Politicians Support Anti-Runway Campaign At London Rally
Top London politicians lined up to speak at the No Third Runway rally in Parliament Square on Saturday, 10th October.
Anti-noise group, HACAN, were credited with the organisation of the event but Mayoral candidate Zac Goldsmith MP was key to the formation of a coalition against Heathrow expansion that supported the event. The coalition included campaign groups, councils and MPs, many of whom were invited to speak briefly to the crowd.
Mayoral candidates from all the major parties spoke at the rally. It was clear that the political parties were aware of the depth of feeling against a third runway at Heathrow when they selected their candidates.
Zac told the crowd: “We know that our air pollution problems in London would be unsolvable if we expand Heathrow. And we know it requires the demolition of more than 1,000 homes. It is a catastrophic price to pay.”
Conservative Tania Mathias MP gained the Twickenham seat from Vince Cable at the last election and showed she is just as passionate about fighting expansion at Heathrow. A rousing speech was well received and MC Gyles Brandreth commented on her delivery, which drew an enthusiastic response.
Sian Berry made the point that the Green Party are not just opposed to expansion at Heathrow, its slogan is “No New Runways”. SHE committee member Christine Taylor was invited to speak at the Green Party event in London in September that looked at the impact of airport expansion on Climate Change.
UKIP has been firmly opposed to Heathrow expansion for years but Peter Whittle introduced controversy by mentioning the possibility of expansion at Gatwick. It was evident that most of those campaigning against expansion at Heathrow would not want to inflict airport expansion on other areas.
Greenpeace was extremely supportive during the previous No Third Runway campaign and has shown how effective the charity can be in highlighting the environmental impact.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington and long-standing anti-Heathrow expansion campaigner, was the final speaker to address the crowd and gave the government something to think about. He said: “In my constituency at the moment, people are literally dying. They’re dying because the air has already been poisoned by the aviation industry.”
If the government supports Heathrow expansion there was no doubt that public feeling will be strong to support more active protests, with the likely return of Climate Camp and direct action to raise awareness of the reasons why another Heathrow runway must never be built.