Protesters make their Heathrow feelings plane
Campaigners against third runway stage ironic celebration
DOZENS of protesters gathered on bank holiday Monday to plant 783 black planes to symbolise the number of homes that would be demolished to make way for a new runway at the village green in Harmondsworth.
A Mr Noisy book and a toy demolition truck were among the presents brought in by anti-third runway campaigners at a ‘celebration’ of Heathrow’s 70th birthday.
CAMPAIGNERS against a third runway at Heathrow held a ‘celebration’ for the airport’s 70th birthday on Bank Holiday Monday.
The Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) held the event on the High Street in Harmondsworth, which is threatened with destruction should the new runway be given to go-ahead.
At midday, 70 red ‘no third runway’ balloons were released from the green in the village, while 738 black planes were planted to symbolise the number of homes that will be demolished to make way for the runway.
There was also a tour of the village and a walk of the route of the new runway, while John McDonnell, MP for Hayes and Harlington and Shadow Chancellor, was amongst a number of attendees who gave speeches at the event.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said: “We want to show that while we are not against Heathrow airport, we want to highlight the fact that we believe that on its 70th birthday it shouldn’t grow any more because of its downsides.
“These include not only the destruction of homes but also noise over a wide area and air polution.”
Campaigners were also encouraged to bring gifts for Heathrow, whose official birthday was yesterday (Tuesday), and so far HACAN have received a Mr Noisy Mr Men book, a Matchbox digger and a blank cheque for Heathrow.
Speaking before the event, Mr Stewart added: “I’ve been given a Mr Noisy book and a blank cheque for Heathrow because the person believes that the whole thing will be so expensive that they’ll need to be given a blank cheque by the Government.
“I think everyone will bring something and if they do the next day we’ll probably go down to BAA’s headquarters which is just down the road from Harmondsworth and deliver all the gifts to them.”
n BIRTHDAY SPEAKER: John McDonnell, Hayes and Harlington MP, joined the campaigners at the 70th birthday ‘celebration’ for Heathrow on Bank Holiday Monday May 30
n BEARING GIFTS: John Stewart, chair of HACAN, said the gifts to mark Heathrow’s anniversary included a Mr Noisy Mr Man book and a Matchbox digger