23 December 2017

For immediate use




Heathrow airport were caught up in a PR fail which left residents upset and angry, two days before Christmas, after delivering a 6-page brochure about its latest plans to expand the airport, which would mean the demolition of thousands of homes in the villages nearby (1).


The brochure, entitled “EXPANSION UPDATE”, were delivered to homes in Harmondsworth village, on the afternoon of Saturday, 23 December. Information inside included a timeline of events on the runway process if it is approved by Parliament in summer 2018, including detailed information on processes which the airport will oversee and undertake in order to build the new runway, such as a local consultation it will launch in the new year on the design of the infrastructure.


Whilst the community is blighted by the threat of Heathrow expansion on a daily basis, residents were hoping for a short break to temporarily forget these woes whilst enjoying time with family and friends throughout the festive period.


Emma Steele, a Harmondsworth resident, who was just settling down to a family meal when the information arrived through her letterbox, said: “My family and I spend all year worried that we will lose our home and community if a third runway went ahead but we were hoping for a few days of not thinking about it.

 “It is intrusive and incredibly insensitive of Heathrow to post this through our letterbox so close to Christmas. Can’t they leave us alone for a few days?

“One of my neighbours was in tears and had to be consoled after receiving yet another reminder about the fate of their home in a time that is supposed to be filled with joy and goodwill.”


The PR fail comes as the campaign group Back Heathrow, which the airport fund, were found to have sent Christmas cards addressed to ‘supporters’, despite recipients of cards never having signed up or supported their campaign. The cards rather oddly instructed recipients to “please put this card on display to remind you of our gratitude” (2).


Rob Barnstone, Campaign Coordinator of Stop Heathrow Expansion, said: “This is a dreadful decision by Heathrow to put out information to communities who would face losing their homes as a result of expansion, just two days before Christmas. It is also unnecessary, given the consultation doesn’t actually open until the 17th January.”

“Obscurely named stages described in this publication, such as “Consultation design envelopes” are unclear and just add to the bad feeling.”

“By sending out Christmas cards to ‘supporters’, who have never come close to doing so, their campaign’s claim to have '100,000+ supporters', a figure which is once again is proving to be very questionable”


Stop Heathrow Expansion is a resident-led group fighting to retain and enhance our quality of life, which will not be achieved with a third runway at Heathrow Airport.



For more information: Rob Barnstone, 07806 947050; Robert.barnstone@outlook.com