FIGHTING TALK AT SHE AGM
13 November 2017
FIGHTING TALK AS RUNWAY CAMPAIGN GEARS UP FOR BIG YEAR
Campaigners and residents packed out St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Friday evening, to hear plans for the fight against a third runway at Heathrow Airport in what will be a critical year for the campaign, at the local campaign group Stop Heathrow Expansion’s AGM (1).
Local MP John McDonnell, a long-term fighter of the proposal, stressed that month-by-month more evidence is coming to light that the 3rd runway won’t ever be able to see the light of day, citing fresh evidence from the Government’s new consultation on Heathrow expansion which shows that Heathrow is no longer the best option for long-term benefits to the UK economy (2). As well as the substantially reduced economic benefits, Mr McDonnell also highlighted the cost of the project to taxpayers across the UK – £17bn – at a time when other regions outside of London are facing a serious lack of investment in infrastructure projects.
With a parliamentary vote expected on Heathrow expansion by next summer, Mr McDonnell acknowledged that 2018 will be a critical year for the campaign, which could see the Government being taken to court over the plans and expected the runway never to be built.
John McDonnell MP for Hayes & Harlington, said: “As a local community we are ready and prepared for this critical stage in the campaign to defeat this threat to our area. Our aim is to end the blight from Heathrow expansion once and for all. I am confident we can win.”
The meeting also heard from the Aviation Environment Federation, the aviation NGO concerned with environmental impacts of the third runway, who stated that the Government’s case for expanding Heathrow is a huge gamble when it takes into account air quality targets when any runway could open.
Cait Hewitt, the organisation’s deputy director, expressed significant concern that the Government have failed to consider, in any of its work, the impacts to local air quality during the construction phase of the project, prompting a strong reaction from local residents, who wanted to know the risk to their health that the construction of a third runway would pose.
Cait Hewitt, Deputy Director of the Aviation Environment Federation, said: “The Government is taking a huge gamble on air quality in order to build a third runway. Their own recent forecasts show that Heathrow expansion is at “high risk” of breaching legal targets.
“Impacts on air quality whilst constructing a 3rd runway don’t appear to have been accounted for. None of the modelling we’ve seen has assessed what could have a major impact on the health of local people.”
Jackie Clark, who was re-elected Chair of Stop Heathrow Expansion, for the coming year, said: “2018 will be a big year for our campaign, as we enter a critical phase to save our area from bulldozers.
“We, alongside a large number of local residents, are deeply concerned not only with the risk a third runway poses to our area, but also the lack of information on impacts residents in surrounding areas will face to their health during the time a third runway would be constructed. We need to know this information now.”
Notes for editors:
(1) Stop Heathrow Expansion is a community campaign group, formed by residents in 2014 to fight plans for Heathrow expansion. It is based in the villages around Heathrow that would face demolition if a third runway were ever built.
Photo attached more available on request.
(2) See DfT Updated Appraisal Report, p. 44 https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/653879/updated-appraisal-report-airport-capacity-in-the-south-east.pdf