Heathrow airport campaigners discuss tactics

27.7.2008   (Metro)

Over 100 people opposed to expansion at Heathrow Airport gathered at a conference
to discuss tactics should the government give it the go-ahead.

Local residents, MPs and pressure groups, including green protesters from the
Camp for Climate Action, were among those attending the event at Harlington, west

Among topics discussed was the possibility of “mass direct action” in protest
if expansion plans are approved.

The various groups held the meeting to explore their possible next step should
the Government agree to expansion in a decision expected before the end of the

Plans include a third runway, more use of existing runways and, possibly, a sixth

Among speakers to address the conference were Labour MP for Hayes & Harlington
John McDonnell, Liberal Democrat MP for Richmond Park Susan Kramer and Baroness
Jenny Tonge.

John Stewart, chairman of Heathrow anti-expansion group Hacan, said if the Government
agrees to expansion they are looking at tactics ranging from mass letter-writing
and producing more reports through to direct action.

He said: “The significant thing is that we have had MPs sharing the same platform
as local campaigners, Greenpeace and Plane Stupid.

“It shows that there is unity among a whole diverse range of people on this matter
and the possibility for a whole diverse range of tactics.

“This conference will be a visible sign to the Government that its many opponents
are working closely together. What unites us is an utter determination to win
this battle.”

see also
This is Local London
Mass march planned against Heathrow expansion

Veterans of last year’s Heathrow climate camp are holding a mass meeting to protest
against airport expansion plans today before joining a three-day “climate caravan”
across southwest London.

The Heathrow conference kicks off in Harlington at noon with delegates from last
year’s Camp for Climate Action, campaign groups HACAN and NoTRAG (No Third Runway
Action Group), and Greenpeace.

Following the conference, the difference groups are expected to join a “climate
caravan” on their journey to Kingsnorth in Kent where this year’s camp will be
held in protest against energy company Eon’s plans to build a coal-fire power

The caravan is expected to take three days to travel from Heathrow south to Richmond
then snake its way along the river through Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea before
continuing on to Kent mass protest.

Last August thousands of people spent a week camping in a field in the village
of Sipson, which will be destroyed if Heathrow expansion goes ahead, to draw attention
to the threat of climate change.

The Heathrow conference will run from noon to 5pm today at the Harlington Baptist
Church, High Street, Harlington.

A spokesperson for the Camp for Climate Action said: “The threat of climate change
becomes ever more real.

“Although we are concentrating our efforts this year at Kingsnorth where the
Government is proposing to build a new coal-fired power station, we have not forgotten

“We are determined to stop any expansion of the airport. At the conference we
will be discussing with local residents and fellow environmental organisations
the most effective ways of doing just that.”

John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN, said: “This conference will be a visible sign
to the Government that its many opponents are working closely together.

“People coming from different backgrounds will be sitting down together to discuss
a wide range of ways of continuing to oppose expansion, from mass letterwriting
to mass direct action.

“What unites us is an utter determination to win this battle.”


26th  July  2008