70 years of Heathrow – now fully grown

Anti-runway campaigner and Heathrow tunnel protestor Neil Keveren led the singing of “Happy Birthday dear Heathrow – now you’re fully grown” at an event to mark the 70th anniversary of commercial flights from Heathrow Airport.

Residents and campaigners had gathered outside the historic Five Bells pub in Harmondsworth on Bank Holiday Monday, 30th May, to make the point that while Heathrow will be making the most of the opportunity to publicise its operations and desire to expand, residents consider that the airport has reached its maximum size and has to address all the negatives it currently imposes on people over a wide area.

70 years putting residents under threat, with increasing noise and pollution for people over a vast area, is nothing to celebrate.

John Stewart from HACAN introduced speakers, who talked about the serious issues but also added some humour.

 

London Assembly Member David Kurten (UKIP) with John Stewart in foreground

London Assembly Member David Kurten (UKIP) with John Stewart in foreground

Neil Keveren demonstrated a present he’d made for Heathrow, which has spent millions on Adobe huts so that primary school children can have shelter from noise when venturing “outside”. His new idea was the Adobe Hat! With tongue in cheek, he provided a hilarious commentary as his daughter demonstrated the fetching invention.

Visibility is a slight problem but it adds a new dimension to ball games

Visibility is a slight problem but it adds a new dimension to ball games

Heathrow wants the British Tax Payer to cough up for R3 infrastructure – but here’s a cheque for zero pounds.  

Heathrow wants the British Tax Payer to cough up for R3 infrastructure – but here’s a cheque for zero pounds.

 

Jane Taylor, Chair of HASRA, explained that she was returning the empty promises that Heathrow had given residents.

Jane Taylor, Chair of HASRA, explained that she was returning the empty promises that Heathrow had given residents.

Harmondsworth resident Armelle brought a photo of her late husband Tommy, who was a World War II hero. He died shortly after the Airports Commission report was published. He had hoped that his country would stop considering Heathrow expansion so that his wife could live peacefully in the home they shared for 46 years

Harmondsworth resident Armelle brought a photo of her late husband Tommy, who was a World War II hero. He died shortly after the Airports Commission report was published. He had hoped that his country would stop considering Heathrow expansion so that his wife could live peacefully in the home they shared for 46 years

A slice of inedible cake – to perfectly complement the toxic air created by Heathrow. The best before date now reads “1946” as the hamlet of Heathrow was certainly better before it was concreted over to make a civil airport

A slice of inedible cake – to perfectly complement the toxic air created by Heathrow. The best before date now reads “1946” as the hamlet of Heathrow was certainly better before it was concreted over to make a civil airport

As well as David Kurten and Peter Whittle, UKIP members of the GLA, Cllr Jan Sweeting (Lab) came to support

As well as David Kurten and Peter Whittle, UKIP members of the GLA, Cllr Jan Sweeting (Lab) came to support

After more presents, and a photo with the 70 birthday balloons, 783 planes were planted on the Green (one for each home earmarked for the first phase of demolition).

Each tiny plane represents a household forced to make way for bulldozers

Each tiny plane represents a household forced to make way for bulldozers

Campaigners from other groups fighting Heathrow expansion cut the cakes

Campaigners from other groups fighting Heathrow expansion cut the cakes

Tasty cake with a less-than-sweet message

Tasty cake with a less-than-sweet message

Formation of black aircraft on Harmondsworth village green

Formation of black aircraft on Harmondsworth village green

As grey clouds gather there’s time to contemplate what would be lost if Heathrow were given the go-ahead to build a third runway

As grey clouds gather there’s time to contemplate what would be lost if Heathrow were given the go-ahead to build a third runway

While everyone went upstairs at the Five Bells for a bite to eat and birthday cake, there was time to photograph the sea of black planes. 

The British government and Heathrow investors should remember that the airport has pushed for a third runway since 1946 but villagers have won every battle.