New ac­tion group launched to fend off Heathrow ex­pan­sion

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Will Ack­er­mann will.ack­er­mann@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

CAM­PAIGN­ERS,politi­cians and mem­bers of the pub­lic came to­gether for the launch of a new ac­tion group against plans to ex­pand Heathrow Air­port.

More than 80 peo­ple at­tended the in­au­gu­ral Stop Heathrow Ex­pan­sion (SHE) meet­ing at St Mary’s Church, in High Street, Har­mondsworth, last Thurs­day.

Among them

was Hayes and Har­ling­ton MP John McDon­nell, who called on po­lit­i­cal par­ties to ‘come clean’ about their po­si­tions re­gard­ing the air­port’s ex­pan­sion be­fore the gen­eral elec­tion in 2015.

He also urged those af­fected by the pro­pos­als to ‘mo­bilise’ and demon­strate ‘peo­ple power’.

He said: “We are not go­ing to let this [ex­pan­sion] hap­pen. Of course we thought we had fin­ished it off last time.

“I thought my days of swing­ing the mace were over, but they have come back. The one thing we can rely on is our own power – peo­ple power – be­cause that’s how we won it last time.”

The group has been es­tab­lished by res­i­dents from Heathrow Vil­lages to unite in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions op­posed to ei­ther build­ing a third run­way at Heathrow or ex­tend­ing one of the air­port’s ex­ist­ing run­ways.

The meet­ing heard that build­ing a third run­way would mean an ex­tra 260,000 flights a year at the air­port, as well as about 750 homes be­ing de­stroyed.

In­tro­duc­ing the group, SHE chair­man Neil Kev­eren said: “Our aims are very sim­ple – to stop the ex­pan­sion of Heathrow.

“We do not want the clo­sure of Heathrow. We never have. Equally, we do not ac­cept it is a case of ‘ Heathrow must grow or die’.”

He added: “It is not the role of SHE to find an al­ter­na­tive. We are just here fight­ing for our own homes and ev­ery­thing we be­lieve in.”

Var­i­ous speak­ers de­tailed the neg­a­tive im­pacts they be­lieve any ex­pan­sion of the air­port would have, from in­creased noise and air pol­lu­tion to the de­mo­li­tion of homes, green spa­ces and his­toric build­ings.

SHE trea­surer Jus­tine Bay­ley said: “Once it’s gone, it’s gone – and we need to make sure we hold onto our her­itage.”

Also among those speak­ing was Hilling­don Coun­cil leader Coun­cil­lor Ray Pud­di­foot.

He said: “I wish you didn’t have to have SHE and it’s a pity that we have to start the fight again.”

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