Protest by “Heathrow Homeless” on Bank Holiday Monday, to deliver runway to airport bosses

The proposed north-west runway at Heathrow would mean the compulsory purchase of 750 homes, and the eviction of their residents. Another 3,000 homes may be bought up by the airport, as they would be  too unpleasant to live in. Map. The Heathrow Villagers affected are understandably highly anxious, depressed, angry and desperate at the prospect of losing their homes, their communities, and areas where they may have lived and raised families over many decades. On August Bank Holiday Monday a group set off on a coach trip to express their fears and their outrage at the prospect of the demolition of their homes. They went first to the house of Heathrow CEO, John Holland-Kaye (who was out), and then the constituency office of the Conservative Party in David Cameron’s constituency, and then the home of Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Sustainability & Environment Director. They laid out a fake plastic runway in his drive, in the pouring rain. The protesters felt their action was justified as there are no plans to create new housing for displaced people; no schemes have been put into legal documents; no support is planned for tenants made homeless. These are issues that need to be addressed BEFORE a decision is made on Heathrow expansion.
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“Heathrow Homeless” deliver runway to airport bosses

31.8.2015 (Stop Heathrow Expansion)

Villagers under threat of losing their homes if Heathrow gets the go-ahead for expansion took their protest to houses owned by two airport bosses on Bank Holiday Monday to deliver a roll-out plastic version of the third runway.

A group calling themselves Residents Against Expansion, organised and funded a “Heathrow Homeless Coach Tour”, inviting residents and their supporters to bring a suitcase to highlight the plight of thousands of people who would be forced to look for alternative places to live. Their destination was kept a secret until everyone was on the coach ready for departure from Harmondsworth Village at 9.30am.

The first stopping point was Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye’s £3m house in Oxford. As the coach pulled up nearby it was evident that the detached, four-storey property was undergoing a major renovation and expansion programme of its own and was unoccupied. Undeterred, the residents quickly unrolled a 4m x 25m plastic version of the third runway bearing the slogan “No If, No Buts”, a reminder of David Cameron’s anti-expansion stance before the 2010 General Election.
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After a brief group photo with their suitcases, the group repacked the coach and headed off to David Cameron’s constituency office in Witney, Oxfordshire.

On reaching Witney’s high street, Harmondsworth resident Armelle Thomas (69) went over to the solitary door, which is sandwiched between two shops. She clutched an old photograph of her husband Tommy as a young member of the RAF during the Second World War. Tommy had died on Friday morning, aged 93, but Armelle was determined to join the coach party to voice her disgust that her husband’s last months had been made a misery by the news on 1st July that Sir Howard Davies had recommended Heathrow and the destruction of their longtime home.

Neil Keveren of Residents Against Expansion delivers a reminder of Cameron's pledge

 

John Holland Kaye told reporters on that day that “the argument was settled once and for all” (even though it wasn’t and the government has yet to make a decision) and later said Heathrow could get “shovels in the ground in 2019″. The CEO’s ridiculous and insensitive boasting demonstrated that it was business as usual at Heathrow after years of trying to convince the public that it would not adopt the untrustworthy and deceitful behaviour typical of BAA. Holland Kaye’s comments to the press destroyed years of attempts to improve community relations.

On route to the next destination, a road sign declared that Witney is twinned with Le Touquet in France, which added to Armelle’s sense that her late husband was with the group in spirit; Le Touquet was Tommy’s birthplace.

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Pouring rain didn’t dampen the spirits of the protesters and they stepped out of the coach at the third and final stop in Henley-on-Thames, the home of Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability and Environment. The house was unmistakable from the road as there was a large “Proud to Back Heathrow” poster in the window and a sticker in the back window of the car on the drive. Mr Gorman doesn’t keep a low profile. On reading these public declarations of support for the third runway proposals, the residents decided to deliver Mr Gorman something he might like – a runway outside his front door.

Later online research showed that the 5-bed detached house was bought in 2008 for £1,025,000 and could now be worth £1,365,000. If that estimate is accurate, Matt Gorman’s profit alone in the past 8 years is greater than the full valuation of many homes in the Heathrow villages. Little wonder that wealthy bosses at Heathrow don’t understand the fears of people living in blighted homes. No plans are being made to create new housing for displaced people. No schemes have been put into legal documents. No support is planned for tenants made homeless. These are issues that need to be addressed BEFORE a decision is made on Heathrow expansion.

At the Henley house, a calm and confident young woman came to the front door and talked to two villagers. They reassured her that this was a short peaceful protest and they’d soon be on their way. It was a good-natured conversation, as was the protest until half a dozen neighbours decided to come out of their houses to vent their anger about having protesters in their street. Their behaviour was a marked contrast to the sympathetic response from people in Oxford and Witney. Mr Gorman’s neighbours found it acceptable to make provocative, threatening and offensive remarks to people who had arrived to conduct a peaceful protest about their situation.

Soon afterwards, as protesters were preparing to leave, Mr Gorman arrived followed by a police officer.

Armelle Thomas shows what it means to be proud

Mr Gorman asked the police officer various questions to ascertain if there were laws to use against the people from the Heathrow communities who had visited him, who he had been told were taking photographs of the house and had walked on his driveway. No crime had been committed and the residents went happily on their way leaving the tiny cluster of Henley moaners to shuffle out of the rain and back into their expensive homes, free from aircraft noise and choking pollution.

One wonders how these people would react if Mr Gorman wanted to force them from their homes to build a real runway!

Mr Gorman has claimed to be interested in feedback from communities but on his day off from work he made it clear he had no interest in their views.

http://www.stopheathrowexpansion.co.uk/heathrow-homeless-deliver-runway-to-airport-bosses/

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Earlier:

 

Film on YouTube

Film on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvJmG4M1soU&feature=youtu.be
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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 (750 homes), for a Heathrow north west runway, and the area (purple line) which Heathrow will now also offer to buy (total 3,750 homes).  http://your.heathrow.com/newpropertycompensationqa/

property-compensation-new-map

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

Heathrow north west runway option 31.7.2013


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.

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/04/harmondsworth-day/


 

Heathrow hopes to buy off Harmondsworth with about £320,000 per property demolished

Heathrow is to spend hundreds of millions of pounds in an attempt to buy off local opposition to a proposed 3rd runway, with plans to use a massive new fund to compensate homeowners and insulate homes and public buildings against aircraft noise. Heathrow knows noise is a key reason why its runway is politically toxic. It also knows the bad publicity of destroying Harmondsworth and Sipson, and making other areas un-liveable. Now – publicising its runway plan tomorrow – Heathrow is proposing to pay the market price, unblighted, of homes plus 25% and the costs of legal fees, moving costs and stamp duty of buying a new home. For a £250,000 property, homeowners would receive £312,500 compensation, plus £7,500 stamp duty costs and legal fees. [About  £320,000 each – for a £250,000 house.  ie  £304 million for the 950 houses Heathrow would demolish].  This of course does not cover homes nearby, where life would become unpleasant. Heathrow is planning another public consultation in July to decide how the money should be divided up. There might also be more money for noise insulation in areas beyond the  usual”noise contour” (57dB) and help for schools. 

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2014/05/heathrow-hopes-to-buy-off-harmondsworth-with-about-320000-per-property-demolished/

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13 Plane Stupid activists who invaded Heathrow plead not guilty – trial in January

Thirteen members of Plane Stupid, who invaded part of Heathrow on 13th July as a protest about a possible 3rd runway, were charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome.  At Uxbridge magistrates’ court on 19th August, they all pleaded not guilty to both charges. Dressed in polar bear costumes or wearing David Cameron masks, and carrying placards – they were surrounded by supporters and arrived to chants of “no ifs, no buts, no third runway!”   Many of the 40 or so supporters could not get into the public gallery. One of the accused, Sheila Menon, said people are already negatively impacted by Heathrow, and the UK already has enough runway capacity. An extra runway would largely cater for leisure travel by a minority. She believed the government was failing to act responsibly, and: “It is against this background and the failure of democratic processes, we believe our actions were reasonable, justifiable and necessary.”  The 13 were released on bail on the condition not to enter Heathrow or the area considered to be its perimeter. A trial date was set for 18th January. It is thought the case will last two weeks, with each defendant expecting to give evidence.
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Plane Stupid activists plead not guilty over Heathrow expansion protest

19.8.2015 (Guardian)

Supporters join the 13 Plane Stupid activists outside Uxbridge magistrates court on Wednesday.

More photos at Demotix
Thirteen charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome after runway demonstration in July. Supporters join the 13 Plane Stupid activists outside Uxbridge magistrates court

heathrow-climate-activists-protest-outside-plane-stupid-court-hearing
Thirteen members of the activist group Plane Stupid have pleaded not guilty to charges of aggregated trespass during a protest at Heathrow airport last month.

The seven men and six women are accused of cutting a hole in a fence and chaining themselves to railings on the north runway to protest against the airport’s expansion.

The demonstration at around 3.30am on 13 July – which caused delays for passengers around the world, with 22 flights out of the airport cancelled – coincided with the publication of a long-awaited report that recommended a new runway should be built at Heathrow rather than Gatwick.

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

The activists are charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome. All thirteen, supported by a packed public gallery at Uxbridge magistrates court, took turns to stand and plead not guilty to both charges.

On arriving at the court on Wednesday, the protesters stopped for a statement to be read on their behalf. Surrounded by supporters – dressed in polar bear costumes or wearing David Cameron masks, and carrying placards – the 13 arrived to chants of “no ifs, no buts, no third runway!”.

One of the accused, Sheila Menon, 43, read: “Some of us are part of the local community that is already feeling the hugely negative impact of existing air traffic from Heathrow by way of noise and air pollution, and blight on the area.”

She said the UK had more than enough capacity to deal with the “ordinary people” taking their annual holidays and that airport expansion was being driven by a “minority of wealthy frequent flyers”.

The government was failing to act responsibly, said Menon, adding: “It is against this background and the failure of democratic processes, we believe our actions were reasonable, justifiable and necessary.”

Menon, of Hackney, east London, is accused along with Rebecca Holly Sanderson, 27, of Machynlleth, Powys; Richard Steven Hawkins, 32, and Kara Lauren Moses, 31, both of Heol y Doll, Machynlleth; Ella Gilbert, 23, of Norwich; Melanie Strickland, 32, of Waltham Forest, north-east London; Danielle Louise Paffard, 28, of Peckham, south-east London; Graham Edward James Thompson, 42, of Hackney, north-east London; Cameron Joseph Kaye, 23, Edward Thacker, 26, Alistair Craig Tamlit, 27, and Sam Sender, 23, all of West Drayton, west London; and Robert Anthony Basto, 67, of Reigate, Surrey.

A number of the group’s supporters, a total of about 40 people, were unable to get into the courtroom owing to lack of space and stood outside for the morning, waiting for the hearing to finish.

One of them, who wished only to be named as Margo, said: “I am here to support the amazing, brave activists and to show my solidarity with them. If they get found guilty then it could be an incredibly terrifying sentence for them, because it is a big thing they are being accused of.”

The defendants were released on bail on the condition not to enter Heathrow or the area considered to be its perimeter. A trial date was set for 18 January. It is thought the case will last two weeks, with each defendant expecting to give evidence.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/aug/19/plane-stupid-activists-plead-not-guilty-heathrow-expansion-protest

 

 


 

Heathrow disruption: Plane Stupid activists in court

19.8.2015 (BBC)

Thirteen climate change activists have pleaded not guilty to charges of trespassing on Heathrow’s north runway.

The Plane Stupid demonstration on 13 July led to delays and the cancellation of 22 flights.

The activists, who were protesting against plans to expand the airport, allegedly cut a hole in a fence and chained themselves to railings.

Supporters chanted “No ifs, no buts, no third runway!” outside the court.

Sheila Menon, one of the accused, read a statement outside Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court. She said the pollution and noise caused by air traffic at Heathrow was already blighting the area.

She said the proposed expansion – recommended by the Airports Commission in its final report last month – was driven by “wealthy frequent flyers” rather than ordinary holidaymakers.

Plane Stupid’s actions were “reasonable, justifiable and necessary”, said Ms Menon.

The activists were charged with aggravated trespass and entering a restricted area of the airport without permission.

They were bailed on condition that they do not enter Heathrow or its perimeter, with a trial expected to begin on 18 January.

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-33991056

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Earlier:

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

At around 3.30am a group of 12 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, handcuffed together, 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.

Click here to view full story…

 

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Around 900 people stage protest over Gatwick flight paths

16.8.2018

Around 900 people, many from Sussex and Kent, gathered in a field at Penshurst, Kent, to protest against changes to flight paths. Campaigners have unveiled a huge sign, 100 metres across [the width of the new, narrowed and concentrated flight paths being introduced by NATS and the CAA] consisting of people with hay bales, and  that can be read by aircraft passengers (and pilots) landing at the airport.

Gatwick Obviously NOT photo 16 Aug 2015

Martin Barraud is chairman of the group “Gatwick Obviously NOT”. He commented that it is about sending a message to the airport from  the people on the ground, making it clear there are a massive number of people who are affected by aircraft noise from Gatwick airport.

Flight paths are now lower over their area, and concentrated – so people suffer from intense aircraft noise,often every two minutes or so, for most of the  day.  Planes also fly over them at night, though less often than in the daytime.

Someone who attended commented that is was not only people over a certain age who took part, but also a large number of younger people, who are also concerned about the noise.

http://www.gatwickobviouslynot.org/

Watch the video of how the huge sign was populated by over 1,000 people   here.

Two short video clips at  http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2015-08-16/more-than-a-thousand-people-stage-protest-over-gatwick-flight-paths/

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“Gatwick, how low can you go” say residents of Kent, Sussex and Surrey

Led by West Kent protest group, Gatwick Obviously Not, residents protested at Gatwick’s indifference to newly created narrow noisy highways in the sky.

Today (Sunday 16th August at 5pm) around 1,000 residents sent a message to Gatwick management and those in aviation.

“For over a century the aviation industry has done exactly as it pleased with our skies and it’s respect for ground-dwellers is virtually non-existent. This has to change,” said Martin Barraud, Chair of Gatwick Obviously Not.

The creation of noise ghettos by stealth through the dramatic narrowing of flight paths is devastating tens of thousands of people’s lives.
Gatwick is only the start as soon the industry will try and roll this out across the nation.

“This gathering, and the message for the planes is a message from Penshurst and indeed Kent, Sussex and Surrey, for the industry itself; wake up and start treating those affected by aircraft noise with real respect,” said Martin.

Presently there is no statutory body with any power to protect those on the ground from aircraft noise.

The intention of NATS, Gatwick and the CAA (no one will accept total responsibility for the changes and we keep being passed from one to the other) is to narrow a flight path to the East from around 7 miles wide to one just a little bit wider than this 100 metre message today.

“We have dubbed them ‘aerial superhighways’. One plane a minute, day in, day out, over the same areas, 15-30 miles from the airport to the East – soon to be repeated throughout the nation. And they are doing it without consultation with residents”, said Martin.

Gatwick Obviously Not asks, “Can you imagine a new motorway being planted right next to your house, out of the blue, without consultation?”

Gatwick Obviously Not’s goal is simply to change national policy for the benefit of all working closely with all the groups that surround Gatwick and Heathrow.

Last week with Gatwick’s extraordinary exaggeration of the numbers affected by noise at Heathrow (in a ruling by the ASA over Gatwick’s ads) illustrated Gatwick the low regard for accuracy and are playing a very aggressive game in its desire for ever-increasing landing fees through increased throughput derived from narrowing the flight paths.

Please note NATS state such changes will enable throughput to increase by up to 15% – but at what price to the lives of those on the ground?

“There is a widespread belief that the substantial increase in aircraft traffic is also exacerbated (inexplicably) by flying lower than they ever have done both to the West and the East.

Gatwick not only needs to review altitudes, they need to rethink their attitude towards those on the ground,” concluded Martin.

www.gatwickobviouslynot.org

 

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Permission refused for Gatwick Obviously NOT’s Judicial Review. They appeal.

Gatwick Obviously NOT, the flight path group set up last year in response to the newly concentrated arrival flight paths to Gatwick, has been refused permission to proceed with their JR against the CAA. Though disappointed, the GON’s Strategic Team of 15 spent much of the weekend conferring on the best way forward.  They had to review and understand the reasons for the Order to Refuse and take the advice of their QC, John Steel. Having done so, the very strong consensus was to go to Appeal, and Counsel has been instructed. It is expected that this will we have now given those instructions to our Counsel. We expect that this will happen in the autumn.  It is, however, a daunting task to take on the CAA, the Secretary of State for Transport, Gatwick airport and NATS. The decision to go for Appeal was taken with great care – and fundraising is under way to raise the necessary funds. GON say the judge, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, while refusing the Permission, added a postscript, seeming to suggest that there may be an issue about the need for consultation for ‘seismic’ events (such as the flight path changes introduced without notice) that is more a matter for the law-makers, not the lawyers. GON are staging a huge outdoor photo stunt on 16th August. Details below.
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The Judicial Review – Permission has been Refused

4.8.2015 (Gatwick Obviously NOT – GON)

Gatwick Obviously NOT heard late last Friday that they had been refused Permission to proceed with their JR against the CAA.

Naturally we were disappointed and GON’s Strategic Team of 15 spent much of the weekend conferring on the best way forward. They had to review and understand the reasons for the Order to Refuse and take the advice of their QC, John Steel.

Having done so, the very strong consensus was to go to Appeal, and GON have now given those instructions to their Counsel. They expect that to happen in the Autumn.

It is not without some thought that one takes on the CAA, Secretary of State for Transport, Gatwick and NATS and the same care was given to our decision to go to Appeal.

Displaying
GON are grateful for all the support they have received, both financial and moral since they launched the JR process back in February.  GON’s chair, Martin Baraud, managed to write to over 30 of their major donors individually over the past few days, informing them of the situation.  He said the responses received  have been wonderful, generous and kind.

Intriguingly, Mr Justice Haddon-Cave, while refusing the Permission, added this postscript, seeming to suggest that there is indeed perhaps an issue about Consultation for ‘seismic’ events (such as people in west Kent have all suffered in their skies, and core to the GON JR) – simply, in his opinion, one for the lawmakers, not the lawyers:

Postscript

25. As was acknowledged by Counsel for the CAA, Mr Nardell QC, at the oral hearing, the Secretary of State has a general power to give directions as he thinks necessary or expedient in relation to matters concerned with environmental impact (see s.39 of the Transport Act 2000). This could include further directions to licence holders to consult in certain circumstances. Whether there is a case for doing so in relation to what some might be regard as ‘seismic’ changes in vectoring practices is, however, a matter for the Secretary of State, not the Courts.

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For the JR, the “Ground of Claim” is that there has indeed been a change in the use of airspace and that the CAA should first have consulted on such change before it was put into effect by GAL and NATS. To date no consultation has taken place and this whole procedure has been bypassed. GON wants proper consultation, and that a full airspace change process is carried out.


 

Video clip of the noise

Short video by Gatwick Obviously NOT illustrating the aircraft noise problem they have, with a concentrated flight path overhead.   YouTube


Earlier:

“Gatwick Obviously NOT” serves Judicial Review upon the CAA, on airspace change, with Gatwick Airport as an “Interested Party”

The relatively new campaign, “Gatwick Obviously NOT”, (GON) which was set up in response to changes to flight paths to the east of Gatwick airport during summer 2014, has served a Judicial Review upon the CAA, with Gatwick Airport Limited and the Secretary of State for Transport listed under the CAA as an ‘Interested Party’. The claim is being brought by Martin Baraud, the Chair of GON. The “Ground of Claim” is that there has indeed been a change in the use of airspace and that the CAA should first have consulted on such change before it was put into effect by GAL and NATS. To date no consultation has taken place and this whole procedure has been bypassed. GON wants proper consultation, and that a full airspace change process is carried out. They also want there to be no airspace changes by the CAA without approval by the Secretary of State. GON has already succeeded in raising over £100,000 and they will be fundraising further, for more legal costs.

Click here to view full story…

Flight Path Protest Meeting

At Penshurst –  Rogues Hill, Penshurst, Kent TN11 8BN
Sunday 16th August at 5pm

(lasting about 90 minutes).

Crowd needed!  Please come if you can!

For details, please contact GON on ask@gatwickobviouslynot.org   Anyone who can help distribute flyers about the day is asked to get in touch.

Everyone is invited to join GON as they reveal a giant message for the planes over 100 ft long, laid out in a field in the heart of the village.  There will be full media attendance.

Bring as many dogs and children as you like. Great pub very close.  Free parking in the village

Martin (a professional photographer)  will be directing and photographing it from a small crane, helping the press get their pictures. A high-end professional drone team have also been secured to record moving footage for PR and media purposes.

http://www.gatwickobviouslynot.org/

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Villagers turn to civil disobedience in battle against third runway at Heathrow

Writing in the Guardian, Sandra Laville reports on how some residents of the Heathrow villages, facing eviction and loss of their homes and communities, refuse to be cowed by the airport threat.  Some, who have never broken the law before have been forced by circumstances not of their choosing, to adopt civil disobedience as they fight to save their way of life.  Some of the 13 activists from Plane Stupid, who cut through Heathrow’s perimeter fence and occupied land close to the northern runway last week came from Sipson.  They felt their actions were justified not only because of the homes to be bulldozed and the community to be lost, but because of the hugely increased carbon emissions that a runway would cause. They will appear at the Uxbridge magistrates’ court on 19th August, accused of aggravated trespass.  One commented: “I find the whole idea of direct action and of being arrested very stressful. But I feel it has to be done.”  On the 20th July local builder, Neil Keveren (previously chairman of anti expansion group, SHE) went to court for his action in blocking the access tunnel to Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 for 20 minutes recently. He was given a £895 fine. Some think this may become like the long battle for Greenham Common.
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Villagers turn to civil disobedience in battle against third runway at Heathrow

Faced with destruction of Harmondsworth and other villages, residents began taking matters into their own hands – and things escalated sharply

With its 11th century church, listed buildings and 15th century timber barn managed by English Heritage, Harmondsworth is a paean to reverence, tradition and antiquity.

Faced with destruction of their village as they know it, to make way for a third runway at Heathrow, however, some residents have begun to adopt tactics such as civil disobedience as they fight to save their way of life.

That campaign escalated sharply last Monday, when 13 individuals cut through the patrolled perimeter fence around Heathrow in the early hours of the morning, chained themselves together and lay down on the northern runway in the name of the campaign group Plane Stupid, closing the runway for three hours and cancelling 13 flights.

Among them were individuals who have never taken part in civil disobedience or been arrested before. One of the protesters, Eddie Thacker, 26, who has lived for two years in Sipson, one of three villages which face destruction, predicted there would be much more direct action to come, as residents and seasoned activists fight to stop the third runway being built.  
In Harmondsworth alone 780 homes will be destroyed and at least one primary school torn down should the bulldozers move in and destroy half the village. But it is not just the destruction of bricks and mortar that is inspiring such action, it is the impact of a third runway on climate change.  
Like Greenham Common, Thacker believes, the fight to stop aviation expansion will become a defining battleground. “This is going to be the environmental struggle of our times and it has to be won if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change,” he said. “This is a such a key battleground environmentally in terms of climate change, and people are beginning to be inspired by this kind of action.”  
Another of those arrested on Monday, a 23-year-old gardener from west London, who moved to Sipson two years ago to become part of the campaign against the airport, said he was taking part because he saw evidence from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research that if aviation growth is not reduced by 2037, all of the carbon that it is safe for the UK to emit will come from flying alone. “I find the whole idea of direct action and of being arrested very stressful,” he said. “But I feel it has to be done.”  
Thacker and his 12 associates have been charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome. They are to appear in Uxbridge magistrates’ court on 19 August.  The other protesters include Graham Thompson, one of the co-founders of Plane Stupid, who believes the issue of climate change has been played down in the debate over the aviation expansion.  
“We are increasingly concerned that David Cameron is going to perform a U-turn and that his no ifs no buts no third runway was a false promise,” he said. “We thought it was important to get climate change right back into the debate. The biggest source [it is one of the biggest, but not the biggest… AW note]  of emissions is aviation, you cannot keep expanding aviation and claim as this government has done to be serious about tackling climate change. We have to cut emissions urgently.”  
While Thompson has been arrested in the past, some long-time residents who have lived entirely law abiding lives are also taking up civil disobedience. 
The day after the Davies commission came down in favour of Heathrow expansion, Neil Keveren, a builder who was born in Sipson and lives in Harmondsworth, drove his van into the access tunnel for Terminals 2 and 3, parked up, climbed on to the roof and unfurled two banners, “residents against expansion” and “no ifs no buts no third runway”. 
Keveren stayed for 20 minutes before he was arrested and spent six hours in a cell. He is due to appear in court on Monday 20th.  
“I want them to know they are not holding all the cards,” he said. “They took away our democratic choice by kicking the Davies commission decision into the long grass before the election.  I am not a member of Plane Stupid but I would be proud to be one, I’ve never broken the law before, but I felt this had to be done. 
“People have made life choices based on no third runway – where to send their kids to school, where to bury their elderly. There is no wriggle room for Cameron in this, the new scheme is no different to the old one, it is just as disastrous.”   
The government has indicated it will make a decision on whether to back a third runway at Heathrow by the end of the year.  
For one resident, the combination of direct action from groups such as Plane Stupid, and the will of the villagers, could be vital in the weeks and months ahead as the fight against expansion escalates.
Ruth Bacon has lived on Summerhouse Lane in Harmondsworth since 1949 when Heathrow had just one runway, and since then has been fighting to stop its incremental expansion.   
Now 86, her home would be bulldozed to make way for a third runway. “I’ve been to all the protest meetings in the past and will keep doing so,” she said.   
“I’ve been positive all the way through that we can stop this if we all stick together. Last time this all came up one of those young protesters promised she was going to come and lie down outside my house if the bulldozers come. And I thought, well that would be nice, wouldn’t it?”  

 

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/19/harmondsworth-villagers-civil-obedience-battle-against-third-runway-heathrow?CMP=twt_environment%5egdneco

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Harmondsworth could be the Greenham Common of a generation say protesters as court dates set

20 JULY, 2015 (Colnbrook Views)

As court dates are set for protesters involved in the two separate incidents at Heathrow Airport in recent weeks, activists warn that Harmondsworth will be the Greenham Common of a generation and the defining battleground for “a fight against catastrophic climate change”.

The Guardian yesterday reported that protesters from Plane Stupid arrested following the protest on the northern runway last Monday will appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on August 19.

Twelve protesters were arrested in total, charged with “aggravated trespass” and “entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome”, according to the paper.

During the protest Police told the activists they could face civil claims from the airport running into millions of pounds for the disruption, but the airport appears to be taking a softly softly approach.  Heathrow’s vast media machine completely ignored the protest, posting only a brief note about the disruption itself.

Neil Keveren, previously chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, who carried out a separate unofficial protest in the access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3, appeared in court today.  Keveren said he had never broken the law before but felt it had to be done.

They took away our democratic choice by kicking the Davies commission decision into the long grass before the election.

He spent six hours in a police cell following his protest.

Featuring an 86-year old whose home will be demolished to make way for a third runway, The Guardian notes that law abiding residents of Harmondsworth are increasingly prepared to turn to direct action in the face of broken promises. It quotes one resident as suggesting that Harmondsworth could be the Greenham Common of a generation, the defining battleground of “a fight against catastrophic climate change”.
http://www.colnbrook.info/harmondsworth-could-be-the-greenham-common-of-a-generation-say-protesters-as-court-dates-set/

 

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Heathrow campaigners provide the (suit)case against the runway, in holiday reading material for David Cameron

On 20th July, the day before Parliament broke for its summer recess, campaigners from national organizations and local groups opposed to expansion at Heathrow packed a holiday suitcase for David Cameron’s summer holiday – with material they believe he should read and view on his holiday before he makes up his mind on a 3rd runway.  They were joined by the new Twickenham MP Tania Mathias and the veteran opponent of Heathrow expansion, Baroness Jenny Tonge.  Organised by HACAN, some of those at the event were campaigners from Greenpeace, FoE, CBT, AEF, SHE , RHC and CAIAN.  Items packed into the suitcase included “Heat,” a climate change book by George Monbiot; a video showing Harmondsworth; the most recent IPCC report; AirportWatch briefings on economics, noise, carbon emissions, and air quality; maps showing areas of London to be impacted by flight paths from a 3rd runway; a “No Ifs, No Buts, No third runway” beach towel; and John Stewart’s book  “Why Noise Matters.” The case was then wheeled off in the direction of Downing Street.  HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This diverse range of groups gives a flavour of the formidable opposition David Cameron will face if he gives the green light to a third runway.”

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The (Suit)Case Against Heathrow Expansion

20.7.2015 (HACAN)

Group

The suggestions of reading material for David Cameron, on a Heathrow runway


Good short video  from Meridian TV on the event:

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/update/2015-07-20/anti-runway-campaigners-pack-suitcase-for-david-cameron/


 

On 20th July, the day before Parliament broke for its summer recess, campaigners from  national organizations and local groups opposed to expansion at Heathrow packed a holiday suitcase for David Cameron’s summer holiday – with material they believe he should read and view on his holiday before he makes up his mind on a third runway.

They were joined by the new Twickenham MP Tania Mathias and the veteran opponent of Heathrow expansion, Baroness Jenny Tonge.

Stuff being put in

The items for David Cameron

Items packed into the suitcase included “Heat,” a climate change book by George Monbiot; a video showing Harmondsworth, the village facing destruction if a third runway goes ahead;  the most recent IPCC report; AirportWatch briefings on economics, noise, carbon emissions, and air quality;  maps showing areas of London to be impacted by flight paths from a 3rd runway; a “No Ifs, No Buts, No third runway” beach towel; and The Transition Handbook.  HACAN, the campaign body which had organized the event outside Parliament, donated the book “Why Noise Matters.”

Simon Clydesdale Greenpeace beach towel

Beach towel, from Greenpeace

james on the Ipcc report

AEF (Aviation Environment Federation) with a reminder about the IPCC report

Represented at the event were campaigners from Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Campaign for Better Transport, AirportWatch, the Aviation Environment Federation, HACAN, Stop Heathrow Expansion, the Richmond Heathrow Campaign, Ealing Noise Action Group, Teddington Action Group and CAIAN (which represents many communities west of the airport).

Having put their reading suggestions in the suitcase for the Prime Minister’s holiday reading, it was they  wheeled off in the direction of Downing Street.

Suitcase rolling off

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “This diverse range of groups gives a flavour of the formidable opposition David Cameron will face if he gives the green light to a third runway. This is a fun event but with a serious message. We are saying loudly and clearly to the Prime Minister that there is widespread and diverse opposition to a third runway and that he would do well to spend at least part of his summer holidays reflecting on the case against expansion of Heathrow.”

www.hacan.org.uk

A diverse rage of campaigners gathered in London today to urge David Cameron to reject a 3rd runway at Heathrow.  They packed his holiday suitcase with material (including a beach 'towel' with his Heathrow promise on it, various books on noise, global warming and air polution, a passport pledge etc ) that they felt would help him make up his mind.  Campaigners came from national organizations – Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Aviation Environment Federation and Campaign for Better Transport – and local organizations: HACAN, Richmond Heathrow Campaign, CAIAN, Stop Heathrow Expansion and Transition Heathrow.  They were joined by the Twickenham MP Tania Mathias and former Richmond MP Baroness Jenny Tonge. 20 July 2015. Guy Bell, 07771 786236, guy@gbphotos.com

Photos by Guy Bell, 07771 786236, guy@gbphotos.com

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Many thousands of determined opponents of new Nantes airport gather before final court decision

Over the weekend of 11th and 12th July there was a massive gathering at Notre Dame des Landes, in western France, to show the strong opposition to the building of a new runway there, to replace the current Nantes airport. This “mobilisation” is the 15th that the organisers, ACIPA, have put on over the years.  It was estimated that perhaps 15,000 people attended over the two days. People at Nantes are very aware of the carbon and climate implications of a new airport, as well as serious local environmental destruction. They also link the Nantes campaign with other huge infrastructure projects across Europe, that would be damaging in terms of carbon emissions – such as a new runway in the UK. There is a desire to link up campaigns against such developments.  The gathering combined a lot of workshops and education sessions with fun, with music, dancing and food -but with a very serious message. On Friday 17th July the Nantes Administrative Court will rule on the last 17 appeals by opponents of the airport project, on several environmental issues in contention with EU law, such as on water law and destruction of protected species. It is thought the court will rule against the opponents,but they will appeal. These legal issues are all that is holding up building of the airport. 
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Several thousand opponents of the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes met before the final court decision

11.7.2015

(Le Monde, France)

Several thousand people attended, Saturday, July 11, to mobilize weekend against the airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, about fifteen kilometers north of Nantes. The stakes are high: if this form of summer gathering takes place every year – this is the fifteenth edition – the 2015 meeting takes place just days before the (near) final court round about the proposed move of the Current Nantes Atlantique airport to the small town of Notre-Dame-des-Landes.

By late afternoon, the organizers met a peak at the height of their hopes when many other large projects were contested in the heart of the debate.

The government, through the voice of the Prime Minister in particular, has already indicated that the work of the future airport, told the Great West Airport, a subsidiary of Vinci Airports, could begin once all legal remedies exhausted.

Last resort

Friday, July 17, the Nantes administrative court must give judgment on the last seventeen appeals by opponents. On June 18, the public rapporteur had rejected them , arguing that the decrees issued by the prefecture, the Law on water and protected species, were consistent with national and European regulations. If the President of the 8 th house, Patrick Chupin had stated that the court would decide “independently” in most cases, the recommendation of the rapporteur public is followed by the judges.

Nothing precludes, in fact, the early start of work, both for the construction of the new airport platform (the terminal and the two tracks) that bar the road which should allow the service of the site.

Obstacles could still nevertheless complicate or delay construction sites. We must move protected species which for some of them, can not be done any time, especially in summer. Opponents, in case of defeat (expected) Friday, intend to appeal, which is not suspensive of a possible start of work.

Embedded image permalink

Finally, the shovel into action in Nantes grove, it will then dislodge tens of zadistes, who occupy the ZAD, zone defense (originally holding zone). It will not be easy, especially as this site, ZAD ancestor that emerged throughout the country, Sivens (Tarn) against a dam in Roybon (Isère) against a Center Park, many reinforcements will come lend a hand strong permanent occupants, as soon as the start of any movement of construction site equipment, escorted by police. An important network of support committees is Woven throughout the country for many years.

The fiasco of “Caesar”

In October and November 2012, the operation “Caesar” that was intended to dislodge the occupants and resume huts and occupied farms had resulted in violent clashes in the peaceful countryside Nantes … and a fiasco. The offensive led by the gendarmes had caused a major demonstration of some 30,000 people, from all over France, with the presence of many political leaders (Europe Ecology-The Greens, the Left Front, Modem, far left, libertarian, etc.) on 17 November.

In May 2013, they were still tens of thousands have made a human chain around the site slated to host the future airport. Will they be as numerous 11th and 12th of July? This is not safe, but mobilization may nevertheless be significant.

Representatives of other strengths to projects like the landfill of nuclear waste in Bure (Meuse) will be there. On this issue, the integration by the Senate of an amendment to the law Macron not put to a vote by resorting to 49-3 Thursday night endorsing the creation of the landfill of nuclear waste, has rankled opponents , environmentalists in mind.

See the picture on Twitter

The militants hostile to the construction of the Center Park of Roybon are the guests of honor at the 2015 Notre-Dame-des-Landes. They will know, them, the decision of the Grenoble Administrative Court on their appeals, Thursday, July 16.

Read also: The future of Center Parcs Roybon again suspended from a court decision

“Heater fight! “

Suffice to say that the reasons to prepare future events will not fail and that the coming week is important. After the judicial phase, decisions will be highly political.

At five months of the climate conference that will host delegations from all member countries of the United Nations in Paris, François Hollande he will take the risk of clashes in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, or elsewhere? Environmentalists and anti-capitalist activists, opposed to what they call “big useless projects” have understood the dilemma.

They placed the gathering of the weekend under the sign of planetary rendezvous of the end of November. “heater control, not the climate! “ profess organizers gathered in the opponents to the project Coordination of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, adding, “There is no planet B! Stopping global warming! “ .

The original French at:

http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2015/07/11/mobilisation-a-notre-dame-des-landes-en-attendant-l-ultime-decision-judicaire_4679363_3244.html

 


See also

Notre-Dame-des-Landes 2015 : Une détermination renforcée par le succès du 15ème rassemblement.

Notre-Dame-des-Landes 2015: A determination reinforced by the success of the 15th gathering.

14.7.2015 (ACIPA)

 

Bad Google translate English version below (but you can get the gist !):

The resounding success of the fifteenth annual gathering Notre-Dame-des-Landes, 2015, organized by opponents of Coordination for the airport project, leash, as one of our members said, ” there is little doubt about the inability of the Power go back to the act of destruction  . ” If the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes has become the “flagship” of European struggles, we have, after this weekend more than warm, accumulated enough energy to help inform other struggles for much longer.

Congratulations and thank you to the committee members who worked for 6 months around those who have become over gatherings of real pros of the organization, support committees and to the many volunteers who helped them to the end, as well as ‘producers who gave products or loaned equipment.

Congratulations and thank you to the 15,000 participants of this great event to have answered our call again! The relaxed but determined atmosphere that settled – under a generous sun this year – has earned us numerous enthusiastic congratulations.

Congratulations and thank you to organizations from all over France – Bure, Roybon, Sivens and even Great Britain and Germany – to provide information on a stand or / and debate through the quarantine proposed forums. The quality of trade increases every year and allows us to say that our traditional appointment has become a festive rendezvous militant of the highest level meet the high expectations of citizens.

Congratulations and thank you to the artists we came to dance and volunteers occupation of heaven to those magical moments.

We were very honored by the presence of Mr. Tognoni, General Secretary of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal and thank him for being with us at this important stage of our struggle.

Tributes to Rémi Fraisse opening rally and political meeting were the highlights, filled with emotion and respect. Everyone was aware that such a tragedy does not happen again.

There is no intention of abandoning the project.  We must continue to work on the three pillars of our action:

– We confidently expect the rendering judgment expected Friday, July 17 on the 17 appeals filed notably under the Water Law and Protected Species. It is “a first round in a match in 3 sets” according to another activist.

– On the political side, we must prepare for the month of December in preparation for regional elections (especially in PDL and Brittany, funders Potential of Our Lady of the project-des-Landes) and

-COP 21 which one can say that the debate has already started this weekend at Notre Dame des Landes.

– On the ground, we will remain vigilant, all united components to discourage the slightest hint of the beginning of work on the airport, confident that our civil disobedience is legitimate. All components of the fight work on a common future without airport rich exchange of new agricultural practices and respect for living together in harmony after the abandonment of the project.

We wish everyone a nice summer!

Wear the badge of the struggle of Notre-Dame-des-Landes wherever you go this summer to strengthen it!

Think of other struggles whose representatives came to Notre-Dame-des-Landes weekend that need us to support them!  [Heathrow for one].

See you in mid-August to actively resume our actions in non-violence – ie coherent actions with the world we want to help build – with respect for people and property and with a determination not only completely intact but strengthened by what has happened around Notre-Dame-des-Landes in 2015.

The ACIPA

The event’s photo album is online here: https://picasaweb.google.com/114351998387816929013/2015071112_NotreDameDesLandes2015#slideshowAnd the videos will be collected there: http://www.scoop.it/t/videos-ndl/?tag=NDL2015

Press Book dedicated: http://www.scoop.it/t/acipa/?tag=NDL2015

https://www.acipa-ndl.fr/actualites/divers/item/569-notre-dame-des-landes-2015-une-determination-renforcee


Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Une mobilisation studieuse et festive

13.7.2015
 Les débats ont fait le plein
http://www.ouest-france.fr/notre-dame-des-landes-une-mobilisation-studieuse-et-festive-3556860
And this includes some short video clips
In rather poor English translation:

Notre-Dame-des-Landes. A studious and festive mobilization

13.7.2015
Vigneux-de-Bretagne
The anti-airport passed their traditional summer mobilization. It was the 15th time this has been held and it was held in Vigneux-de-Bretagne.
A spokesman of project opponents Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Julien Durand had Sunday smile, the day of reckoning. “The mobilization was excellent. The participants were happy to be back. The crowd shows that resistance is installed , “noted the peasant.
A portrait of the environmental activist Rémi Fraisse had been deployed to the big top
This year, there was no headliners, but opponents came in numbers affirm their determination to prevent the transfer of the Nantes airport. Julien Durand estimated up to 20,000 people were on the site over the two days.
The 15th rally against the transfer of the Nantes airport to Notre-Dame-des-Landes was studious. A wide audience, in search of information, followed quarantine forums and debates. That of Sunday noon, in particular, who made the link between anti-airport fight and the fight against global warming.
Many people also exposed to legal action, and reflection on the future of the area “after the abandonment of the project.”
The gathering was festive. After the success of the great popular dance Résist’danse Saturday night, other music took the relay on Sunday, as “bagad Notre-Dame-des-Landes, an increase training for the occasion with musicians who play in training industry and fans.
Friday, July 17, it will again issue of airport project. The administrative court will tell if the invalid or prefectural water law and destruction of protected species. The judgment, written, shall be communicated directly to the parties. Opponents have not planned a gathering near the administrative court.
http://www.ouest-france.fr/notre-dame-des-landes-une-mobilisation-studieuse-et-festive-3556860
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The public rapporteur dismisses the actions of opponents of the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes

Le rapporteur public rejette les recours des opposants au projet d’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes

18.6.2015   (Le Monde, France)

Not very good translation into English below:

The decision was expected. The rapporteur has rejected public, Thursday, June 18, the 17 appeals filed by opponents of the proposed airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, announced about fifteen kilometers north of Nantes (Loire-Atlantique). The Nantes Administrative Court will deliver its judgment on 17 July.

From the findings of the known public rapporteur, President (PS) of the Pays de la Loire, Jacques Auxiette, released its satisfaction. “These conclusions are logical , he says.  They are in line with a validation of the important and unprecedented environmental measures that accompany the transfer of the existing Nantes Atlantique airport to the grove of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. They show that the years of dialogue were useful because they helped improve the environmental aspect and the necessary compensations. “ It is quite likely that the court follow, as is the case most of the time, the conclusions of the public rapporteur.

For opponents who had filed appeals against prefectural orders “Water Law” and “protected species” – associations (the elected Collective doubting the relevance of the airport [CEDPA], the intermunicipal citizen Association populations affected by the airport project [ACIPA], France Nature Environnement, etc.) and individuals like Julien Durand, a longtime opponent farmer and spokesman of ACIPA -, this conclusion is nonetheless carrier risks.

Indeed, on several occasions, the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, said that the future airport work would start as early as the ultimate recourse judged. Nothing therefore should stand in the runway of the airport project proponents, government, the region and the city of Nantes in particular, and Vinci Airports and Airport Grand Ouest subsidiary (AGO ) that was assigned the concession of the future airport platform.

“The battle is not over”

For their part, opponents have expressed their intention to appeal against any decision of the court which would be unfavorable to them. “The battle is not over, we will appeal if necessary because it is completely abnormal that justice follow the advice of Vinci, and government, as we have motivated scientific expert opinion “ , said Françoise Verchère, CEDPA spokesman. “We hope that nothing will be done on the ground before all remedies are exhausted, as Head of State promised, therefore before any appeal “ , she adds.

He cited the example of East Donges, in the 2000s, one of the Autonomous Port of Nantes expansion project that wanted to build new docks by destroying a reed bed in the estuary of the Loire. “The court rejected the opponents but finally we won on appeal “ , she recalls. The Minister of the Environment the time, Jean-Louis Borloo, announced the abandonment of the project on 19 June 2009. After twenty years of fighting.

Read also: Notre-Dame-des-Landes: Valls irritates environmentalists

“Strength of arguments”

The only glimmer of hope for opponents, the president of the 6 th Chamber of the Administrative Court, Patrick Chupin, has insisted that the conclusions of public rapporteur pledged that he and the court would decide in “complete independence” .

“Our goal is to achieve the cancellation of prefectural orders, given the strength of our arguments” , told the World counsel for the opponents, Thomas Dubreuil. In support of their applications, the associations hostile to the project indeed cited the findings of two expert reports that criticize, in particular, compensation systems provided due to the destruction of wetlands where several dozen flourish protected species.

In April 2013, a panel of scientific experts appointed by the government of Jean-Marc Ayrault, then Prime Minister, former mayor of Nantes and always strong supporter of the airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, felt that could not “validate the method as is” scheduled compensation and that he formulated reservations should be lifted so that “the project can be continued.” These criticisms of the Committee related in particular to “insufficient initial characterization of biodiversity “ , “insufficient analysis of quantitative hydrological functioning” , “non-relevant analysis of water quality” or “lack of explicit method for long-term monitoring of compensation measures” .

More recently, in February, it was the turn of the Scientific Council of the natural heritage and biodiversity to convey his reservations to the Minister for Ecology, Segolene Royal. He saw then that “this project would have a major impact on agro-ecosystems of relict wetlands, endangered throughout western Europe, with their valuable ecological functions and biodiversity richness, which offset opportunities alike appear very limited “ . The Board had issued “an opinion that the destruction of this very original set by the realization of the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes” .

New setback

The record of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, open for nearly fifty years, is not yet completed. In 2010, the joint association of airport studies foresaw the arrival of the first aircraft in 2017. It will not happen. The battle is not over, especially since the opponents have developed an alternative project, defended a long time: the renovation of the Nantes airport. Friday night, they will present to the press and the public the findings of the “citizen workshop” which, with many architects, worked in particular on the expansion of the existing terminal.

Just a week before the decision of the Administrative Court of Nantes, on 11 and 12 July, the Nantes Bocage and farms occupied by farmers and activists ZAD (zone defending) welcome from supporters of the country to a mobilization weekend. “This will give us the opportunity to re-engage everyone in case it is needed” , says Françoise Verchère. Zadistes, farmers and environmental protection activists have the opportunity to discuss strategies for opposing the start of construction. And the most skeptical about the usefulness of legal battle are sure to then emphasize the need for other means of control.
See the original French below

http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2015/06/18/derniere-passe-d-armes-judiciaire-autour-du-projet-d-aeroport-a-notre-dame-des-landes_4656591_3244.html

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Lors d'une manifestation contre le projet d'aéroport à Notre-Dame-des-Landes le 18 juin.

Notre-Dame-des-Landes : pour les opposants, le projet d’aéroport est contraire aux objectifs de la COP21

13.7.2015
(Le Monde, France)

In rather poor English translation below:

Notre-Dame-des-Landes: for opponents, the airport project is contrary to the goals of COP21

13.7.2015 (Le Monde, France)

On one airport to another. From Notre-Dame-des-Landes, where the state, region and Vinci Airports Nantes Atlantique want to transfer the existing airport until Bourget, north of Paris, where the UN Conference will be held climate, COP21, a single combat.

For thousands of opponents (about 15,000 according to the organizers) to the draft new Nantes airport, gathered Saturday 11 and Sunday July 12 in Vigneux-de-Bretagne (Loire-Atlantique), south of the future airport area, there a major contradiction between the declarations in favor of the fight against global warming policies and industrial managers, and the reality of economic policies and infrastructure projects, particularly transport.

“Stowaways”

“Air transport is stowaways in the fight against global warming, it exempts of all, recalled Lorelei Limousin, Climate Action Network (RAC) at the central meeting on Sunday morning. The absence of tax diesel for the Air lost 550 million euros a year to the government, to which one can add the reduced VAT on airline tickets, € 600 million, more than one billion shortfall. “ She continued, to the applause of hundreds of activists present in a large tent: “Air France is one of the sponsors of the COP21, it boggles. “

Read also: Climate: air transport promises a blue sky

These politicians, Europe Ecology-The Greens (EELV), the Left Party (PG) and the New Anti-Capitalist Party (NPA), were hit hard. ” The fight against climate change, it is in our advertising, in our communication, say the large groups, Air France, BNP Paribas, which invest in fossil fuels in the world, EDF, GDF-Suez, etc., but in reality, they oppose any proposed saving energy , explained Yannick Jadot, MEP EELV. They say yes, butnot here, not now, not like this. “

Martine Billard (PG) mocked those who “want to sell green airports” . “We are sold the same sustainable nuclear; to be sustainable, nuclear is truly sustainable “ , she threw to the conquered militants. According to her, the planet can not travel, unfortunately, to the discovery of all countries of the world. “There are limits, our planet has limits, and we must make choices, what is at stake the COP21 “ , she has said. For the representative of the NPA, Christine Poupin, the question of “expropriation of the big capitalist groups” is asked.

Beyond political statements, facilitated by the full support of the public, the weekend of mobilization against the planned Notre-Dame-des-Landes – and all the “useless major projects”  : rail tunnel between Lyon and Turin The Center Parc Roybon (Isère), the dam Sivens (Tarn) … not to mention the “factory” of a thousand cows or landfill of nuclear waste in Lorraine, in Bure … – was the occasion of an intense work on arguments.

Judicial appointments

“An Airbus A 320 engulf as much energy in one hour at takeoff than me in twenty years on my farm, summarized Daniel Durand of the Confederation Paysanne. To get to New York, it would take 150 ha rapeseed, 300 if we want him back. So useless to think of biofuels for aviation. “

One after another, all stakeholders dozens of forums organized under the six capitals of the site have expressed opposition to current projects. The link with the fight against global warming, five months of COP21, is permanent, highlighted by the presence of officials of the Climate Coalition and 21 of Alternatiba activists who are trying to achieve, by bike, turn, France militant. “heater control, not the climate! “ was the central slogan of the weekend.

And then there was the news of the record of Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Friday, July 17, the Nantes administrative court must rule on the last seventeen appeals by opponents of the airport project. The day before, the Grenoble Administrative Court will judge appeals opponents of the Center Parc Roybon.

Read also: Several thousand opponents of the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes met before the final court decision

Political agreement

“If the opinion is unfavorable we, as public rapporteur has suggested, then we will appeal. And according to the political agreement sealed with the president and prime ministers that have succeeded, no construction will not start before the exhaustion of all legal proceedings “ , recalls serene but determined, Julien Durand, farmer and is emblematic of the ACIPA (inter citizen Association of populations affected by the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes).

Around the vast grasslands of La Paquelais, where opponents have installed the rally, dozens of occupants of the “zone defense” (ZAD), distributed between farms and the many huts scattered around the countryside, are also waiting later with the firm intention not to leave the place one day construction machinery.

See the original in French here:

En savoir plus sur http://www.lemonde.fr/planete/article/2015/07/12/pour-les-opposants-a-notre-dame-des-landes-le-projet-d-aeroport-est-contraire-aux-objectifs-de-la-cop21_4680552_3244.html#6f0P5FYPPmU0tASu.99

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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.
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BBC  for many more photos:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-33503167

Telegraph

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/aviation/11735306/Heathrow-airport-protest-live.html

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

Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/13/heathrow-disruption-climate-change-activists-claim-chained-runway  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.


Armlocks

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


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

13.7.2015

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

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/heathrow-runway-protest-recap-passengers-6055538


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.

 

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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.

 

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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.”

08.36

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.”

 

 

08.20

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.

 

06.20

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.”

06.10

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.

 

06.00

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.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/heathrow-protest-this-is-why-i-broke-onto-the-runway-yesterday-morning-at-heathrow-airport-10388631.html

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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.
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Heathrow tunnel blocked 2.7.2015

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.”

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From Get West London (though their article contained inaccuracies.

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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.”

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/01/heathrow-third-runway-harmondsworth-village-fearing-future

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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. 
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Protesters stage silent air pollution demonstration at Heathrow Terminal 5

10.5.2015 (HACAN)

 

 Protesters Stage Silent Air Pollution Demo in Terminal 5

rsz_1heathrow-pollution-protest

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.

rsz_heathrow-pollution-protesters-lying-down

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.

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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.

http://hacan.org.uk/protesters-stage-silent-air-pollution-protest-in-terminal-5/

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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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