Man Blockades Heathrow Tunnel In Protest Against Runway
A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for almost half an hour at 12.45pm on Thursday, 2nd July.
The protest followed the announcement the day before that Sir Howard Davies’s Airports Commission report recommends the building of a third runway at Heathrow that would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Longford, Harmondsworth and Sipson.
Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”. The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election.
While stunned drivers looked on, Mr Keveren climbed onto the roof of the vehicle and shouted slogans including, “No Third Runway” until police arrived and negotiated with him to come down. The protestor made it clear that he was staging a peaceful protest, which he intended to end after 20 minutes. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic.
A video emerged of the first nine minutes of the protest.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgDV_mejiNg
Neil Keveren, who has a long family history in the area, decided to take personal direct action after the announcement on 1st July that Sir Howard Davies had recommended Heathrow for a third runway. This large extension to the airport would officially involve the demolition of 783 homes, according to Davies, including most of Harmondsworth and all of Longford. SHE believes that around 1,000 would have to go for the runway to be built. Ultimately, Heathrow has recognised that it may need to purchase 3,750 homes that will be severely affected by noise and pollution.
The video footage posted on YouTube shows Neil saying that he knew he would be arrested but wanted to complete his protest. Meanwhile, traffic was at a standstill on roads leading to the tunnel.
Neil Keveren wanted to reinforce the fact that this was a personal direct action protest and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group.
He said, “This was a personal decision but my actions were supported by local residents and our local MP, John McDonnell.
“We have been fighting this airport’s expansion for decades and enough is enough, the Davies recommendation was our red line.
We won’t let our communities be bullied any more or destroyed.”
A local supporter who preferred not to be named said, “I feel let down by Davies.
“He has seen the evidence, the communities it will destroy, the air and noise pollution, the carbon emissions and yet he’s ignored it all. “
“Air pollution around here already regularly breaches EU limits and the noise is so bad that our children can’t learn in school. We already suffer with an airport of this size, let alone a bigger one.”
Neil has been bailed to appear at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on Monday, 20th July at 9.30am.