New website marks start of high-profile campaign.
MPs, peers and councillors from all the main political parties are supporting the biggest coalition ever assembled against further expansion of Heathrow (1). Stop Heathrow Expansion, which brings together politicians, local authorities, residents groups and national campaign organisations, was launched today, Monday 29th October, with the unveiling of its website (2).
The website will be a key tool in the coalition’s campaign against the Government’s proposals for expansion at Heathrow which will be put out to consultation within a few weeks. The Government is expected to hold public exhibitions on its plans to build a third runway and make more extensive use of existing runways. The consultation will end in March, with the Government expected to make a decision in the summer.
The Stop Heathrow Expansion Coalition is planning to stage its own alternative exhibitions. It will also hold public meetings and rallies. In a highly visible campaign, it will have stalls in the high streets and is expected to take out adverts in the local newspapers. It will also encourage people to sign the on-line petition on its website. The leaders of eleven key local authorities have already agreed to sign the website along with MPs and peers of all the political parties. More are expected to follow shortly (3).
John Stewart, the Chair of HACAN, said, “Never before has any government faced this scale of opposition to Heathrow expansion. We believe we can stop the plans dead in their tracks.”
Cllr Peter Thompson, Leader of Hounslow Council on behalf of the 2M Group of local authorities, said: “Research by the London Borough of Hounslow has shown that nine out of ten residents say ‘no’ to a third runway and ‘no’ to mixed mode because it will mean more planes, more noise and more pollution. Noise levels experienced in Hounslow’s schools, homes and community buildings already exceed World Health Organisation recommendations and levels of dangerous nitrogen dioxide (NO2) gas have been found to be up to 75% higher than recommended EU levels. If the Government pushes ahead with its expansion plans, Heathrow’s capacity will double in a decade allowing a plane to fly in or out of Heathrow every 30 seconds during the day. This will make life unbearable for our 215,000+ residents and explains why the vast majority of people in Hounslow say ‘no’ to expansion at Heathrow.”
Fiona Reynolds, Director-General of the National Trust said “The National Trust remains deeply concerned about the environmental impact of the Government’s ‘predict and provide’ approach. The proposed expansion of Heathrow is particularly worrying because of the increased noise and intrusion that would occur to the relative tranquillity of Osterley Park which welcomes over 300,000 local people a year. Our visitors tell us that they greatly value the opportunity to get away from the noise and bustle of urban life to enjoy a healthy, safe environment. With close to an £18bn balance of trade deficit from outbound tourism, climate change issues rising rapidly up the political agenda and potentially damaging environmental and social impacts we are urging the Government to listen and respond to these concerns.”
Christine Taylor, Vice Chair NOTRAG, said, “If these plans go ahead a community will be destroyed and over 3,000 people will be forced out of their homes. We are utterly determined that this will not happen.”
John Sauven, Greenpeace Executive Director, said: “Climate scientists have warned us that we only have a hundred months to stabilise and then reduce greenhouse gas emissions if we are to prevent dangerous climate change. Not doing so will have devastating consequences across the globe, and the UK will not be immune from the impact. Given that aviation is one of our fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, Gordon Brown would be totally reckless to give the green light to the expansion of Heathrow.”
Notes for Editors:
(1). The coalition includes the 2M group of 12 local authorities (Wandsworth; Hammersmith and Fulham; Hillingdon; Hounslow; Kensington & Chelsea; Richmond; Merton; Slough; South Bucks; Windsor & Maidenhead; Ealing; and Spelthorne); residents groups HACAN and NOTRAG (No Third Runway Action Group); environmental organisations such as Greenpeace; National Trust and West London Friends of the Earth.
(2). Work on the website will be completed once the details of the consultation are known.
(3). Politicians who have signed, or agreed to sign, the online petition so far include:
John McDonnell MP (Lab Hayes and Harlington)
John Randall MP (Con Uxbridge)
Nick Hurd (Conservative Ruislip)
Alan Keen (Lab Feltham and Heston)
Susan Kramer (Lib Dem Richmond Park)
Tom Brake (Lib Dem Carshalton)
Justine Greening (Con Putney)
Kate Hoey (Lab Vauxhall)
Baroness Jenny Tonge
Baroness Sarah Ludford
Other MPs and peers are expected to come on-board after the launch
Local authority councillors, part of the 2M, who have agreed to sign so far:
Councillor Stephen Greenhalgh, Leader LB Hammersmith & Fulham
Councillor Ray Puddifoot, Leader, LB Hillingdon
Councillor Peter Thompson, Leader, LB Hounslow
Councillor Merrick Cockell, Leader, RB Kensington & Chelsea
Councillor Serge Lourie, Leader, LB Richmond Upon Thames
Councillor Richard Stokes, Slough Borough Council
Councillor Adrian Busby, Leader, Southbucks District Council
Councillor David Burbage, Leader, RB Windsor & Maidenhead
Councillor David Williams, Leader, LB Merton
Councillor Edward Lister, Leader LB Wandsworth
Councillor Jason Stacey LB Ealing.
For further information contact:
John Stewart 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
Christine Taylor 0208 564 8345
Steve Mayner (2M group) 07860481368
Ian Wilson (National Trust) 07795 301 138
Emily Armistead (Greenpeace) 0207 865 8267