Good Life actor Richard Briers and Gardeners’ World presenter Alys Fowler joined the fight against a third runway at Heathrow yesterday
(11 May) by planting an allotment on the proposed runway site.

The land in the village of Sipson was bought by Greenpeace in November and is
now owned by 45,000 of its members including Emma Thompson, Zac Goldsmith and
Alistair McGowan.

A joint venture between Garden Organic and Greenpeace aims to make use of the
land which has been ear marked as the site for a third runway.

Briers and former HW writer Fowler joined villagers in planting two Bright Future apple trees and
a selection of vegetables from the Heritage Seed Library.

The apple trees were selected as a mark of respect to Richard Cox, creator of
the Cox’s Orange Pippin apple, who is buried in the village churchyard and whose
grave may have to be exhumed if the runway plans go ahead.  

The allotment is about the size of a football field and will provide organic
fruit and vegetables to the villagers who face their homes being bulldozed if
plans for a runway are approved.

Briers said: “I’m planting carrot seeds.   After they’ve grown I’m going to send
a runway carrot once a year to every member of the cabinet.   I’m hoping they’ll
become so attached to them that they’ll drop their plans for Heathrow expansion.
It’s always best to reach for the carrot rather than the stick.”

Fowler said:   “This year, grow something, anything, and you will make your world
a cleaner, greener more pleasant place to be. Grow something you can eat or drink
— a simple mint tea, a salad, your own cucumber for a sandwich and you will not
only taste something mind blowing, but you’ll lighten your footprint in the nicest
possible way.”

The fight over the land is likely to take many years as a formal review of the
plans is not due until 2012.

Garden Organic operations director Bob Sherman said: “Understandably, people might be swayed by the economic argument for a third
runway but that is actually a very short term view.   We have always taken the
view that growing your own food is about helping the environment as well as being

Garden Organic provided seeds from the Heritage seed collection, including broad
beans and carrots. The collection is made up of lines which are no longer commercially
available and is maintained by the charity.

By planting organic vegetables, a Garden Organic representative said, the site
will not only prevent carbon expansion but will reduce the villages carbon footprint.

The organisation was approached by Greenpeace after the charity bought the land
in November but did not want it to go to waste.

Greenpeace climate campaigner Anna Jones said: “A third runway cannot and will
not be built. The whole country is against this ridiculous plan, and tired of
a government that lectures them on doing their bit for the environment, and then
turns around to support huge carbon-intensive infrastructure. The Government needs
to get out of bed with the aviation industry and listen to the scientists, voters
and businesses that understand that Heathrow expansion has no place within a low-carbon

The project has numerous endorsements from celebrity gardeners, including Monty
Don, who said:   “The plan for a third runway at Heathrow is institutionalised
madness and I wish Richard and the community of Sipson the best of luck in their