News Feb – Mar 2009

Activists Adopt-a-Resident in Sipson to beat the bulldozers

 31st March 2009       Activists from around Britain came to Harmondsworth to launch a scheme to Adopt-a-Resident
under threat from the proposed Heathrow expansion. If needed, activists have pledged
to stand together with their adopted residents and fight attempts to remove them
from their homes. As the residents gathered in the local church hall, they were
each given a raffle ticket and were matched with an activist, whose matching raffle
ticket was drawn from a hat. (NoTRAG)     Click here to view full story…


A Risky Business: Government spin plan over Heathrow revealed

 30th March 2009       The DfT produced a “risk register” for plans for Heathrow. It was produced by
civil servants, with the task of getting approval for a 3rd runway. Greenpeace
managed to get hold of it, and it reveals a lot of interesting stuff. The Government
were / are very worried about losing the economic and environmental arguments
over Heathrow. They are also very bothered about direct action, both because it
could delay progress and it is enbarrassing. (Greenpeace)     Click here to view full story…


Heathrow third runway plan hits new snag

 28th March 2009         The proposed 3rd runway at Heathrow has been dealt a serious blow after a government
document warned that airport group BAA cannot lodge a planning application for
the project before the next general election. BAA is not expected to seek planning
permission for a 3rd runway until 2012. The last possible date for an election
is June 2010 and BAA’s best hope for expanding Heathrow is to submit an application
before then. (Guardian)   Click here to view full story…


Whitehall met aviation chiefs over Heathrow third runway

27th March 2009       DfT civil servants repeatedly met aviation industry chiefs in advance of the
decision to back a 3rd runway, though they told environmental groups there was
a blanket ban on meetings with any external bodies. The disclosure comes in documents
the civil service was directed to release to Greenpeace by the information commissioner
after stonewalling by civil servants. The threat of disruption was seen as one
of the highest risk threats to the runway. (Guardian)       Click here to view full story…

Heathrow air links pledge
 25th March 2009       The importance of air links to Heathrow for England’s regional economies will
form part of a government review of the economic impact of air travel regulation,
Jim Fitzpatrick, the aviation minister, promised northern MPs yesterday. The MPs,
led by north-east minister Nick Brown, stressed the threat to regional economies
from their air links being lost because of increasing landing charges squeezing
them out. The delegation cited the example of Durham Tees Valley airport, which
this weekend loses its 40-year-old link to Heathrow.   (Financial Times)   link
Children Stage Rally at Parliament against Heathrow Expansion

24th March 2009         Hundreds of people, many of them children dressed up as endangered species, took
part in a rally, organised by “WeCAN”, opposite the Houses of Parliament. The
rally was addressed by a number of high-profile speakers including Colin Challen
MP and Zac Goldsmith. Amongst the children who took part were pupils from Heathrow
Primary School which would be demolished if a 3rd runway went ahead. The children
then went into Parliament to lobby their MPs.       Click here to view full story…


BAA could be made bankrupt if forced sell-off becomes fire sale

23rd March 2009         BAA could be pushed into bankruptcy or even be re-nationalised if its enforced
disposal of Gatwick and Stansted becomes a fire sale. The small print in BAA’s
debt financing contracts stipulates that no asset can be sold for less than 85%
of its regulated value. With the price of assets collapsing and potential buyers
struggling to raise finance, there is concern that bids for BAA’s airports will
be much lower than they had hoped. (Times)    

Click here to view full story…

The mother of all rallies against bigger Heathrow

23rd March 2009       Novelists, film-makers and actresses are taking their children to Parliament
to demonstrate against Heathrow expansion and coal-fired power stations. The rally
has been organised by climate change campaign group WeCAN, made up mostly of mothers.
It will be attended by pupils from Sipson, whose primary school will be demolished
if plans for the third runway go ahead. WeCAN hope it will force the Government
to take tougher action on climate. (Standard)       Click here to view full story…

Flash mob held to praise rail over air travel

 19th March 2009       Campaigners against Heathrow expansion staged a Flash Mob with a difference at
the Euro Star terminal in St Pancras. The campaigners unveiled their red t-shirts,
emblazoned with the words ‘Stop Airport Expansion’, and held up signs saying "Rail
– Not Stupid" and burst into song – singing the praises of rail, with EuroStar
trains in the background. This ties in with the climate change film, The Age of
Stupid, which is going on general release.   Click here to view full story…

New Thames airport ‘no Heathrow threat’

19th March 2009         Air traffic control officials – NATS – have denied suggestions Heathrow would
have to close if a new airport was built in the Thames Estuary. A feasibility
study into a new airport to the south-east of London, an idea first proposed nearly
a decade ago, is due to be published later this month. (BBC)       Click here to view full story…

Hoon admits figures error on Heathrow exaggerates benefit

18th March 2009       The Government has admitted making an error in one of its forecasts on the net
benefit of new runways at Heathrow and Stansted. But Geoff Hoon said the mistake
did “not materially affect” evidence presented on the impact of expansion of the
airport. The Heathrow 3rd runway and 6th terminal net benefit comes down from
£5.4billion to £5.1billion. (Standard)       Click here to view full story…

Pupils help out with British Airways project – Heathrow

18th March 2009         BA has been granted £5,250 from the Forestry Commission, in association with
Groundwork London, to plant 2500 trees in its parkland. Children from Heathrow
and Harmondsworth Primary schools helped to plant the trees.   Click here to view full story…

Heathrow Airport expansion – (Guardian letter)

 17th March 2009       A Conservative member of the London Assembly says the proposed 3rd runway at
Heathrow should be scrapped not because the number of people flying dropped in
2008, but because demand for UK air travel exploded from 95.7 million passengers
in 1991 to 238.8 million in 2007.   Click here to view full story…


Sipson loses its oldest resident – Jack Clark

10th March 2009         Jack Clark, Sipson’s oldest resident, who celebrated his 97th birthday in February,
died suddenly in the home he loved and where he was determined to stay, despite
the threat of eviction for a 3rd runway.   (NoTRAG)       Click here to view full story…

That’s for backing Heathrow’s third runway, Lord Mandelson – Green Custard

 7th March 2009      Anti-Heathrow activist, Leila Deen, flung the custard contents of a coffee cup
in his face as he entered a conference on greenhouse emissions. (Indy)     Click here to view full story…

The should and yes of Heathrow

 5th March 2009       The government used a piece of spin to pass its own "strict environmental tests"
for approving the Heathrow airport expansion, official documents obtained under
FoI reveal. In the absence of any convincing data to explain how millions of extra
passengers would get to the airport.   (New Statesman)   Click here to view full story…


2M group criticise Labour over Heathrow decision

02.03.09     The Labour Government has been criticised for keeping the public in the dark
over changes to flightpaths from Heathrow. Richmond Council’s leader Serge Lourie,
speaking on behalf of the anti-Heathrow expansion group 2M, said ministers should
be more open with the public over the impact of airport expansion
‘   (UK Airport News)


Funds for possible Heathrow legal challenge agreed

2nd March 2009         Richmond Council’s cabinet agreed to make funds available for a possible legal
challenge on the Government’s decision to expand Heathrow.   (R& T Times)

Click here to view full story…  


Ministers ‘ignored’ Heathrow dissent – 86% were opposed

 1st March 2009       Public opposition to Heathrow’s proposed 3rd runway was far higher than the government
admitted, according to a Tory analysis of its consultation. This suggests up to
86% were strongly opposed to the runway.   (Times)       Click here to view full story…


Bill for Heathrow expansion vote passes first stage

28th Feb  2009       A bill proposed by a Liberal Democrat MP for a vote to be held on whether Heathrow
airport should be expanded has passed its first stage through parliament with
a majority of 44.   (Various)     Click here to view full story…


Mandelson in new ‘favours’ row: Minister’s Heathrow PR pal had six meetings with
ministers before Heathrow go-ahead

28th February 2009     Peter Mandelson is at the centre of a ‘favours for friends’ row over the proposals
to expand Heathrow.   (Mail)     Click here to view full story…


Firm which gave Heathrow 3rd runway a clean bill of health has links to BAA

13th February 2009           A company that the Government hired to help make the case for the 3rd Heathrow
runway previously worked for BAA, the Standard has revealed..(Evening Standard)        
Click here to view full story…

Timing of 3rd runway, under the new planning system.
Hansard, 9 Feb 2009 : Column 1701W

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when the
Infrastructure Planning Commission will start assessing planning applications;
and what the target time is for the Commission to process such applications. [255214]    

Mr. Iain Wright: Our expectation is that the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) will be
ready to begin receiving applications in spring 2010. In most circumstances, cases
will be decided within a year from application.


Heathrow case undermined – by House of Commons Library

7th February 2009         An independent parliamentary audit has called into question the government’s
economic and environmental case for expanding Heathrow airport. The briefing produced
last week by House of Commons library researchers, who are widely respected for
their objectivity and trusted by MPs, casts doubt on some of the government’s
key assumptions.   (Sunday Times)         Click here to view full story…

BA falls to loss and warns of further cuts

7th February 2009           BA has announced it made a pre tax loss of £70m in the 9 months to 31 December,
bruised by further economic weakness and the weak pound. In same the period in
2007, BA made a profit before tax of £816m.   (FT and BBC)           Click here to view full story…


Government is ‘running scared’ of Heathrow climate test

 5th February 2009             The South East England Regional Assembly says expansion at Heathrow must be independently
tested for any impact on climate change now and not after the runway is built.  
(SEERA)           Click here to view full story…

Johnson airport plans could threaten legal challenge to Heathrow runway

5th February 2009           A spokesman for the 2M group has claimed Boris Johnson’s plans to build a new
airport in the Thames estuary could weaken a legal challenge against expansion
of Heathrow he is helping to fund with £15,000. (Guardian)           Click here to view full story…  


Boris Island is a fantasy, says Labour

4th February 2009           Boris Johnson’s proposal to build an airport in the Thames Estuary is a fantasy,
according to London Assembly Labour environmental spokesman Murad Qureshi.   (NCE)          
Click here to view full story…  


CEP: Heathrow third runway: Flying in the face of English democracy

 2nd February 2009       The Campaign for an English Parliament has noted that the vote on a 3rd runway
at Heathrow was won for the Government by MPs elected outside England.   (        
Click here to view full story…


Heathrow bosses insist no geese cull planned

1st February 2009           Experts claim the growing population of Canada geese near the airport is putting
planes at increasing risk of bird strikes, like the one which brought down a jet
in Hudson Bay.   (Hounslow Chronicle)           Click here to view full story…