Publicity & Politics News
Below are links to stories on protests, publicity events and other aviation stories that have hit the news.
One man’s 400-mile, 3 week, walk London to Scotland, to save his village from Heathrow bulldozers
On Tuesday 4th April Hillingdon Council leader Ray Puddifoot and others well-wishers will gather in Harmondsworth at 11am as local man Neil Keveren sets off on a marathon 400-mile walk to the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to ask Nicola Sturgeon why the SNP is backing a 3rd runway at Heathrow and destruction of his home and village in the process. Neil aims to finish his walk on Thursday 27th April at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. There will be a theme for each day and a number of campaigners and politicians will join Neil for sections of the walk. The route can be found below and covers places within Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, County Durham, Northumberland, Scottish Borders, Midlothian and Edinburgh. Neil Keveren, who was born in Harmondsworth's neighbouring village of Sipson, has lived in the area all his life; he hopes that his walk will highlight the reasons a third runway should not go ahead. Keveren, who built up a successful building business in the area, said: "I am not one of nature's natural walkers but I felt I had to do this for my family, my village and the wider campaign." Neil will also use Facebook Live to provide daily updates of his progress and any highlights of that particular day. Further updates will be available on the Stop Heathrow Expansion twitter page @StopHeathrowExp.
Packed first public meeting of new anti-Heathrow expansion group, BASHR3 in Hounslow
Nearly 200 residents packed out a church hall to attend the launch meeting of a new local anti-Heathrow expansion group - BASHR3. The first public meeting of Brentford and Hounslow Stop Heathrow Expansion (BASH Runway 3) meeting on March 21st was a lively event, with speeches from Ruth Cadbury (Brentford & Isleworth MP), John Stewart of HACAN, and Maggie Thorburn, from Friends of the Earth. Putting profits and pollution before people were high on the agenda and there were serious concerns that tens of thousands more people in Brentford , Isleworth, Osterley, Chiswick and Hounslow will be affected by a third runway. Ruth Cadbury was adamant that the threat of a third runway would be eradicated, and many claims made by Heathrow of how they would deal with problems such as noise, air pollution and carbon emissions were "laughable." ...Ruth believes that "Together, we'll see off the threat to our area for good." The 3rd runway means the massive intrusion of aircraft noise into the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, who not currently under a flight path. Being overflown for the first time would come as a deeply unpleasant shock for many, and the DfT has made no attempt to give out information about who would be affected. Air pollution will also become worse across the constituency as a result of the traffic generated by the extra cars and lorries on the local and motorway road network.
Runway opponents stage a brief take-over of Maidenhead DfT Heathrow event, filling in info gaps
The Maidenhead DfT information display - pushing the Heathrow 3rd runway - was taken over for its last 20 minutes by an invasion of anti- runway protesters. The DfT events are intended to give information to members of the public who want to know more about the runway plan. Unfortunately the displays are very focused on the alleged benefits of the runway, with very little information on its negative impacts. Generally the DfT staff who man the events are unable to answer questions about negative effects of the runway, in any detail. Campaigners from SHE (Stop Heathrow Expansion) with representatives from around 8 other groups, held a brief session to show up some of the gaps in information that the DfT is giving the public at these (20) sessions. Neil Keveren (SHE) pointed out some of the omitted information (like how little change to night flights is actually proposed, the effect of those whose homes will be compulsorily purchased, the health impacts of air pollution and the cost to the taxpayer of improvements to surface infrastructure). There is no info on any of those in the DfT panels. Others then chipped in with other information that the DfT should be including. The session ended with rousing chants of "No New Runways" and "Theresa May, What would your father say, NO 3rd runway" - and Neil singing, accompanied by his guitar, the song "This is our home, and we will stay. No 3rd runway".
5 arrested for blocking Heathrow tunnel – traffic chaos with tunnel closed 2 hrs 30 mins
Protesters from the Rising Up group caused tailbacks on the M4 heading towards Heathrow airport, in their latest action against plans to build a third runway. A video posted by the group shortly before 8.30am shows a car blocking the Heathrow Tunnel that accesses Terminals 2 and 3. They draped a sign reading ‘No new runways’ over the car, and there was an activist lying next to the vehicle, locked to it, on the road. The Met police said officers attended the scene at 8.25am and arrested two people for obstructing a highway. The police said five people were arrested. Three protesters were locked to one of the vehicles and two were drivers of two cars. The tunnel was closed for over two hours, and the M4 spur road was also temporarily closed, while police worked with Heathrow Airport staff to remove the people locked to the third car. A contra-flow was put in place in the outbound tunnel to facilitate the movement of traffic around the blocked tunnel. There were delays in surrounding roads. Transport for London said just after 11am the tunnel re-opened. The protest follows a flashmob the group held at Heathrow on the weekend. The DfT opened its 4 month consultation on the 3rd runway on 2nd February. The degree of bias, and absence of balance or information on negative impacts of the expansion, in the consultation, has angered many people.
Heathrow Black Lives Matter protest: Nine people who blocked major airport route found guilty of wilful obstruction
On 5th August 2016 a group from "Black Lives Matter" blocked the M4 southbound spur road from junction 8 from around 8am. The road did not fully reopen until 12.30pm, causing a lot of traffic delays. At the road block, four of the protesters held a large black banner which said 'This is a Crisis' while six others formed a human chain on the ground, linking arms together using hollowed fire extinguishers filled with wire mesh and concrete. The activists were at Willesden Magistrates' Court for their trial, at which 9 out of the 10 protesters were found guilty of wilful obstruction and ordered to pay fines. They were all ordered to pay between £261 and £523 in fines, according to Hodge Jones & Allen, the law firm representing them. Another protester had already accepted a caution. The protesters hoped that their protest got media attention and raised awareness of the issues - Heathrow's 3rd runway will contribute to causing damage to health through both air pollution and carbon emissions. One defendant commented: "If people want to challenge us for causing a one-hour inconvenience, surely they'll want to challenge a system that sees families wait over 20 years for justice?" Black Lives Matter is an international movement set up in the US.
The 200th Frankfurt airport Monday Demo (Montagsdemo) against the noise will be on 30th January
The 4th runway at Frankfurt was opened in October 2011. Due to re-alignment of flight paths, with thousands of people either newly overflown, or with more flights than before, there was uproar. The airport had not felt it necessary to warn people, or consult about the noise. Several thousand people started to congregate in the airport terminal every Monday evening, for a protest demo. (The airport buildings are public property, so the airport cannot prevent people gathering.). The 100th Monday demo was on 20th May 2014, when a group from the UK attended. Now the 200th Monday demo will take place on Monday 30th January, and a large crowd is expected. Politicians from the local area and from the region, as well as for Berlin, will be attending. The demands of the protesters are ultimately that the runway is closed down (though that is an ambitious, or unrealistic hope....) but they want no night flights from 10pm to 6am, no further airport expansion, and no 3rd terminal. Work to build the 3rd terminal started in October 2015, and the airport hopes it will open (first phase) in 2022. It is an astonishing achievement that Frankfurt residents have organised 200 Monday protests, all attended by many hundreds of people - sometimes several thousand. The demos are possible because people are so upset and angry about the noise burden that has been inflicted on them, reducing their quality of life.
Heathrow anti-runway activists who briefly blocked roads on 19th November get conditional discharges
Twelve campaigners will face no penalty, and were given conditional discharges, after staging a protest near Heathrow against airport expansion. A small group of people ran on to the M4 and A4 roads and lay down in front of oncoming traffic, causing a temporary disruption - under half an hour - on 19th November. Fifteen of them, aged between 21 and 67, were charged with wilful obstruction of the highway. At a hearing at Ealing magistrates court 12 of them pleaded guilty and were given a conditional discharge. They were told they would each have to pay a victim surcharge and prosecution costs of £105. The court heard their motivations were fears about air pollution potentially caused by a third runway at Heathrow, the urgency of climate change and social inequality. The district judge Stephen Day pointed out they were all of good character and had no previous convictions. He said "...I have read your references which talk about you in glowing terms" The court heard that police knew a protest had been organised. One of the activists said: “This is not the end. We will continue to fight until the government takes meaningful action to tackle climate change, and that includes not building a third runway.” Two protesters pleaded not guilty, and will be tried on 6th and 7th February.
Another solidarity gathering at the ZAD at NDDL – and a convoy taking hay to farmers near the Channel
The opponents of a new Nantes airport and Notre Dame des Landes are still waiting to see if the authorities try to force them off the land. On the 10th November, there was a good gathering (150 tractors and 500 people) who surrounded one of the farms on the ZAD (zone à defendre) to show solidarity against possible evictions. Now another gathering is planned for 2nd December, as they fear the threat of an attempt to start the removal work is even stronger in the days and weeks ahead. They say "We can not accept that the government does not respect the environmental code and the law on water and protected species." And "it is our duty to prevent the destruction of fertile soils of the ZAD and the expulsion of those who make a living there." The plan is meet up, speeches etc, and then pot au feu! In another solidarity campaign, there will be a relay of tractors taking good quality hay grown on the ZAD, up to farmers in Normandy, who do not have enough. On 13th to 16th 3 hay trailers will start from the ZAD at NDDL, led initially by tractors of farmers at NDDL. Every 20 to 30 km, the relay will be passed to other local farmers with their tractors who take the next stage. Held in the squares of towns or villages, the relay stops will be an opportunity to communicate about the struggle against the planned NDDL airport - and national issues.
Up-beat and determined rally organised by Zac Goldsmith, in Richmond, against Heathrow 3rd runway
In addition to the protest against a 3rd runway near Heathrow, with two sections of nearby roads closed by activists linked together with arm locks, lying on the ground, there was also an entirely law abiding protest near Heathrow. Earlier in the day there was a large, energetic and very positive rally in Richmond, organised by Zac Goldsmith - as part of his re-election campaign. Zac had always said that if the government backed a 3rd runway, we would resign. As soon as they did, he did - keeping his word to his electorate. The by-election was caused by the Heathrow issue, and that is what Zac intends to be returned to Parliament on. The LibDems want to get a 2nd MP in parliament, and so are hoping the by-election will instead be largely about Brexit. The rally was compered (brilliantly) by Giles Brandreth, and addressed by numerous well informed speakers, including the Leaders of the 4 councils now embarking on legal action against the government on the runway decision, and the ex-President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, as well as spokespeople from the Richmond Heathrow campaign, Teddington Action Group, Stop Heathrow Expansion, and Chiswick residents. It was made very clear that Zac has the necessary years of political experience as an MP to take this issue back to Parliament, get change, and ensure the runway is opposed - in every way. Everyone who spoke was utterly determined that, with sufficient work and concerted, united opposition over the coming years, the highly unsustainable and damaging plan for a 3rd runway at Heathrow will be blocked.
15 people arrested in protest against proposed 3rd runway, blocking two roads close to Heathrow
In addition to a rally held on Richmond Green, organised by Zac Goldsmith, against the planned 3rd Heathrow runway there were two other protests near Heathrow. Zac's rally had a host of speakers, including the leaders of the four councils bringing a legal challenge to the government, and the ex-President of the Maldives - with the aim of ensuring Zac is returned to Parliament in the by-election on 1st December. A short while later, there was an action by climate protesters, organised by RisingUp! close to Heathrow itself. They got onto the M4 spur road to the airport at a traffic lights when the traffic had stopped. Within seconds five had locked themselves together with arm locks, blocking the road. Another Heathrow road, the East Ramp, was also blocked, for a short time, with some road trips slightly delayed, but no flights were affected. Fifteen arrests were made for obstructing the highway or public order offences. Many others protested, though without blocking a road. A spokesman for Rising Up! said: "The government's decisions to expand Heathrow, despite mass opposition from local residents and the fact that doing so is incompatible with the UK's own laws on climate change, leaves us with no morally acceptable option but to resist." One of the protesters taking part in the demonstration, Genny Scherer, 70, said: “It's one or the other: new runways or a safe climate. I want my nephews and nieces to grow up in a safe climate, just like I was able to.”