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.

Parliament Square

Parliament Square

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.

Shot from behind the speakers who watched from the wings

Shot from behind the speakers who watched from the wings

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.”

Zac Goldsmith warns R3 would be catastrophic for London

Zac Goldsmith warns R3 would be catastrophic for London

Sadie Khan told BBC London: “It would be madness to build a new runway. People who care about London and the health of London, who worry about the noise, who worry about the infrastructure, are united against it.”

Sadie Khan told BBC London: “It would be madness to build a new runway. People who care about London and the health of London, who worry about the noise, who worry about the infrastructure, are united against it.”

Crowd listens intently to speakers.

Crowd listens intently to speakers.

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.

Tania Mathias MP delivers a passionate speech

Tania Mathias MP delivers a passionate speech

Members of the crowd were keen to spread the word to those who couldn’t attend but were following on Twitter.

Members of the crowd were keen to spread the word to those who couldn’t attend but were following on Twitter.

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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.

Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate Caroline Pigeon

Lib Dem Mayoral Candidate
Caroline Pigeon

John Sauven , Executive Director of Greenpeace

John Sauven , Executive Director of Greenpeace

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.

Friends of the Earth lawyer Gita Parihar

Friends of the Earth lawyer Gita Parihar

Adam Afriyie MP, Conservative MP for Windsor laughs as Gyles Brandreth gives him a big (and humorous) introduction prior to his speech.

Adam Afriyie MP, Conservative MP for Windsor laughs as Gyles Brandreth gives him a big (and humorous) introduction prior to his speech.

Zac Goldsmith joins campaigners including life-long Sipson resident Sheila Taylor (84)

Zac Goldsmith joins campaigners including life-long Sipson resident Sheila Taylor (84)

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.

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