Category Archives: Press releases

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.










New survey: London businesses rate airport expansion the least important measure to assist the capital’s economy

Press Release

 29/10/15 for immediate use

 Londoners rate new airport capacity as he least important measure required to ensure London remains competitive with other global cities, according to a survey released today by the London Chamber of Commerce (1).  The survey, undertaken by ComRes for London Tomorrow, a group set up in part by the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry, found affordable housing topped most people’s list.

Com Res surveyed businesses, councillors and the public.  Only 3% of the public put new airport capacity at the top of their list and just 2% of businesses and 1% of councillors did so.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN, which campaigns against a third runway at Heathrow, said, “These figures are very revealing.  Across the board Londoners do not think airport matters to the future of the capital.  The figures suggest that the polls which Heathrow Airport has carried out  in a limited number of areas close to the airport significantly overstate the support there is for a third runway amongst Londoners as a whole.


 Notes for Editors:

 (1). The full poll can be found at

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641; 07957385650




Campaigners mark 6th anniversary of PM’s promise not to build a 3rd runway

Press Release

19/10/15 for immediate use

 Heathrow campaigners park plane outside Downing St to mark 6th anniversary of Prime Ministers ‘No ifs, no buts, no 3rd runway’ speech


To mark the 6th anniversary of David Cameron’s speech where he promised ‘No ifs; no buts; there will be no third runway’ Heathrow campaigners parked a plane outside Downing Street this morning .

On 19th October 2006 David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, made his now famous promise in a speech at a rally in Christ School in Richmond (2).  When the Coalition Government came to power in 2010 it ruled out any new runways for the duration of that Parliament.  But in 2012 it set up the Airports Commission, under Sir Howard Davies, to look at the case for new runways.

In July of this year the Commission recommended a third runway at Heathrow.  The Prime Minister is expected to announce before the end of the year whether he accepts that decision.

Margaret Thorburn, spokesperson for the campaigners said, “Today’s colourful stunt is a visible reminder to David Cameron of the promise he made on this day six years ago.  If he breaks it, he will not be forgiven by tens of thousands of people in and around London and countless environmentalists across the country.”


 Notes for Editors:

 (2). Report of the original speech



Five Mayoral candidates to address ‘biggest ever’ rally against Heathrow Third Runway

Press Release

7/10/15 for immediate use

 Five Mayoral candidates to address ‘biggest ever’ rally against Heathrow Third Runway

10th October. Parliament Square. 10.30am. Speakers start 11am.  Finish by 12.30pm

All the candidates to succeed Boris Johnson as Mayor of London from the main political parties will speak at a mass rally against a third runway at Heathrow to be held on 10th October in Parliament Square, opposite the Houses of Parliament.  They will be joined by speakers from the local community and from leading environmental organizations.   The rally, which organizers believe will be the ‘biggest ever’ against Heathrow expansion, will take place just weeks before David Cameron is expected to make an announcement on a new runway for London and the South East.    At present the Cabinet is looking at the recommendation of the Airports Commission that the runway should be built at Heathrow.  However, over recent months, the owners of Gatwick have continued to make the case for a second runway at their airport.

John Stewart, chair of HACAN, the campaign group which is one of the main organizers of the rally, said, “Thousands are expected to send a clear message to the Prime Minister that they will fight any decision to give the green light to a new runway at Heathrow.  And the message from all the key Mayoral candidates is equally clear.  They stand united on this issue.  They are all firmly against a third runway.”

Notes for Editors:

 The full list of confirmed speakers is (running order yet to be finalised):

John Stewart, Chair HACAN (to welcome and introduce)

John McDonnell Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington

Zac Goldsmith MP for Richmond and North Kingston (and Conservative Mayoral candidate)

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting (and Labour Mayoral candidate)

Sian Berry, Green Party Mayoral Candidate

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat Mayoral Candidate

Peter Whittle, UKIP Mayoral candidate

John Sauven, Chief Executive of Greenpeace

Gina Parihar, Head of Legal at Friends of the Earth

Tania Mathias, Conservative MP for Twickenham

A long-standing resident from the Heathrow villages who will lose her home

Gyles Brandreth will act as master of ceremonies


 For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650