Job, opportunities and sustainability – that’s what the country needs

Back Heathrow supporters in front of Royal Courts of Justice

October 17, 2019 was another huge day for the Back Heathrow campaign. Our supporters were outside the Royal Courts of Justice on what was the first day of an appeal launched by several London boroughs, environmental groups and the Mayor of London.

They were the same claimants who lost a judicial review earlier this year, when the High Court threw out their challenge to the new runway at Heathrow on all grounds – and then awarded costs of £625,000 against them.

It was a good day from a Back Heathrow point of view. We had dozens of supporters present – including GMB and Unite union reps who added their voices to the chorus of: Get on and build it!

The mood among supporters was enthusiastic and good natured, fuelled by lots of coffee and the expectation of being on the other side of the road from the anti-expansion protesters. 

It was a very busy and eventful day, with Extinction Rebellion protesters at Gatwick Airport, others provoking an ugly looking brawl at Canning Town DLR station, which dominated social media and newspapers the next day.

We believe you can have sustainable airport growth and tackle climate change too. Our message is simple: We want to see a new runway delivered with tight regulations: mitigating noise, protect air quality, cutting carbon and enshrined in law.

Likewise, the message from our friends among the trade unions at Heathrow airport is equally straight forward: Joe McGowan from Unite said: “Expansion will make a massive difference to the west London economy. We are campaigning for quality new jobs alongside tough regulations to protect our environment. At Heathrow we can have both." 

Perry Phillips GMB’s Aviation Officer added: "We know it’s in the interests of current and future GMB members to expand the airport. This is a crucial project for London and the whole UK."

Job, opportunities and sustainability. That’s what the country needs.

See the pictures from the event here.


Britain’s biggest unions and Back Heathrow say: time to get on and build Heathrow's new runway

Speaking on the eve of the Appeal Court proceedings at the Royal Courts of Justice, Back Heathrow and trade unions have sent out a message that Heathrow expansion is not a choice between the environment and jobs – we can have both.

Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director, Back Heathrow said: "Back Heathrow represents over 100,000 local people who want to see the jobs, apprenticeships and economic benefits of expansion, but not at any cost. We want to see a new runway delivered with tight regulations that will mitigate noise, protect air quality and cut carbon. That will be sealed in law.”

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The apprenticeship pathway can work for all and everyone

Back Heathrow team members attended the recent Hounslow Regeneration 2.0 Conference, skilfully and ably hosted by Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, where a range of business, political and educational stakeholders gave presentations on their roles in the future of the borough. It was fantastic to see so many people and businesses committed to making Hounslow a better place for both residents and businesses.

One of the presentations that really caught our attention was by Janet Rowson, head of Apprenticeships at the University of West London (UWL). Apprenticeships have long been one of the core pillars of the expansion promise, offering 10,000 apprenticeships to help young people locally into work.

At Back Heathrow we have often made reference to this offer as part of the wider Heathrow proposal, but what do we really know about the technicalities of what a modern apprenticeship looks like? In order to better understand this issue we listened with interest as Janet gave her presentation.

She introduced the topic by asking the audience how many of us knew that you could get a degree level qualification from an apprenticeship? Not many! Through the employer levy that was introduced in 2017, any company with a turnover of £3million or more can engage with the programme.

The employer must pay a salary, provide all the standard benefits of work and allow at least 20% time off for the apprentice to learn. If the employer is not eligible to pay the levy the apprentice is co-funded with the government.

From April 2019, for a non-levy-paying employer, the government covers 95% of the cost of training and assessing an apprentice. If an employer does pay the levy, it will also be able to transfer up to 25% of unused annual funds to other organisations.

UWL offers approximately 15 higher and degree apprenticeships starting at Level 4 intermediate to Level 7 masters level.

Across the wider UK, the number of apprenticeships starters has doubled from 20,000 to nearly 50,000 Since 2014-15. This includes a sharp increase in Level 6 and 7 apprenticeships at degree and master level.

The proximity of Heathrow means a strong relationship and the proposed new runway brings the potential for 5,000 new apprenticeship on top of the existing 5,000 already provided by the airport.

Heathrow CEO John Holland Kaye later told the conference that Heathrow airport had forged close links over decades with the local community and many Hounslow residents have had long and successful careers at the airport.

Heathrow says that to ensure sustainable, long-term employment for Heathrow’s current and future workforce it has launched a new Apprenticeships and Careers Show. It will give attendees the chance to explore future skills and apply for live vacancies and apprenticeships. It focuses on three main groups:

  • Employers offering current job opportunities and apprenticeships
  • School and college groups of Year 11, 12 and 13 students who can visit exclusively on the first day of the event to find out about their future career options
  • Active job seekers of all ages and abilities who are looking to join Heathrow immediately.

In the interests of fairness, there are other Apprenticeship schemes available in the colleges and universities across west London and the Thames Valley. However, Janet’s presentation gave us a real insight into what modern apprenticeships let you achieve and how the apprenticeship pathway can work for all and everyone.

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the apprenticeship pathway on offer at UWL, you can find out more at - https://www.uwl.ac.uk/for-business/apprenticeships


Time for Hounslow to vote for Heathrow expansion says former mayor

A former mayor of Hounslow, Ajmer Dhillon has backed residents of Hounslow who sent a strong message on Heathrow expansion to their local council last month.

It was a timely reminder from Back Heathrow supporters that support for a new runway at Heathrow airport is stronger than ever as the UK heads for an autumn general election.

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Support for Heathrow expansion remains strong in local communities


Back Heathrow – working with trade unions


New runway support gets stronger by the day

Back Heathrow Executive director, Parmjit Dhanda has reminded politicians ahead of a likely general election that their stance on Heathrow expansion matters to over 100,000 supporters of the campaign across West London and the Thames Valley.

Supporters of a new runway were attending an event in Hounslow ahead of what appears to be an inevitable autumn general election.

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Shape the vision for jobs – don’t play to an audience, Back Heathrow tells London Assembly

Responding to comments on the proposed expansion of Heathrow airport made by the London Assembly, Back Heathrow Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda said:

 “This is a serious issue that requires analysis, not lazy sloganeering. Londoners need the tens of thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships Heathrow expansion will create in the capital and they expect their politicians to help make it happen by setting strong targets on air quality and noise.

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Campaigners want expansion commitment from PM Johnson

Hillingdon residents and Back Heathrow supporters last week asked the Prime Minister to support the expansion of Heathrow airport, by showing him how much support there is for the project in his own constituency.

Handing in over 700 postcards from his constituents, which ask Mr Johnson to give his full backing to the expansion project, a delegation of Back Heathrow supporters from his constituency met with Boris' doppelganger outside the Civic Centre in Uxbridge.

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Free vote for Ealing campaign launched

Residents in Ealing are positive about Heathrow expansion and now they want their council to be positive about it as well.

Back Heathrow supporters in Ealing helped launch a campaign last week at the Bridge Hotel, Greenford, to persuade the council to have a free vote on its stance over Heathrow expansion.

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