Supporters ask Ruth Cadbury MP to vote yes on Heathrow tonight

First published 25/06/18

 

Back Heathrow and supporters of the Heathrow expansion today handed over 500 letters to Ruth Cadbury MP's office asking her to vote yes when Parliament debates the third runway decision this evening.

Back Heathrow is a community campaign with 100,000 registered supporters which has been rallying communities to back a third runway and the thousands of jobs and economic benefits it will bring.

Back Heathrow supporter Fritz Pandalitschka handing in over 500 letters to Ruth Cadbury's office today.

Supporter Fritz Pandalitschka says: "I know Ruth Cadbury is staunchly opposed to a new runway. But I wanted to be here today as a representative of thousands of members of the silent majority of Brentford and Isleworth residents who support the project. I hope Ruth will respect us and the democratic views of Parliament after the vote."

Heathrow expansion will generate 77,000 local jobs and 5,000 new local apprenticeships. The project is backed by both the CBI and the TUC.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Back Heathrow congratulates MPs on getting on with Heathrow vote

First published 21/06/18

 

Back Heathrow Executive Director Parmjit Dhanda says confirmation that Parliament will vote on the Heathrow expansion on Monday has been a long time coming.

Back Heathrow is a community campaign with 100,000 registered supporters which has been rallying communities to back a third runway and the thousands of jobs and economic benefits it will bring.

Mr Dhanda said: “We haven’t built a new runway in London or the South-East since the Second World War. By 2025, the Chinese will build 136 new airports.

“This has been 10 years in the making and it is fantastic for all those involved to finally get the certainty needed to get on with this crucial infrastructure project.

“A new runway at Heathrow represents an opportunity to create 180,000 unionised jobs across the country and an opportunity to boost the UK's economy at an uncertain time. It is high time we got on with it, let’s secure the benefits this project will bring.”


Thousands of letters pouring in urging MPs to vote ‘yes’ on Heathrow expansion

First published on 20/06/18

 

Thousands of supporters are writing to their local MPs urging them to vote in favour of Heathrow expansion and the jobs and economic benefits it will bring as Parliament prepares to vote.

An expanded Heathrow is a crucial infrastructure project that will create 180,000 jobs nationwide and 10,000 apprenticeships. It will also provide new domestic connections that will bring £187 billion worth of economic benefits.

As the vote nears, community campaign group Back Heathrow has been appealing to people across local communities to write and urge their MPs to vote in favour of expansion and they have responded in the thousands.

Slough hand in June 18

This week the group delivered thousands of letters it had received from local people in support of expansion to several MPs at Westminster including to Seema Malhotra, Virenda Sharma, Tan Dhesi, Steve Pound and Kwasi Kwarteng.

Parmjit Dhanda, Back Heathrow Executive Director, said: “With the vote for Heathrow expansion imminent, this is a critical moment in the battle to secure the benefits that a new runway will generate.

“More than 10,000 supporters have written in already and the mail bag of returns continues to pour in each day.

 “This is a sign of the strength and support for this project in West London and the Thames Valley. In constituencies like Slough, and Feltham and Heston, I am certain we will top 1000 responses urging MPs to back Heathrow.”


A rebuttal to the Telegraph from Parmjit Dhanda

On Sunday (9th of June 2018) the Telegraph ran an article titled Clearance for Heathrow's third runway is a double blow (paywall) - by Liam Halligan.

Below is our Director, Parmjit, clearing up some of the points discussed.

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to point out several inaccuracies in your recently published article, ‘Clearance for Heathrow’s third runway is a double blow’.

You argue that adding another 250,000 flights a year will “make a mockery of our anti-pollution laws”. The independent Airports Commission and the Department for Transport concluded that a third runway at Heathrow can be delivered in accordance with legal obligations on air quality. Heathrow has put in place a triple-lock guarantee on air quality to bind itself to these obligations, and at Back Heathrow we expect that strong commitments will also be tied in to the detailed planning consent (the next stage in the process after a Parliamentary vote).

You mention that Heathrow should give up slots for leisure routes in favour of links to “far-flung business hotspots”. Hub airports work because of the right mix of leisure passengers, business passengers, and cargo. It’s also worth remembering that destinations are selected by airlines and not airports. In this case Heathrow has a good mix of businesses that have grown around the airport and a resident community that like to use it for holidays too.

You cite Gatwick’s financing of ‘major improvements’ and say it’s therefore ‘deeply perverse’ to expand Heathrow.  Heathrow has invested over £11 billion this past decade – that’s private money that has created thousands of jobs for the local community, 76,000 people work on the site. It’s a success story that has led to Heathrow winning awards for having the best terminal in the world and has seen the airport named as the best in Western Europe.

You refer to the “astonishing” £18 billion cost of expansion. Heathrow’s latest estimate for its proposal is £14 billion. This means £14 billion worth of private investment in the UK – creating new local opportunities for work and businesses. That’s part of the reason that both the TUC and the CBI back the project.

You rightly point out that Britain’s regions need greater connectivity. A strong hub airport boosts rather than hinders other UK airports, by filling gaps in the network and connecting other regions to travel and trade with the world. That’s why over 40 airports across the UK - from Aberdeen and Belfast to Newcastle and Liverpool, support Heathrow expansion.

Finally, you claim that since the Government’s decision to back expansion in December 2016, “no progress” has been made. I agree that progress is slow in this country for major infrastructure projects. But the government has held two consultations on the draft National Policy Statement to hear a range of views, and last week they tabled the final NPS on Heathrow expansion and there has also been another raft of public consultation. If we don’t move forward with Heathrow now, the alternative will be to do nothing, as the Secretary of State has said quite clearly, there is no Plan B.

Heathrow expansion is a crucial national project which is backed by over 100,000 local residents. While it is right and to be expected that this major project should be debated, it’s important that the correct and most up to date information is used for this discussion.

 

Kind regards,

Parmjit Dhanda

Executive Director, Back Heathrow


“Time for Parties to Come Together in National Interest” says Back Heathrow

Back Heathrow supporters dressed as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn on parliament square

The government and opposition parties should put party political squabbling to one side to help deliver the world’s biggest privately funded infrastructure project, says Back Heathrow.

Back Heathrow is a community group rooted in west London with over 100,000 supporters of a new runway at Heathrow Airport.

At an event in Parliament Square today, Back Heathrow campaign activists dressed as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn congregated in front of giant poster of the House of Commons, replete with a runway bridging both sides of the political divide.

The event was attended by MPs from all sides of the House and by Back Heathrow’s Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda.

Parmjit said: “This is a project that the Labour Party has backed under two Prime Ministers, now it has the support of a Conservative Prime Minister, the SNP, the DUP and over 100 Labour MPs.

So it is crucial that MPs are not whipped to vote against this as part of a political game. That kind of behaviour has held back the creation of 180,000 jobs and billions in economic benefits for decades. Its time for all parties to come together, cut out the squabbling and do what’s right for our country.”

MPs from across the political divide supported the event, asked why they support Heathrow expansion:

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay

It’s about what is right for our country in terms of growing our economy and international trade. Local businesses in the South West see the benefit of a direct link to Heathrow, both in being able to export as well as enabling us to bring tourists in with a direct link to and from Heathrow.”

Gavin Shuker MP for Luton South

It’s in the national interest to get Heathrow working, and working properly. I represent an airport constituency and in the South East the demand is massive. It’s the same for the whole country, so Parliament needs to get on and back Heathrow.”


Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn United for Heathrow New Runway

When Chris Grayling MP gave the expansion of Heathrow Government backing last Tuesday, it was the campaign’s biggest milestone to date. It seemed like the battle was almost over – but far from it. There is still a tremendous amount of work to do, and that’s why Back Heathrow supporters travelled to Parliament Square this week to encourage MPs to vote in favour of Heathrow expansion later this month.

Sporting Back Heathrow bright yellow t-shirts, supporters stood either side of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn (volunteers in masks, not the actual politicians!) to symbolise the need for cross-party unity for a new runway at Heathrow airport, which will boost the UK’s economy and provide thousands of jobs at a time of economic uncertainty.

Back Heathrow supporters stand either side of the pretend leaders on Parliament Square.

MPs Steve Double (Conservative, Newquay), Gavin Shuker (Labour, Luton South) and Jim Fitzpatrick (Labour, Poplar and Limehouse) also came along to show their support. All three posed with May and Corbyn in front of the House of Commons background.

Gavin Shuker MP said, “It’s in the national interest to get Heathrow working, and working properly. I represent an airport constituency and we know the demand is massive. In the South East the demand is massive and it’s the same for the whole country, so Parliament needs to get on and back Heathrow.”

Back Heathrow has been campaigning for a new runway for five years now, and finally, we have got to this crucial moment: a Parliamentary vote has been tabled on expansion. Now is the time for decisive action, now is the time for MPs to do what is right for the UK and vote for expansion at Heathrow.


"London MP's should back Heathrow" - UNITE the Union

UNITE the Union Members, Peter Kavanagh and our Director Parmjit

Members of the pro-expansion group Back Heathrow have joined forces with the UNITE union in calling on the Government to end the delay and get on with building a new runway.

Back Heathrow, a community campaign with 100,000 registered supporters predominantly residing in the communities around Heathrow, and UNITE, Britain’s biggest Trade Union, launched a new advertising campaign highlighting the new high-quality, high-skilled jobs and apprenticeships that will come from Heathrow expansion.

A new Heathrow runway will create up to 77,000 new local jobs and 5,000 new apprenticeships, as well as other economic benefits such as increased investment, better infrastructure and new trade routes.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has this week announced that the Government will hold a parliamentary vote on Heathrow expansion within the next few weeks.  

Peter Kavanagh, UNITE Regional Secretary for London, and the East of England, said: “Politicians can’t keep kicking the can down the road over a decision on Heathrow expansion – it’s time to make a positive decision in favour of a new runway.

Working people in west London across the capital and right across the country stand to benefit from Heathrow expansion. They have been waiting far too long for Theresa May and Chris Grayling to put this project to a vote in the House of Commons and secure the quality, skilled jobs and opportunities that we desperately need.

I urge London’s MPs to back local jobs for working people, and back this in a vote in Parliament”.

Back Heathrow’s Executive Director Parmjit Dhanda said: “I’m delighted that UNITE is giving such strong backing to the campaign to expand Heathrow and calling for MPs to vote to approve this vital project.

Unite has a proud history of fighting for quality jobs, something Back Heathrow is delighted to support.

I am confident by combining the strength of our 100,000 local supporters with the might of a union like Unite our campaign can succeed


GMB Union and Back Heathrow say “No More Dithering”

Tim Roche (GMB General Secretary) pictured here with Parmjit Dhanda (Executive Director of Back Heathrow) and GMB members at a reception at the National Conference in Brighton.

Tim Roache (GMB General Secretary) pictured here with Parmjit Dhanda (Executive Director of Back Heathrow) and GMB members at a reception at the National Conference in Brighton.

Members of the pro-expansion group Back Heathrow have joined forces with the GMB trade union in calling on the Government to end the delay and get on with building a new runway.

Back Heathrow, a community campaign with 100,000 registered supporters predominantly residing in the communities around Heathrow, joined the GMB as it held its annual Congress in Brighton.

Heathrow expansion will create tens of thousands of new high-quality, high-skilled jobs and apprenticeships, as well as other economic benefits such as increased investment, better infrastructure and new trade routes.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has last week announced that the Government will hold a parliamentary vote on Heathrow expansion within the next few weeks.  

Back Heathrow’s Executive Director Parmjit Dhanda said: "It was great to be at the GMB's National Conference working alongside Tim Roache, the General Secretary of one of the most important trade unions in the UK and jointly backing the new runway proposals. Back Heathrow and the GMB share the same goals of new jobs and apprenticeships to boost the living standards of working people in west London, the Thames Valley and indeed across the country. The vote on expansion is a chance in a lifetime to create 180,000 new jobs."

Mick Rix, GMB National Officer said: “The time for politicians dithering and delaying on Heathrow is over. This long-awaited vote is crunch time for our members across the country who stand to benefit from Heathrow expansion.

“We’ve been waiting long enough for this Government to pull itself together and to put this plan to MPs and secure the future of the airport and the jobs it can and will support.”


Net Gains for Backing Heathrow

Last week’s local elections ended up being judged a score-draw by many political commentators but for anti-Heathrow councils it was a bad night.

Richmond and Wandsworth councils have been part of a group that has spent around £1 million of taxpayers’ money campaigning against Heathrow expansion over the last few years. Whilst locally Heathrow expansion may not have been a big issue at this election, residents are showing clear signs of tiring of their representatives using taxpayers’ money to pursue their anti-growth agenda - when they could be spending the money on vital local services.  

In Richmond the Conservative council has made a virtue of going against their national party and opposing Heathrow expansion. They lost a total of 28 seats and with it control of the council. The Wandsworth Conservatives did hold the borough, but they lost eight seats.

These results show that outright opposition to new jobs, apprenticeships and investment was not rewarded on election night.   

The results showed that fighting a campaign against the provider of so many local jobs is no longer a required position for a prospective west London politician to get elected or re-elected. In fact, the opposite may be true with anti-expansionism showing signs of being an electoral turnoff.

We’ve already seen this trend at last year’s general election when the pro-expansion Stephen Pound, Virendra Sharma and Kwasi Kwarteng were all comfortably re-elected to Parliament with big majorities. Last week we also saw setbacks for Labour in Hillingdon  and the Conservatives in Hounslow who both fought vehemently anti-Heathrow expansion campaigns.  

Local politicians need to learn the lessons from these elections and respond accordingly. Polling consistently shows that residents in local boroughs back expansion. The evidence suggests that Heathrow expansion is now more likely to be a positive rather than a detriment in election campaigns. That's something that all parties need to take heed of when they campaign in an area with over 100,000 supporters of a new runway. 


Scrutiny brings out the best in Heathrow’s expansion plans

Today the Transport Select Committee launched its 160-page report on its scrutiny of the plans for Heathrow expansion. I’ve read it. And if you get the chance to do so you’ll probably come to the same clear conclusions I have.

The Select Committee, chaired by Lilian Greenwood (below), believes that aviation expansion is important for our country and it also believes that the north-west runway at Heathrow is the right place to put it. The Committee also makes a series of recommendations that it feels would make the scheme better and reduce any likelihood of a legal challenge to it. That’s a Select Committee doing its job and doing it well.

The Secretary of State Chris Grayling (above) has been around for a while and we’re confident that he will see the report for what it is – a good piece of analysis that is supportive of the country’s need to expand Heathrow. So much so, that on Radio 4 this morning he could not have been clearer. He said that once the Committee’s report has been considered, he will bring it back to Parliament - as originally scheduled before the Summer recess, possibly in June.

There is excellent cross-party support for expansion at Heathrow – our event with Labour MPs and the Unite trade union (below) showed that the numbers really do stack up on the Labour benches. That’s before we add the support of parties like the SNP and the DUP. We also welcome the fact the Select Committee has been able to marry up its support for Heathrow with real recommendations to ensure that local people will see the environmental benefits of the project.

Over the years we have seen scrutiny and debate improve this project – whether it’s been the pledge to increase respite at night or the crucial commitment to write in to law the environmental regulations on clean air that must be met before additional capacity at the airport is released.

Today we have reached a key milestone, with a vote on the outline planning permission now within touching distance. I’m confident that MPs will ensure that hurdle is cleared, and we will then move to a period of even greater scrutiny before a detailed planning application is put in and considered. We welcome that scrutiny too because we want the best possible scheme.

But crucially, we want to see it within a timeframe that sees the UK benefit from 180,000 new jobs, 10,000 apprenticeships and a much-needed boost to our country’s economy.

Thankfully, after this report and the government’s response to it, we can be confident that the timetable is still on track.

Parmjit Dhanda

Back Heathrow Executive Director