Day 16 - Durham
Whilst in Durham on 19th April, Neil and Ray were invited to meet John Magill of the Durham Greenpeace group and Pippa Cameron of the People and People group at Durham university.
John has a specific interest in airport expansion, as he had previously stood as an anti expansion candidate in Luton. The conversation covered a range of issues, including the difficulties of getting the real truth in the public domain, while there is so much propaganda being put out to the media by those with vested interests.
Neil, John and Pippa talked about Heathrow's history of not keeping its promises, on issues like numbers of jobs and restricting future expansion. Between them they summed up the so called mitigation measures proposed by Heathrow in a few short words: Seal the population up in ventilated boxes; educate our children in sealed up boxes; shave a decibel off here and there by steeper climbs and flight path tweaks; drop a couple of scheduled night flights and leave the 16 unscheduled ones coming in at all hours as usual.
Pity politicians don't manage to see the problems so clearly.
Pippa from People and Planet, commented that their group in Durham - part of the national organisation with student groups at universities around the UK - have been battling for fossil fuel divestment. Their campaign has been going on for over a year, and the importance of divesting from fossil fuels is being seriously considered by the university. Aviation is, and will remain, a huge user of fossil fuels.
Pippa is also a member of Transition Durham, which has similar long term aims. They contribute to the development of a low-carbon vision for Durham and the surrounding area, and are updating their strategy plan with education on a range of topics. The carbon problems, and the social problems, caused by aviation expansion are not directly of day to day concern for Durham, but important in the wider challenge of sustainability for the UK.
Pippa and John wished Neil all the best for the rest of his walk. " What you're
doing is amazing and inspiring. The world needs more people like you!"