Hunger strike against Heathrow runway continues, with die-in in Parliament and trip to lobby SNP
The five hunger strikers from the group “Vote No Heathrow” began their hunger protest on Saturday 9th June. They hope, health permitting, to continue until there is a vote in Parliament on the 3rd runway. As well as staging protests outside the offices of the Labour Party, and the Unite trade union, and a die-in in the Central Lobby in Parliament on 13rh June, they have travelled to Scotland to protest to the SNP. They want them to vote against the runway, when the vote in Parliament happens some time before 9th July. Heathrow and the DfT have misled Scottish MPs into believing there would be a lot of economic benefit from a 3rd runway, with “promises” of thousands of jobs and more direct flights. The 35 SNP MPs currently plan to vote as a block in favour of the runway. The campaigners care passionately about climate change, and the huge increase in UK aviation carbon emissions that would be generated by a 3rd runway. Each month there is more evidence of the serious impact of climate change. The Committee on Climate Change, the government’s official advisors, have written to Chris Grayling to express their concern about how – unacceptably – the issue of carbon emissions has largely be glossed over, and ignored, in government plans for the runway.
Protesters vow to carry on week-long hunger strike until Heathrow expansion is rejected
By Tom Herbert (Metro)
Friday 15 Jun 2018
A group of eight hunger strikers haven’t eaten any food since Saturday in a bid to oppose the expansion of Heathrow Airport. Six campaigners from Vote No Heathrow staged a protest outside Holyrood today to urge the SNP to vote against expansion when MPs vote in the next few weeks.
The group staged a ‘visual and colourful act of civil disobedience’ and hoped to send a clear message to the party to vote against the third runway.
Spokesman Cal Thompson told Metro.co.uk: ‘We feel that strongly about this and so desperate and frustrated that climate is not anywhere on the agenda and this is a way to show our commitment.
‘It is a personal sacrifice we would be willing to make to wake people up to the impact this will have on millions arond the world.’
Mr Thompson said the eight protesters have ‘vowed to continue’ their hunger strike ‘until both parties agree to whip their votes in opposition to Heathrow expansion plans’.
He added: ‘We’re drawing attention to the missing element in the debates which is climate breakdown. Scientists are clear that climate breakdown is catastrophic and will kill millions.
‘We feel such progressive parties such as the SNP and Labour should not vote for it.’
The hunger strikers targeted the SNP with chalk messages on the walls reading ‘SNP bought by Heathrow’ and ‘voting for climate genocide’, while displaying placards reading ‘Vote no Heathrow’ and ‘Please vote no’.
A parliamentary vote on the National Policy Statement in Aviation, which advocates the expansion of Heathrow with a third runway, is expected in the next few weeks.
Mr Thompson added: ‘We’re trying to draw awareness to the impact of them voting for it.
We’re appealing to the principles we know they hold and vote against them, not essentially prop up the Tory government and their pathological policies.’
The National Policy Statement on Aviation is expected to be published this month.
A parliamentary vote must be held within three weeks of the publication, which would either make the third runway binding government policy or take the proposal ‘back to square one’.
Mr Thompson claims the SNP has ‘been bought in exchange for magic beans’ and says there is ‘no real commitment from the policy that’s being proposed to serve local areas. It’s astonishing we could have this. We should be taking responsibility for our climate.
‘They claim to be a socially democratic party and they look to be voting for a corporate agenda. They need to stand by their morals and vote against this runway which will bulldoze homes and kill millions around.’
And SNP spokesman said: ‘The SNP wants the best deal for Scotland. Air links with London give businesses access to global markets, whilst ensuring inbound business passengers and tourists travelling through London airports have the option of connecting flights to Scotland.
‘We are now pushing for clarification from the UK Government about a number of issues, including how it intends to guarantee landing slots for Scotland.’
Protesters holding the die-in in Parliament, on Wednesday 13th.
The evidence about the faster Antarctic warming is at https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/13/antarctic-ice-melting-faster-than-ever-studies-show
CCC writes to Grayling to remind him of UK’s climate commitments, expressing concern about NPS silence on allowing rising aviation CO2 emissions
The Committee on Climate Change have written to Chris Grayling to reiterate that the UK has a legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act, and the Paris Agreement. They say: “We were surprised that your statement to the House of Commons on the NPS on 5 June 2018 made no mention of either of these commitments. It is essential that aviation’s place in the overall strategy for UK emissions reduction is considered and planned fully by your Department.” Under the CCC’s advice, the aviation sector would be allowed to keep its CO2 emissions at no more than their level in 2005, by 2050. That means aviation’s share of total UK CO2 emissions would already increase from about 2% to around 25%. Even that means “all other sectors must reduce emissions by more than 80%, and in many cases will likely need to reach zero….Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for, since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors”. The CCC say: “We look forward to the Department’s new Aviation Strategy in 2019, which we expect will set out a plan for keeping UK aviation emissions at or below 2005 levels by 2050. To inform your work we are planning to provide further advice in spring 2019.”
Anti-Heathrow protesters stage hunger strike against Heathrow 3rd runway plans, asking people to lobby their MPs to vote against it
On Saturday 9th, campaigners from the Vote NO Heathrow campaign started a hunger strike, to draw attention to the huge risk that MPs might vote in favour of a 3rd Heathrow runway. The vote is likely in the next two weeks. Over 30 campaigners gathered outside the London HQ of the Labour party in Victoria Street, for the start of the hunger strike by 5 of them. They intend to continue not to eat for as long as their health permits, and if possible until the vote in Parliament. Earlier in the week, 8 campaigners were arrested outside the building for using chalk spray on the pavement and the glass windows, to highlight their message. The vote of the Labour party is crucial, and it is hoped that MPs will appreciate that the runway fails the 4 tests Labour has set for it, and impose a 3-line whip. The Tories may impose a 3-line whip in favour of the runway. The Vote NO Heathrow campaign wants as many people as possible to write to their MP – of whichever party – to ask them to vote against the runway. There are many important arguments, why the runway should be opposed (more details below) but these could be summarised as economic problems, UK region problems, noise, air pollution and increased carbon emissions.