Category Archives: Press releases

Back Heathrow over-claimed support for 3rd runway

Advertising Standards Authority bans Back Heathrow Advert over its claim most local people back Heathrow expansion


The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert from Back Heathrow claiming that most local people back expansion at the airport. 

The lobby group, which was set up to push for a third runway and which receives funding from Heathrow Airport, was criticised for failing to provide polling data to back up its claim. 

Back Heathrow ran a regional press ad headlined “Rallying for the runway” which included with the line “Don’t believe the hype. Most people living in communities near Heathrow Airport support its expansion.”


The Advertising Standards Authority received five complaints that said the claim that the group had widespread local support was misleading.


Back Heathrow said in a footnote to the ad that the latest independent polling showed 60% of local residents had “expressed an opinion in support of expansion”.  The ASA found that to get to the statement of 60% in support, the Back Heathrow campaign had excluded 15% of those surveyed on the grounds they had not expressed any opinion, creating their own analysis of just for/against.


“Given that a significant number of respondents, who had expressed an opinion albeit a neutral one, had been excluded from the sample, we considered that this was not a suitable methodology by which to draw such a conclusion,” ruled the ASA. “We considered that the evidence held back by Back Heathrow demonstrated that only 50% of all those polled were in support of expansion.”


The ASA said that therefore Back Heathrow did not substantiate its claim that “most” people living in communities near Heathrow airports supported its expansion.  “Consequently, the ad breached the [advertising] code,” the ASA ruled. “We told Back Heathrow not to repeat the claims … unless it held robust substantiation for them.”


John Stewart, chair HACAN, the campaign group which opposes Heathrow expansion, “This ruling is a real blow to Back Heathrow as a cornerstone of its strategy has been to try to convince decision-makers that a majority of local people back a third runway.  These claims are now starting to unravel.”



Press Release

 14/3/16 for immediate use


 Heathrow may need to fork out nearly £2 billion on insulation of properties if a 3rd runway goes ahead.

Last year Heathrow announced that it was putting aside £700 million to insulate 160,000 homes if the Government gives a new runway the green light.  But research by campaign group HACAN, which opposes a third runway, suggests the figure could be much higher if the insulation is done properly

In consultation with UK Soundproofing Ltd of West Sussex and Tudor Windows of London, HACAN has revealed that the average semi detached house will cost about £11,800 to totally insulate a property against noise. The total coast of full insulation of 160,000 homes would be £1.8 billion.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Heathrow are offering to insulate many more properties than they do today.  Our supporters welcome this but only if their homes will be fully insulated.  The cost of doing that would run into billions.”

Stewart added, “Admittedly, our estimates are based on costs for an individual home and there would be discounts if an order was placed, but it will still cost substantially more than the £700m originally put forward.”


Press Release

Monday 1st February for immediate use



Campaigners against Heathrow expansion today plastered George Osborne’s constituency with No Third Runway signs.  They put up the signs in the main street of Knutsford in the heart of the constituency, including one outside Conservative Party headquarters in the town.  The campaigners wanted to get across to the Chancellor, thought to back expansion at Heathrow, that a new runway would cost the taxpayer billions of pounds .

Peter Jones, one of the Londoners who went up to Knutsford, said, “We deliberately chose the day after people have had to get their tax returns in so as to emphaisise to George Osborne just how much public money will be needed to pay for the road and rail links for a third runway.”

The Airports Commission, which the Government set up to look at the need for new airports, put the cost at almost £6 billion.  Transport for London has put it even higher.  Heathrow has said it will pay no more than £1.1billion (1).

Jones said, “That leaves the taxpayer to find around £5 billion.”

Campaign group HACAN calculated that everybody in the country would each need to fork out £80 to pay for the road and rail links a third runway would need (2).

HACAN also unearthed evidence that £5bn could buy 83,000new social homes or 835,000 hip replacements (3).

HACAN Chair John Stewart, said, “The billions of pounds of Government money that would be needed for 3rd runway road and rail schemes might even make the Chancellor, George Osborne, think twice about backing it.”


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). Heathrow would pay for the runway itself but not all of the associated road and rail costs.

(2). If the cost is £5 billion and the UK population is 63,182,000 (2011 census), that’s £79 each.


HACAN Launches Major Report on Aircraft Noise and Health

Press Release

 8/1/16, embargoed until 6am on 12th January, 2016

New Report: Health of over a million people at risk from aircraft noise

Launch: Tuesday 12th January, 2 – 3pm, Committee Room 19, House of Commons; Hosted by Tania Mathias MP; Key Speakers:Tim Johnson, Director of AEF, Professor Stephen Stansfeld, Professor of Psychiatry, Queen Mary University of London

A major new report published today has found that the health of over one million people in the UK is at risk from aircraft noise.   The report, Aircraft Noise and Public Health: The Evidence is Loud and Clear, commissioned by campaign group HACAN and produced by the Aviation Environment Federation, has called on the Government to undertake a complete review of all its polices to ensure that they take full account of the health impacts of aircraft noise.

Here is the report: Aircraft Noise and Public Health the evidence is loud and clear final reportONLINE

And here is the summary: AEF_aircraft noise and health_FINAL3

Key findings:

  • People exposed to high levels of aircraft noise around Heathrow have a 24% higher chance of stroke, 21% higher chance of heart disease, and 14% higher chance of cardiovascular diseases compared to people exposed to low levels of aircraft noise
  • Over 460 schools around Heathrow are exposed to aircraft noise levels that may impair learning and memory
  • In the UK close to 600,000 people are exposed to night-time aircraft noise levels far above WHO recommendations

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “These findings are shocking but not surprising.  Aircraft noise is having a major impact on people’s health.  HACAN is calling on the Government to postpone any decision on new runways until a full health assessment has been carried out on each proposal.  Today HACAN is setting up the Heathrow Health Alliance to monitor progress.”




Campaigners post pre-Xmas thank-you letters to PM for refusing to give green light to 3rd runway….so far

Press Release

 18/12/15 for immediate use

 Anti-3rd Runway Campaigners post pre-Xmas thank-you letters to PM


Post box 2

Over the past week hundreds of people campaigning against Heathrow expansion wrote pre-Christmas letters to David Cameron thanking him for keeping his promise not to build a third runway and urging him not to break it next year when a decision on runway capacity is expected to be announced.  This morning three representatives of the campaigners posted letters through a post box in the heart of Westminster.

Last week the Government announced that it would postpone a decision on new runways until at least the middle of 2016.  It made clear that Heathrow and Gatwick were still in the frame.

In 2009 David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, pledged in a speech in Richmond, “No ifs, no buts; there will be no third runway at Heathrow.”

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, one of the groups opposed to expansion, said, “These letters are yet another indication of how strongly people feel about a third runway.  We urge David Cameron to keep his promise in 2016.”


Government postpones decision on new runway for at least 6 months

At 7pm on Friday 11th December the Government announced that it is delaying any final decision on new runways until at least the middle of next year.  It wants to do further work in assessing particularly the environmental impacts of a 3rd runway at Heathrow, the Heathrow Hub proposal for an extended runway and a 2nd runway at Gatwick.

The full Government statement is here:

HACAN Comment: 

This delay shows once again just how difficult it will be to build a third runway at Heathrow.  The last Labour Government tried and failed.  And now this Government has run into real obstacles.  Heathrow would require almost 1,000 homes to be demolished and part of the M25 to be moved and put in a tunnel.  It would mean a quarter of a million more planes flying over the city with the biggest aircraft noise problem in Europe and could cause air pollution to exceed the EU legal limits.  Many of these problems won’t go away however long the final decision is delayed.  The Government should face up to the reality that a third runway is unlikely ever to see the light of day. Although there are party political reasons for this delay, these should not obscure the fact that the real problem with a third runway is its impact on the area London and its people.

Influential committee of MPs ‘put Government in a straightjacket’ over Heathrow Third Runway

Press Release

1/12/15 for immediate use

Influential committee of MPs ‘put Government in a straightjacket’ over Heathrow Third Runway

A leading committee of MPs has ‘put the Government in a straightjacket’ over a third runway at Heathrow.  The influential Environmental Audit Committee released a report today (1) which said that a third runway should not go ahead at Heathrow until strict environmental conditions are met.  These included proof can be that noise and air pollution will be less than they are now; that the Government has clear policies in place to show it could meet the climate change recommendations in Airports Commission; and that Heathrow Airport commits to paying for the associated road and rail infrastructure and agrees to a ban on night flights.

HACAN chair John Stewart said, “The Committee has put the Government in a straightjacket over a third runway.  This report makes it that much harder to build a third runway at Heathrow.”

The Government is expected to make an announcement before Christmas about whether it favours a third runway at Heathrow or a second runway at Gatwick.


 Notes for Editors




Flash Mob at Heathrow Terminal 2

Press Release

 21/10/15 for immediate use

 No Third Runway Flash Mob Staged at Heathrow Terminal Two

Flash Mob T2 2

Over 50 campaigners from across London and the Home Counties staged at Heathrow Terminal Two today in protest against a third runway.

At 11am on the dot the campaigners, standing in front of the giant sculpture in the new terminal, revealed red t-shirts emblazoned with the words ‘No 3rd Runway’.

The campaigners included residents from Harmondsworth whose homes would be demolished to make way for the new runway as well as people from West London and Berkshire and as far afield as Lightwater and Binfield.  They were joined by polar bears from Plane Stupid.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, the campaign group which organized the Flash Mob, said, “This was a fun event with a serious purpose.  We wanted to send a strong message to David Cameron that, if the Government gives the green light to a third runway, he will face united, determined opposition.”

The Government is expected to make an announcement about new runways in December.




Londoners Back Gatwick

Press Release

13/10/15 for immediate use

 Londoners Back Gatwick

A new poll released yesterday revealed Londoners back expansion at Gatwick. The YouGov poll found that Londoners would prefer Gatwick rather than Heathrow to get an extra runway by 44 per cent to 33.  Gatwick was seen as cheaper and less harmful in terms of noise and pollution.

The poll of 1,072 Londoners found that 41 per cent backed Gatwick as the best choice for issues such as noise and air pollution, compared with 24 per cent for Heathrow. Some 38 per cent thought Gatwick would cost less, against 20 for Heathrow.

The poll coincided with the publication of a letter signed by Wandsworth council leader Ravi Govindia, Kingston’s Kevin Davis, Southwark’s Peter John and Croydon’s Tony Newman which urged: “Why waste another decade on a failed Heathrow scheme when there’s an alternative on the table?”

The Government is expected to make an announcement in December whether it favours a second runway At Gatwick or a new runway at Heathrow.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which opposes expansion at Heathrow, said, “This poll re-enforces the message that a 3rd runway at Heathrow is simply not popular with people in London.  And it sends a clear signal to the Government that it will face formidable opposition if it gives the go-ahead to a new runway.”



“Clear Commitment” by Heathrow Airport to “significantly” reduce night flights if 3rd runway goes ahead

Press Release

 5/11/15 for immediate use

 “Clear Commitment” by Heathrow Airport to “significantly” reduce night flights if 3rd runway goes ahead

Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye made a commitment to significantly reduce night flights if permission was given for a third runway.

Cross-examined yesterday by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Select Committee (1), Mr Holland-Kaye gave the clearest signal yet that a new runway would lead to a reduction in flights before 6am.  But he appeared to rule out a total ban.

He told the committee: “There are huge benefits to local communities for getting rid of the early morning scheduled arrivals between 4.30 and 6am”.

“Equally there is a big cost to that for the UK economy because those are very valuable trading routes to the Far East, Singapore and Hong Kong. It’s not easy to resolve that”.

“We are working on it. I’m confident that we will be able to find a way through that and that there’s a real opportunity to significantly reduce night flying at Heathrow with expansion.”

The Airports Commission, which the previous Government set up in 2012, to look at the need for more runways, recommended in its report published in July of this year that a legally-binding ban on night flights should be a condition of a third runway being given the go-ahead.

John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN which opposes Heathrow expansion, “For the first time I can remember a Heathrow CEO has talked about the possibility of a real reduction in night flights”.

“However, we believe they are so disturbing to so many people that a complete ban on planes before 6am should be introduced whether or not a third runway is built.”

The Government is expected to take a decision about whether or not to give the green light to a third runway at Heathrow before Christmas.

Before the start of the Committee hearings campaigners staged a demonstration outside the building to highlight the air pollution problems around Heathrow


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). The Environmental Audit Committee is conducting an investigation into whether the conditions the Airport Commission recommended should be met if a third runway goes ahead are feasible.