Protest’s growing support
MP backs Heathrow campaigners occupying old market site
LABOUR MP John McDonnell took time away from his duties as Shadow Chancellor to support third runway protesters.
Transition Heathrow activists risk losing their homes and the Grow Heathrow community project after Lewdown Holdings Limited began legal proceedings to evict them.
Grow Heathrow project is a squatted community space on the site of a former market garden in Sipson, which grows organic fruit and veg for the community and provides a venue for projects and workshops.
Developers have submitted an application to replace it with a ‘mixed use development’ comprising of 53 residential units.
Members of Grow Heathrow went to Uxbridge County Court on Thursday, September 17, to invoke Article 11 of the Human Rights Act for the right to protest against the third runway.
Activists, supported by Hayes & Harlington MP, Mr McDonnell, who previously said the group “lifted the morale of the whole local community in the campaign against the third runway”, staged a demonstration outside the court.
Mr McDonnell handed in a statement to the court, which read: “Members of Grow Heathrow have become part of the local community, making a valuable contribution to the life of the local villages.
“Grow Heathrow is part of a fierce community resistance to Heathrow’s expansion that won’t go away easily for any government.
“I commend this group to you and hope that its members will be able to continue to remain on this site and part of our community.”
The group were given a stay of execution as the court was adjourned until the summer of 2016.
Alan Boyd, of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents’ Association, said: “The group moved onto the site and worked tirelessly, with full local support, to clean up the site and to restore it to agricultural use.
“Many tonnes polluted rubbish removed.
“A formal tenancy agreement for Transition Heathrow would be a better way forward then evicting them and this is the result that local residents would wish to see.”
Agatha Morris, a Grow Heathrow resident thinks the submitted plans are an “unnecessary overdevelopment of green belt land.”
She said: “Heathrow already hugely contributes to illegal levels of air and noise pollution, which have massive impacts on health for people living near the airport.
“Heathrow are already exceeding EU air pollution limits, with the destruction of greenbelt land, or a new runway, this is likely to increase.”
In future hearings, the defendants will make their case by pointing to evidence that the UK needs to drastically reduce carbon emissions in order to keep within the safe two degree global temperature rise.
Grow Heathrow believe that building any new runway in the UK is not compatible with reducing carbon emissions, and will make it impossible to meet legally binding commitments, as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.
n PROTEST: John McDonnell MP supports the Grow Heathrow demonstration outside Uxbridge County Court