned an area in Sipson that was once a “derelict mess”, into a thriving market garden, are facing eviction. However, the young people living there are popular with the local community, who want them to stay. When they arrived several years ago, they cleared as much as 30 tonnes of rubbish off the site, renovated greenhouses and now grow organic lettuces, courgettes,squashes etc.  The site happens to be where a 3rd runway was to be built – a location in many of their neighbours’ interests to protect. The owner of the land wants his land back, and a hearing at Central London County Court began on Monday but the judge has decided to take more time, so they are not due back in court for several weeks.  The court is expected to weigh up the human rights and hard work of those who have moved in against the simple fact the land is not theirs.

Transition Heathrow. We’re not going anywhere !

17.11.2011Transition Heathrow’s “Grow Heathrow” project were due to be in court on 17th November, for a hearing about having them evicted from the site they are occupying at Sipson.  The judge took into account the human rights arguments and adjourned the case to the higher authority of Central London County Court where a two day hearing will take place in a few months time. The owner of the site wants the land back, though it had been neglected for years, and Grow Heathrow has turned it into a thriving community venture.



New video from Transition Heathrow to mark the group’s first birthday


Check out this video of the Transition Heathrow first birthday – a very positive
aftermath of the battle to defeat the third runway at Heathrow.


There is much more about Transition Heathrow at









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Up to 20,000 attended a damp but determined weekend at Notre Dame des Landes, against planned Nantes airport

Up to 20,000 or so people (estimates vary) gathered at Notre Dame des Landes over the weekend of 5th and 6th July, from across France, to support the campaign against the planned airport, and show their solidarity. Though dampened by almost continuous rain on the first day, spirits were not dimmed, and some 50 talks and debates went on – under canvas. There were also concerts by popular French singers, as well as stalls and activities for all ages. Some of those taking part in the weekend are opposing other Large Unnecessary Imposed Projects (Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés) across France, with a sincere desire to stop mega-projects that do great environmental harm, for dubious economic benefit. Work on the airport project has been frozen since 2012, largely due to legal obstructions. The last large protest by the Nantes opponents, organised by ACIPA, was on 22 February 2014, attended by between 20 000 and 50 000 people in streets of Nantes, which was severely policed, and from which there were injuries and some public damage.This weekend’s event was peaceful, and once the sun came out, the sky was filled with protest kites.



Below are some articles about the Notre Dame des Landes gathering, on 5th and 6th July, in imperfect English (original articles in French).

Un festival de musique a été organisé à Notre Dame des Landes, le 5 juillet.

John Stewart, (Chair of AirportWatch and of HACAN at Heathrow) attended the gathering. His comment:

“They came  from all over France and beyond.  They came in the weather so wet it would put West Wales to shame.  They came in record number.  Perhaps 20,000 people  – or maybe more – came to the protest weekend at Nantes.
The long-running campaign against a new airport at Notre-Dames-des-Landes in West France has become cause célèbre in France.  The protesters have gained so much support, including, critically, from direct action activists, that it is difficult to see the authorities finding a way to build the airport even if they overcome the legal obstacles and get hold of the money.
More widely, it is yet more living proof of the opposition new airports or new runways generate.  Nowhere in Europe can the authorities be confident of getting expansion plans through.”

More news about the gathering at

Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Debates and boots


Thousands of opponents of the project … by joe-en

Thousands of opponents of the proposed airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (44) flocked this Saturday, on the site to assist in the rain at large summer gathering of the movement and call for the abandonment of the project disputed transfer from Nantes-Atlantique Airport.

> Back to 15 dates in a controversial [Interactive Timeline] project
From all over France or other European countries, opponents flocked around the stands and marquees debates, but also on narrow roads near the site, which bouchonnaient as a day of going on holiday. In the late afternoon, between 7,000 and 8,000 people were indeed on the spot according to the organizers, more than 4,000 according to police, just before the concert headliners of the first day of the rally, Miossec, Sanseverino and Pigalle . Duflot and Bové support”In Brussels, we also have problems with the aircraft, it touches all people who are in this movement,” says Juliette, a young woman from Belgium with two friends, all three covered with long ponchos rain.

“We are farmers, for us it is important to defend the land to feed the people,” says Réjane a fifties activist first time came Loire-Atlantique.

“It should not be, because the development of air transport is a dead end, Airport Bouguenais (Nantes-Atlantique, Ed) works very well, a simple financial logic shows that the project of Notre-Dame-des- Landes is an aberration, “said Thierry, who came from Loire-Atlantique too.

Surprise guest, former Minister of Housing environmentalist Cécile Duflot arrived mid afternoon, at ease among his friends struggle. “We need to kind of pressure that we posed to the people who live and work here and who, for so many years, living with a sword of Damocles over the head. It has to stop now, “said MP EELV.

Not far from her, José Bové MEP EELV, said that “we are at a turning point in the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. It is clear that today the state is beginning to understand that this project will not succeed. ” Optimism tempered in the wet fields of Bellevue farm, north of the “Area of deferred development” or Zad project, now 18 months since the heart of the peasant resistance, debates succeed in capitals.

Opponents farm Thousand Cows in the Somme, the “No-Tav” (opponents of the Lyon-Turin railway line), through defenders AMAP (Association for the maintenance of peasant agriculture) or even opponents denouncing police violence use launchers soft ball all currents meet.

Artists also came to militants. “I am a kind of citizen who wants to ecology and who want a friendly environment, I have no desire there is an airport here,” says Sanseverino, making the balance of his concert in rain.

Optimism prevails, since the announcement this winter by the Government that the work will not begin until the end of legal proceedings. But Julien Durand, spokesman for the ACIPA, the main association of opponents, “as we will not have an official signature of the government adopting the declaration of public utility, the project can always go back.”


In April, the European Commission opened infringement procedure against France, which is accused of failing to conduct an environmental assessment of the controversial airport project.


Notre-Dame-des-Landes. 22,000 participants in summer gathering

The largest gathering ends tonight music. Since Saturday it has united some 22,000 people, according to the organizers.

The largest gathering of solidarity and music at Notre-Dame-des-Landes  came to an end on Sunday 6th July.

The 14th large anti-airport gathering started on Saturday and brought together 22,000 participants,according to organizers. The authorities say 12,000 people.

At the  rally there were also many debates and education sessions, with fifty meetings and forums.

This gathering also attracted opponents fight against other “big useless projects” (Les Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés) such as the project Lyon-Turin rail link.   for more in French and a video clip.




Notre-Dame-des-Landes: new opponents rally at the airport



On the occasion of their big summer rally, thousands of opponents of the airport project can be found on the site on Saturday.

Photo illustration.
Photo illustration. © Jean-Sébastien Evard / AFP


Thousands of opponents of the proposed airport in Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) Saturday began pouring on the site at the time of their great summer, rain rally to demand the abandonment of the disputed transfer from Nantes Atlantique Airport project.

The first debate, for example on the “civil disobedience”, began in mid-day under large tents set up in the fields around the Bellevue farm, became the center of peasant protest on the site for the airport, was a journalist of the AFP .

The promise  in the afternoon of the first day of the rally, of concerts by Miossec , Sanseverino or Pigalle promised to draw a lot of people – despite the rain. Sanseverino was already mid-day balance of his concert on the main stage at the bottom of a large banner which proclaims on yellow background, “Abandonment is now.” (L’Abandon. C’est Maintenant).

Set up all around the arena were stalls of various militant anti-capitalist and anti-globalization struggles, as opposed to the “farm thousand cows in the Somme, or No-Tav (not TGV Lyon-Turin), representing their own struggles.  Parties and opposition political groups opposed to the draft Notre Dame-des-Landes airport, such as EELV or the Left Party are also represented.

“The project can always come back”

The construction of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport by the company,Vinci  which should have been completed in 2017, has been frozen since 2012 due to strong opposition both on the ground, and due to legal issues and political plans.

The government announced on February 28, through Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was then Prime Minister, that the work of the airport was expected to start  the end of legal proceedings.

“We are here to show our determination, as long as we do not have an official signature of the government adopting the declaration of public utility, the project can always come back,” said Julien Durand, the spokesman for ACIPA, main opposition group and organizer of the rally,speaking to AFP (Associated French Press).



Notre-Dame-des-Landes : des milliers de personnes pour dire non à l’aéroport

5.7.2014Des milliers de personnes sont attendues ce week-end sur le site contesté du futur aéroport nantais à Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique). Parmi eux, des élus, dont l'écologiste Cécile Duflot (à gauche).

Des milliers de personnes sont attendues ce week-end sur le site contesté du futur aéroport nantais à Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique). Parmi eux, des élus, dont l’écologiste Cécile Duflot (à gauche). 

Les opposants à Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) ne désarment pas. Ce samedi, plusieurs milliers de personnes, qui réclament l’abandon du projet de transfert de l’aéroport Nantes Atlantique, ont répondu à l’appel des organisateurs du festival «L’abandon c’est maintenant !» organisé par les opposants au projet.

Pour ce grand rassemblement qui va durer tout le week-end, 30 000 personnes sont attendues entre samedi et dimanche, sur le site contesté du futur aéroport. <btn_noimpr>

En fin d’après-midi, en dépit de la pluie, quelque 7 à 8 000 personnes étaient arrivées sur place selon les organisateurs, plus de 4 000 selon la police, juste avant les concerts des têtes d’affiche de ce premier jour du rassemblement,  et Pigalle.

Cécile Duflot by surprise guest

Opposing the project are politicians of the party, as MEP José Bové EELV. “We are at a turning point in the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes: it is clear that today the state is beginning to understand that this project will not succeed,” he says. The former Minister Cécile Duflot arrived in the middle of the afternoon. “We need to stop the kind of pressure that puts on people who live and work here and who for so many years have been living with the sword of Damocles over their heads; it has to stop now, “says a member of EELV (Europe Ecology Les Verts).

See picture on Twitter

“We are here to show our determination,”

In booths set up all around the capitals of various militant anti-capitalist and anti-globalization struggles, as opposed to “the farm thousand cows” in the Somme, or No-Tav (not TGV Lyon-Turin), present their struggle. Artists also came to militants. “I’m kind of a citizen who wants to ecology and who want a friendly environment, I have no desire there is an airport here,” says Sanseverino by balance of his concert in the rain. “We are here to show our determination,” said Julien Durand, a spokesman for the ACIPA, main opposition group and organizer of the rally.

Last year, at the height of the summer rally, held on 3 and 4 August, between 9000 and 25000 people attended the event, according to the respective numbers of the organizers and the prefecture of Loire Atlantic.

Works on standby since 2012

According to the original schedule, the work of the airport tarmac, the concession was awarded to Vinci group, have been started in spring 2014 and the airport should be opened in 2017. But with strong opposition both on the ground that the legal and political, construction has been frozen since 2012. latest episode mark of protest, the demonstration of 22 February 2014 which was attended by between 20 000 and 50 000 people opposed to the project in streets of Nantes. This event was punctuated by intense clashes between anti-capitalist activists with radical forces. Dozens of people were injured on the side of police and three protesters have lost the use of one eye . The damage had been estimated at one million euros. In the aftermath, the government announced on February 28, by the voice of Jean-Marc Ayrault, then Prime Minister, that the work expect the end of legal proceedings initiated to start .



A Notre-Dame-des-Landes, la mobilisation reste intacte et la décision incertaine

Par Rémi BarrouxUn festival de musique a été organisé à Notre Dame des Landes, le 5 juillet.
Se fera-t-il, ne se fera-t-il pas ? La question restait entière pour la grande majorité des participants au rassemblement à Notre-Dame-des-Landes contre le projet d’aéroport qui doit être construit à une vingtaine kilomètres au nord de Nantes.Samedi 5 et dimanche 6 juillet, des milliers d’opposants – plus d’une dizaine de milliers selon les organisateurs, moitié moins selon la police – à ce projet porté par le gouvernement, la région Pays de la Loire et la municipalité nantaise se sont retrouvées pour dire non à la plate-forme aéroportuaire, dont Aéroports du Grand Ouest (AGO), filiale de Vinci, doit assurer la construction et la gestion.Deux jours de concerts (avec notamment Miossec, Sanseverino, Pigalle…) et de déclarations contre l’aéroport, mais aussi contre la future ligne ferroviaire Lyon-Turin et d’autres infrastructures jugées « inutiles et coûteuses ». Dans la foule militante, des écologistes, des anticapitalistes, des agriculteurs, des opposants de la première heure au projet vieux de quarante ans et une ancienne ministre du gouvernement de Jean-Marc Ayrault, ardent défenseur de la construction de l’aéroport : Cécile Duflot.


Notre-Dame-des-Landes anti-system Zadistes invite themselves into the debate


Some anti-system zadistes invited themselve into the meeting of political anti-airports which began there half an hour earlier, in under the big tent, because of the rain.

  “Democracy is the shit”, “Stop all work”, they regularly interrupted speakers and wanted toget their points across though  organizers obviously did not want to give them the floor.

One of them has even asked to leave the tent. Which they did not do.

For several months, relations have been strained between historical opponents of the airport,  and some of zadistes who are occupying part of the land.








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Huge gathering at Notre Dame des Landes – 20,000 + expected – this weekend against new Nantes airport

A huge gathering is taking place this weekend, at Notre Dame des Landes, in western France, against the planned airport at Nantes. This airport has been proposed for years, to replace the existing Nantes airport. It has been bitterly and fiercely opposed, not only by those whose land and farms will be expropriated by the plans, and other local people who do not want their area and their countryside destroyed. It is also opposed by thousands of people from across France. This weekend is now becoming a regular annual protest, each summer. Between 20,000 and 30,000 people are expected for a huge festival, with music, poetry, speeches, fun and food sharing. Caravans of supporters have been making their way to Notre Dame des Landes, on foot and bike (as well as by car) for several weeks, some walking huge distances. The airport planning is bogged down in legal challenges and legal details. Though work was expected to start this spring, nothing has happened. This airport project is one of a number of Grands Projets Inutiles Imposés which are being fought not only in France, but in other European countries.


Nantes protest arrivals

The festive weekend and activist began a march with participants from all over France

On foot, by bike or car, they came from all over France. Opposed to the waste of land and what they call unnecessary and imposed major projects, these activists converged on Friday by late afternoon, at Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

The retired farmer Michel Tarin, a figurehead of the anti-airport movement, led a three-kilometer walk in the bocage. As farmers of Larzac did in 1978, participants were provided with walking sticks, and these resonated rhythmically as people walked down the small roads towards the gathering..

All weekend takes place at Notre-Dame-des-Landes activist and festive gathering around the slogan “abandonment, it is now!” Supporters of anti-airport movement, Miossec, Sanseverino, or Pigalle must occur Saturday on the big stage. Sunday, we will hear Filoche and Heads Straight.The morning meeting will bring together twelve political stakeholders, including MEP José Bové.

Full program on

Nantes Irene 600 km


More stories, in French (or atrocious Google translation into English!) at  SccopIt! at




Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport: thousands of opponents expected this weekend 

3.7.2014 (Metronews.France)

AIRPORT – Opponents organize their large traditional festive weekend Saturday and Sunday at the site of the future airport of Nantes. Program debates, concerts, political speeches.

Last year, the gathering drew 9-25 of 000 people.

Last year, the gathering drew 9-25 of 000.Photo: Jean-Sebastien Evrard / AFP

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New branch of CAGNE – CAGNE East – formed in Kent, joining the original in West Sussex

The threat of a 2nd Gatwick runway, and the “trials” of new flight paths by Gatwick airport, has caused considerable upset in areas across southern Surrey, West Sussex, East Sussex and Kent.  The flight path routed over the Warnham area (Warnham, Rusper, Kingsfold, Winterfold, Rowhook, Slinfold and North Horsham) set in motion the formation of CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions – to fight against the unwelcome noise intrusion into the lives of thousands.  CAGNE has now grown, as more and more people upset by the flight paths – and the threat of more – join forces.  There are now two other groups, working in East Sussex and in Kent, as well as the original CAGNE in Warnham, West Sussex. A group of residents, formerly the Bidborough Environmental Action Group, are becoming CAGNE East opposing planes, flying day and night – an aircraft “superhighway” – over historic areas of the High Weald ANOB, most of Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, Bidborough, Rusthall, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever. CAGNE East strongly supports the High Weald Parish Councils HWPCAAG initiative, opposing Gatwick’s bid for a 2nd runway. 




  • For more on the flight path trials, and consultations on airspace and flight paths see

  • Flight path changes and trials

  • GACC has now produced a detailed and excellent document, deciphering the badly written consultation document, and setting out the important facts so people can respond to the consultation.                                                                                                     GACC notes on Airspace Consultation Phase 2  –  July 2014

CAGNE finds its Lacey

 30.6.2014 (CAGNE –  Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions – in the Gartwick area)
CAGNE_and_CAGNE_East (1)
Image of GACC Jane Vogt with Simon Byerley and Kealey Castle of CAGNE EAST, Sally Pavey and Bill Sorrell of CAGNE
CAGNE – Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions – has joined forces with the Kent protest group against Gatwick Airport’s new runway.
A group of residents, formerly the Bidborough Environmental Action Group, will become CAGNE East in an effort to stop new flight paths, The Gatwick Superhighway of planes will fly day and night over historic areas of the High Weald AONB  (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty), most of Tunbridge Wells and Southborough, Bidborough, Rusthall, Penshurst, Chiddingstone and Hever..
 ‘Gatwick Airport plan to place a constant stream of low flying planes over historic sites and many homes that have not suffered aircraft noise before, and this is all before a second runway which would bring additional damage to these areas,’ said Simon Byerley of CAGNE East.
‘By working together we aim to raise community awareness of what is planned by Gatwick Airport, not only through the current changes to flight paths, but how a new runway will alter the Home Counties forever,’ said Sally Pavey, Chair of CAGNE.
CAGNE was formed this year by concerned residents after a trial route was instigated by Gatwick Airport over areas of West Sussex not previously overflown, affecting residents in Warnham, Rusper, Kingsfold, Winterfold, Rowhook, Slinfold and North Horsham.
CAGNE East strongly supports the HWPCAAG initiative, the alliance of the parish Councils across East Sussex and West Kent who oppose Gatwick’s bid for a second runway. Both CAGNE and CAGNE East are also working very closely with Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign, a volunteer group that has opposed Gatwick expansion since 1968.
‘GACC is continuing to lead the battle to protect the environment around Gatwick, opposing the outrageous plans of Gatwick Airport for new flight paths and a second runway.  We are delighted to have two new protest groups from the West and East working with us as members of GACC but bringing new strength to the battle in their own areas,’ said GACC Chair Brendon Sewill.
Residents can find out additional information at and concerned residents of Kent should contact

Contact details for the local groups:

GACC (Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign)

GACC is the long-standing community campaign at Gatwick airport, and has been active for some 5 decades. It is principle group in the area, with long experience and an immense amount of expertise and experience. The other groups below are all members of GACC. They all work closely with GACC.
Enquiries: Brendon Sewill (Chairman); Peter Barclay and John Byng (Vice-Chairmen)

CAGNE (Communities Against Gatwick Noise and Emissions)

Twitter @cagne_gatwick
Enquiries –  Sally Pavey


Blog at
[The group has emerged from BEAG – the Bidborough Environment Action Group].
CAGNE East is the sister group of CAGNE.   CAGNE East is for all residents and local communities East of Gatwick Airport. Set up by concerned residents of Bidborough in Kent, it provides campaign support to a growing network of residents, communities, campaign groups, Parish Councils and NGOs who are all concerned about Gatwick expansion.
CAGNE East opposes a 2nd Gatwick runway, night flights and the proposed new ‘superhighway flightpaths’, which unchallenged, pose a grave threat to our way of life and our regional economy.
(The beagblog will continue to focus on aviation as well as other local environmental issues, and in the next month or so, (August 2014 perhaps) a new blog devoted entirely to aviation issues will be set up. Sadly these things have to be done, (in contrast to Gatwick airport with its massive budget and large number of staff) by volunteers, in their own time, fitted around work, family and other commitments. So, as they say ….. “Bear with ….” ! )
Enquiries –  Simon Byerley  and Kealey Castle

ESCCAN (East Susses Communities for Control of Air Noise).

There is also now a very active residents group in Crowborough, called ESCCAN  They want to keep a local focus for their concerns in the Crowborough area, and the protection of the Ashdown Forest.

WAGAN (Weald Action Group Against Noise) 

There is another local group,  WAGAN which is working very closely in support of HWAAG (High Weald Aviation Action Group). These groups are also working on blogs, and as with the case of CAGNE East, this depends on volunteers managing to fit in this work, unpaid, in already busy lives.


(High Weald Aviation Action Group) and the

HWPCAAG (High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group)

This has been formed to fight increasing noise and to oppose Gatwick’s bid for a 2nd runway. The group consists of eight parishes in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which are all adversely affected by Gatwick aircraft noise. The group consists of the Parish Councils of Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst and 4 other parishes. Their chair is Richard Streatfield, who is the Chairman of Chiddingstone Parish Council.  Email:



Photo: CAGNE drop in events to help residents understand what Gatwick want to do in the skies above us and how we can object. #CAGNE #RUSPER #WARNHAM #SLINFOLD #ROWHOOK #HORSHAM


CAGNE East and the BEAG (Bidborough Environment Action Group)

BEAG was originally intended as a very local and general environmental interest group. However, with more and more planes flying overhead and with more and more people joining from all over the area – Southborough, Tonbridge, Langton Green Rusthall, central Tunbridge Wells – and most of whom only really wanting to know about the planes, it became increasingly apparent that the Bidborough group was misnamed: there was a real need for a contact point where people concerned about increasing noise and pollution levels  from planes over West Kent could find out more about how Gatwick’s plans translate into the changes we are noticing in our local environment.
Core members of BEAG formed a more active team focussed on the Gatwick issue, and when the lead members of BEAG, Simon Byerley and Kealey Castle, met Sally Pavey things just clicked into place.
BEAG were impressed by the unique fusion of creativity, passion and professionalism in Sally’s approach and found, despite some very fundamental differences between the noise problems faced by residents under departures vs arrivals, that they shared some key objectives. This aviation issue is a David and Goliath situation – it seemed that joining with the CAGNE movement would best serve the interests of  residents in Kent, in the greater scheme of things.
The beagblog is to continue with its more general focus (gradual switch likely to the fracking debate – we have a bore hole in Bidborough that will go active next year.)
Simon Byerley is getting the CAGNE East blog up and running but unfortunately he has a full time job, and as all volunteer activity, this has to be fitted into an already full life.
The beagblog is a temporary contact point for the aircraft flight paths issue. A new, more informative CAGNE East site specifically for the aviation issue is planned.  It should be up and running by August (fingers crossed!)


Kent parish councils fight Gatwick Airport runway plan

26 June 2014  (BBC)
The parish councils said an expanded Gatwick would threaten both local tourism and the environment

Campaigners fighting a second runway at Gatwick are writing to the Airports Commission to object to the level of noise an expansion could cause.

Four Kent parish councils claim an additional runway would also damage local tourism and the environment.

Mitzi Quirk, from Chiddingstone Parish Council, said the village currently saw 10 planes per 20 minutes but expansion would take that to 45 an hour.

Gatwick Airport said building a new runway was in the local interest.

‘Intolerable noise’

Ms Quirk said: “We are concerned not just with the future, but with the current situation. So we’ve grouped together to make a more powerful body with other parish councils who are going to be affected and who are affected currently.

“Currently we must have something like 10 planes in 20 minutes. I think what their projection is 45 planes an hour.

“And if they currently come in at the height they do, it will be really very difficult to live with and it will affect a lot of people. And I don’t think anybody’s sanity could stand that, quite frankly.”

David Barren, who lives in Hever, said the village used to be tranquil but now the noise had become “totally intolerable”.

‘Create jobs’

Richard Streatfield, chairman of the High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group, which covers Chiddingstone, Hever, Leigh and Penshurst councils, said he had seen Gatwick expand “vigorously” from what was a local airport and under the plans it would more than double in size.

He claimed tourism businesses in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty brought about 186,000 jobs to the industry and created £1.6bn over a year, which would be threatened by Gatwick expansion because of the impact on the environment and because tourists would not want to visit.

But Gatwick argue a second runway would create thousands of jobs, offer new opportunities to businesses and promote economic growth and prosperity across the region.

“Gatwick is continuously working to reduce the noise levels at the airport, including designing flight paths that avoid the majority of populated areas and providing the most innovative noise insulation scheme in Europe,” it said in a statement.

“Should Gatwick build a second runway, we will also pay annual compensation equivalent to Band A Council Tax (currently £1,000) to all households most affected.”



High Weald Parish Councils Aviation Action Group

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