Grim Reminder of R3 Flights Increase
Two thousand small black planes were planted near Parliament on Tuesday, 5th January as a grim reminder of the number of flights that would use Heathrow each day once a third runway is fully operational – if it is given the go-head this year.
Anti-runway campaigners gathered in Victoria Gardens at 10am to show politicians returning after the Christmas break an image to illustrate how many planes will be in the skies around Heathrow each day, an increase of around 700 flights on the current daily number.
The current cap for flights per year from Heathrow is 480,000, which was set when Terminal Five was approved. At the time, Heathrow pledged that it would not need or ask for a third runway if granted permission to build T5 for the new large aircraft. Once it was allowed a new terminal, Heathrow broke that pledge and renewed its campaign for another runway. A third runway would come with a new cap of 730,000 flights a year, although Heathrow says it could be as many as 740,000 flights.
Campaigners from areas including Chiswick, Hammersmith, Ealing and Heathrow Villages told the press of the impact this would have on their already blighted lives. Increases in noise and pollution, plus the destruction of homes and the building of new and expanded roads would force people to make significant changes to their lives.
HACAN, which is focused on noise under flightpaths, planted 500 of the planes. CHATR, a group based in Chiswick, planted a further 400 with Friends of the Earth members adding 300. The final 800 planes were pushed into the ground by members of Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) as that figure represents the approximate number of homes that would need to be destroyed in the first wave of demolition before construction starts. There is no doubt that hundreds more will quickly follow and be replaced by concrete and airport development.