New action group launched to fend off Heathrow expansion
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.
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.”