Protest’s grow­ing sup­port

MP backs Heathrow cam­paign­ers oc­cu­py­ing old mar­ket site

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS - By Kather­ine Cle­men­tine

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.

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n PROTEST: John McDon­nell MP sup­ports the Grow Heathrow demon­stra­tion out­side Uxbridge County Court

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