High-quality jobs for the long haul

 

By Mike Appleton

High-quality jobs for the long haul

There is a debate at the forefront of politics this week. A debate that will affect the UK for generations to come and will have far reaching consequences for us all.

We are of course referring to the future of Heathrow – is there something else going on today?

Last week Mayor of London Boris Johnson was selected as a parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the next general election. He is 1/50 on to win the seat which has an 11,000 Conservative majority and contains a large number of Heathrow workers.

You’ll no doubt recall the Mayor using his office – and taxpayers’ cash – during the past five years to push for the closure of Heathrow, which would cost the jobs of thousands of west London residents. Despite back-pedalling furiously to gain selection in Uxbridge, he has still refused to rule out resuscitating his plans for a Thames Estuary Airport.

Mr Johnson’s ambitions know no bounds and this makes him dangerous. Yet despite his best efforts, there is a more powerful force on our side.When it comes to Heathrow expansion, politicians and passengers across Britain now stand side-by-side with thousands of businesses and unions representing millions of workers. The vast majority want the UK's hub airport to grow and succeed. Happily, the majority of local residents agree with them, according to regular independent polls and our own fantastic supporter base.

In a sharp contrast to Boris Johnson’s clumsy attempts to put local people out of work, the owners of Heathrow Airport have just announced a series of pledges that will deliver jobs, skills and economic growth to local communities.  

Heathrow’s plan could change the economic outlook of this local area forever, and for the better. Not only will the airport connect the UK to the emerging economies around the world, Heathrow has also promised to ensure that tens of thousands of new jobs will be created.

Firstly, the airport has promised to create 50,000 jobs in the local area if expansion goes ahead. These jobs have the potential to reduce unemployment by half in the five boroughs immediately surrounding Heathrow. Amazingly, the airport has also said it could end youth unemployment in the same boroughs through the creation of 10,000 apprenticeships.

The apprenticeships at the airport will be very welcome for many local people. Part of the attraction is that apprentices earn and learn at the same time, picking up skills and qualifications that will be used throughout a person’s career and not just for a six- month contract. Guaranteeing jobs for the future will also allow other businesses, shops and services in the town centres around the airport to boost their income over the years. It will also allow our local councils to plan for better services on the taxes that they can be sure of receiving.

If you know someone who will be looking for work in the future, this plan may be for you. These pledges will build on the strength and success of Heathrow as a place of high skilled, high quality employment for generations to come. 

The Mayor’s plans to close Heathrow showed us what we could have lost. This remarkable series of pledges from the airport’s owners demonstrates what local communities could gain.

So, spread the good news and make sure everyone you know goes to www.backheathrow.org/pledge and signs up to support our campaign. If you have already done this, then thank you!


Boris Island v Heathrow: We’ve won a game but we need to win the set and match

 By Rob Gray,

Thank you! This week Back Heathrow's supporters secured a major victory for west London and the Thames Valley. The Mayor of London’s plans to close Heathrow and replace it with housing have now finally been sunk. We all knew that an airport in the Thames Estuary would be catastrophic for this area and the thousands of local residents who would have lost their jobs.

In his decision, the Chairman of the Airports Commission (the body that will make the decision on where new runways should go) Sir Howard Davies said “the closure of Heathrow Airport would be expected to have a significant negative economic impact on the surrounding local area”.

That vital fact was one of the powerful trump cards that convinced Sir Howard to say ‘no’ to Boris Johnson and push his barmy idea off the table. It was thanks to the support for our campaign that this argument won through.

Sadly this decision does not mean that the Mayor will give up or go away. In fact he intends to stand for Parliament in Uxbridge and South Ruislip, right on Heathrow’s doorstep. If successful, you can bet he will use this position to peddle the myth that Heathrow expansion has no local support.

We know that there are already more than 35,000 reasons why this isn’t true.

What the Mayor’s belligerence shows is that this fight is far from over. We’ve dodged a bullet, but Heathrow remains in serious danger of suffering a slow death by decline. As any business owner will tell you, if a business isn’t growing it is stagnating. That’s why Heathrow needs to grow to bring incredible economic and social benefits to our communities, securing more local jobs in the process.

This is half time in the airports debate, and there is much more to do. The Airports Commission have said ‘no’ to Boris Johnson, but we must convince them to say ‘yes’ to Heathrow.

We know that a bigger and better Heathrow is politically deliverable. The airport’s opponents will try to claim that thousands of local supporters don’t exist. Together, over the coming months, we intend to show them how many local residents want Heathrow to succeed.


Act now to stop bully boy council

By Rob Gray

Last week Hillingdon Council took the extraordinary decision to ban our family fun day which was due to take place on 6 September at a local school. We were shocked that a democratic authority in Britain today would feel so threatened by ordinary members of the public enjoying a day out with their families that they felt the need to use their legal powers to ban the event.

Despite this unnecessary decision by the Council, we have been touched by the many supporters who have contacted us to send their kind words, but also to express their anger at this move. What is becoming clear is that Hillingdon Council’s actions have backfired because far from gaining support from residents, their heavy-handed response has shown that their opposition to Heathrow does not have the support of thousands of people in Hillingdon.

Hillingdon Council often claims to have a democratic mandate for their opposition to a bright future at Heathrow, but it is clear that anyone who tries to challenge this assumption will find the council using its legal muscle. There is a word for people using political power to stamp out the activities of those you disagree with: censorship. If this was happening in another debate in another part of the world, you might expect protest and condemnation, yet here is a council attempting to prevent its own citizens from expressing their own views.

The Council’s draconian ban came days before its favourite politician, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, declared that he would stand to become an MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, a short bus ride from Heathrow. Boris wants to close the airport and remains a good friend of Hillingdon’s Dear Leader Ray Puddifoot. Hillingdon’s disgraceful attitude towards its biggest employer is about to get worse.

Back Heathrow’s supporters and all Hillingdon residents have a right to ask: what is Councillor Puddifoot so scared of? What was it about the prospect of face-painted children on a bouncy castle that he found so intimidating that he felt the need to ban the event? Perhaps he thought that the animals in the petting zoo would be the most convincing argument yet for better hub connectivity?

It is clear that the real issue is the Council knew that hundreds of ordinary people coming together to enjoy themselves would reveal an inconvenient truth. For years Heathrow’s opponents have spread the myth that the debate was simply ‘big business against local people’. This event would have shown once and for all that this isn’t true, and it never was.

The terms of this debate are changing, and the bully boy tactics show the desperation that Heathrow’s opponents are reduced to.  The good news is that we don’t have to stand for it! You can take action:

What you can do

Show bully boy councils that we will not be pushed around. Please ask a friend, colleague or neighbour to sign up. Tell them why you support the campaign and let them know how they can show their support here: www.backheathrow.org/pledge

The future of Heathrow is an issue of national importance, but it will take the support of local people to stand up for it.


A world of opportunity beneath your feet

By Mike Appleton

One thing we occasionally hear from the people who oppose Heathrow’s growth is ‘I don’t use Heathrow’. Whilst this is obviously intended to give the impression that they don’t feel they receive any of the benefits of Heathrow, it is almost always completely untrue.

Of course it is perfectly possible that someone might not physically go to the airport and get on an aircraft to meet with clients or to go on holiday, but to say that you don’t use the airport is simply not the case.

Many people understand that much of our fresh produce like fruit and vegetables comes from warmer climes, but you’d be surprised at the key role that Heathrow plays in keeping the economy moving, and the vital role it plays in the lives of those in need.

Pharmaceutical companies use Heathrow to send vital drugs and vaccines around the world. In 2012 one airline alone sent 31 million vials of vaccines through Heathrow, with the UK exporting £2 billion of their vital products through the airport. Pharmaceuticals are typical of the small, valuable and urgently needed cargo that is shipped by air.

Nothing can be more urgent than cargo that can save lives. Whether it is human organs on their way to save lives or aid to disaster hit areas, air freight is the only way to get vital cargo to where it is needed on time.

Yet despite this, cargo planes are pretty rare at Heathrow. Only a small number of routes operate as cargo flights to and from the airport. The majority of freight to and from Heathrow doesn’t travel in dedicated cargo flights, instead it flies under our feet. The millions of people who rely on this ‘belly hold’ freight value Heathrow for the same reason that passengers do, the network of routes that serve the hub airport.

Getting HIV drugs from Nairobi to Newcastle or from Aberdeen to Addis Adaba requires a hub airport to make the journey viable. The day to day deliveries to provide us with the produce that we consume and the products we rely on to go about our daily lives rely on the hub model to make these deliveries cost effective. It is only by funnelling traffic, passengers and freight through one central point that makes it possible to connect many global destinations that can’t sustain a single point to point connection.

Gatwick is not a hub airport. It relies on holiday makers and low-cost airlines for the majority of its passengers. With very few exceptions, low cost operators focus on providing passengers with cheap flights for holidays, not business or manufacturing destinations. For this reason, Gatwick’s operators do not put as much focus on their freight operations. Put simply: Gatwick doesn’t do freight. In 2012 Heathrow processed 1.5 million tonnes of freight through the airport compared to 0.1 million tonnes at Gatwick. Even Stansted processed more freight that Gatwick, although this is mainly through dedicated operations to major cargo centres.

Expansion at Gatwick without growth at Heathrow will only serve to make the UK less well connected for both passengers and the freight under their feet. Gatwick is a great airport to get to Malaga or Majorca, but it can’t help the UK to get machine parts from Leeds to Lahore.

People often don’t realise that air freight is vital to the UK economy: it accounts for around 40% of the UK’s exports and imports, worth around £400 billion per year. Heathrow is the lynch-pin in the UK’s air freight industry with a phenomenal 86% of UK air freight passing through the airport.

A logistics manager for a major pharmaceutical manufacturer summed up the problem when he told the Freight Transport Association, “We need Heathrow and we need it to be a primary hub. It is essential that it receives investment for a new runway because we will start to lose airlines and services to other countries where the hub airports are getting investment and slots are not under so much pressure.”

DHL, ASDA and Ford are just three of the many companies supplying services to manufacturers and UK residents that have expressed concerns about the capabilities of Heathrow given the current capacity squeeze. All understand the value of a successful hub airport to their business models and to the UK economy.

The Heathrow debate is often viewed through the lens of west London or the aviation industry. Looking at the enormous positive impact that Heathrow has on millions of lives every day shows that the fight for Heathrow’s future is far from regional. This is a national issue of national importance, but it will take local people to fight for it.


Hot air but no answers from Heathrow’s opponents

Hot air but no answers from Heathrow’s opponents

By Mike Appleton

It was shocking but not entirely surprising to read last week that Greenpeace, an environmental group that urges us to stop flying, had been paying for one of its executives to commute by plane. More shocking was that Greenpeace’s UK director John Sauven refused to condemn this hypocrisy. As is often the case with anti-aviation protestors, it’s one rule for them and one for the rest of us.

The truth is that Greenpeace, like the rest of us, rely on air travel for work and leisure. Conference calls and virtual meetings will only take you so far; even Greenpeace have to go and meet their clients or colleagues eventually.

The key to the aviation capacity debate is balancing the needs of businesses and travellers to meet with their customers, friends and family (not to mention the jobs that this supports) with the emissions that aviation produces. Clearly supporting unchecked increases in capacity would be irresponsible. Whilst we back Heathrow’s growth, we would not do so at any cost.

Both Heathrow proposals submitted to the Airports Commission have pledged that any expansion would lead to fewer emissions being emitted in the future than there are today.

This might sound like a dream, but it is achievable. It might surprise you to learn that much of Heathrow’s emissions are not from aircraft, but the vehicles around the airport. Reducing this traffic is key to reducing emissions and congestion. Heathrow’s surface access is going to be rapidly improved with Crossrail connecting the airport to central London and western rail access and southern rail access both proposed in the next decade. By 2030 this would mean 36 trains per hour providing more than 12,000 seats for passengers compared to 18 trains per hour and 5,000 seats today. This would take thousands of cars off the road.

Heathrow Airport Ltd has also proposed a ‘congestion charge’ to encourage passengers to use improved public transport. It is only a suggestion and one which requires very careful scrutiny, but initiatives like this could have a real impact on pollution and congestion. You might expect some support from self-styled environmentalists but none came. Instead Zac Goldsmith called it ‘punitive’ adding “no London Mayor is going to grant permission [for the charge] without a fight.” In opposing measures that would benefit the environment and his constituents, he is simply cutting off his nose to spite his face. It is clear that Heathrow’s opponents are becoming more blinkered in their outlook; any proposal from Heathrow is automatically assumed to be bad.

We all know that aircraft are becoming more fuel efficient, which will mean less fuel burn and a corresponding reduction in emissions. What additional capacity will also bring is more space to land aircraft.

Heathrow is currently the world’s most congested airport, meaning that much like cars in a traffic jam passengers spend a lot of time either waiting on the ground to take off or circling in ‘stacks’ waiting to land. This time matters, circling over London is simply wasting fuel, polluting the atmosphere unnecessarily when the aircraft should be on the ground instead of hanging around.

Taxying on the ground also burns up a lot of fuel and the longer spent on the ground waiting to take off means more fuel burnt unnecessarily. A bigger Heathrow would be a better Heathrow. It would allow aircraft to take off faster and to land more quickly, spending less time queueing on the ground and much less time flying in circles waiting to land. This would lead to fewer emissions and better air quality for all of us. This would not be achieved by only expanding Gatwick or doing nothing.

Far from being the environmental disaster that many anti-aviation groups predict Heathrow expansion to be, it may actually reduce carbon emissions in the longer term. The Government’s Committee on Climate Change found that the aviation industry could increase in capacity by 60% whilst still meeting climate change targets.

We only back growth at Heathrow because we know this protects jobs and reduces the airport’s impact on the environment over time. It’s why more Greenpeace supporters should climb into aeroplanes instead of clambering on top of them.


WATCH: Back Heathrow and the film competition

By Mike Appleton

 

Lights, camera… action! This week we released a new film starring some of the 30,000+ local people who have signed up to our campaign to protect Heathrow jobs and to secure a bright future for local communities in west London and the wider region.

The release of our Back Heathrow film coincided with an anti-Heathrow film competition organised by Zac Goldsmith MP who hosted a rather lavish and self-indulgent awards ceremony at Richmond Theatre last night. The aim was to encourage budding film makers with a huge cash prize to attack the airport and by definition criticise those who want to see Heathrow grow and succeed.

Mr Goldsmith called in a few favours from celebrity friends. So, Hugh Grant turned up on a judging panel alongside Rachel Johnson, airport-closer Boris Johnson’s sister and TV presenter Holly Willoughby. By joining the judging panel to lambast Heathrow, Ms Willoughby must have forgotten her recent advert for the Skyscanner app which promotes, er, cheap flights.

Whilst almost every celebrity known to man or beast has flown through Heathrow at regular intervals, our campaign is all about the support of thousands of local people who are proud of Heathrow. Some of them may have helped Zac Goldsmith’s judging panel to complete their onward journeys, who knows?

Our film is about people like Matt Goggins from National Express who explains that Heathrow is one of his company’s most important destinations, providing transport routes on the ground to connect with routes in the air. It also includes people like Sally Rose, a young apprentice starting out on her career learning the skills in engineering to keep the airport moving. Even at last night’s anti-Heathrow film ceremony, Hugh Grant said he would have liked to have seen more about airport jobs!

Unlike the slick Heathrow-bashing films on show at Richmond theatre, our film is rather more home-spun. Our film stars each have very different backgrounds but one thing that unites them is that they have come together to support Heathrow. No-one was paid. There are no actors and no scripts in this blockbuster. Instead, we featured genuine residents, telling their stories in their own words.

For the thousands of people who call Heathrow their workplace, they know that they’re not just working for an airline, a cargo-handling agent or for a taxi firm, they’re working for community and country. Where ever we live in the UK, we all rely on Heathrow in some way.  Whether it’s helping passengers on their way to visit friends and family or moving goods from manufacturers to customers, the people who make this happen tell us they’re proud to play their part.

Many people have got in touch with the campaign to let us know how incredibly proud they are of the airport and what is has achieved for their local community. In just a few months more than 30,000 local residents in boroughs surrounding the airport have now backed our campaign. The number rises every day.

You can watch our film here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkHIYWJwTGs. We think it will help rebalance the debate between the negative ‘No’ campaign against Heathrow that a well-connected minority are pushing and our message of a positive future for our local economy and communities – and the UK!

If you know people who haven’t yet signed up to the campaign, why not copy and paste the link into an email to them. Alternatively, you could post it to Facebook or Twitter, allowing other people to see too.

That’s a wrap. But there’s talk of a sequel.


Cabbies hail Back Heathrow!

 

By Mike Appleton

What’s red and yellow and can be seen being driven around London? It is not, as one campaign wag suggested, Noddy’s car. The answer, thanks to London cabbies, is 50 special Back Heathrow taxis zipping around the capital for the next few weeks.

Last week, some of Heathrow’s cabbies joined Back Heathrow’s campaign co-ordinator Rob Gray on top of the brand new Terminal 2 to show off two of our Back Heathrow taxis. Dozens of these special taxis are on London’s streets in the coming weeks, providing a clear demonstration of support for Heathrow and the west London economy. It would have been great to see the Queen arrive in a Back Heathrow taxi to officially open Terminal 2 later this month but we understand she may have other transport arrangements.

As support continues to roll in, we are delighted that the Heathrow branches of the London Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA) and the Heathrow Airport Taxi Drivers’ Union (HATDU) are both proud to back Heathrow.

“Like Heathrow, black cabs are icons for London and the UK, known throughout the world,” said LTDA representative Bob Livingstone. “Heathrow is so important to cab drivers because of the trade that it brings us. Any threat to a successful Heathrow would be a serious problem for our members and it would be devastating for the local area.”

HATDU chairman Eddie Symes said, “We are based at Heathrow and our members mostly rely on the airport for their income just like thousands of other workers. We want the airport to grow and support more routes to bring more people to the capital. It’s unbelievable that any local politician would want to see Heathrow decline or close”.

Tell us if you spot our cabs!

If you see one of our special Back Heathrow taxis we want to know. Simply tweet us a picture using the hashtag #BHcabs telling us where you were when you saw it.


Say hello to Terminal 2!

By Mike Appleton

Say hello to Terminal 2!

On Wednesday 4 June, United Airlines flight 958 from Chicago will land at Heathrow at 05:55, much like it does every day. However on 4 June, this will be the first flight to arrive at Heathrow’s brand new Terminal 2 as it opens to the public for the first time. The new terminal will bring a much better experience to thousands of passengers travelling through the airport. The Terminal will also be the UK’s ‘front door’ for travellers from across Europe and the world; and it is sure to offer a welcome to be proud of.

Building impressive infrastructure doesn’t come cheap: the new terminal represents a £2.5 billion privately funded investment into the airport, replacing the dated and cramped buildings with a new spacious and light terminal. Terminal 2 should join Terminal 5 in securing Heathrow’s position as one of the world’s favourite airports for many years to come. To give you some idea of the scale of the investment, for a time Terminal 2 was the largest building site in Europe, employing thousands of workers and many more in the UK supply chain. This investment shows the commitment that the airport has to its long term future at the heart of our community.

Last week Boris Johnson unveiled his plans to close Heathrow down by building a new airport in the Thames Estuary. His plans require the construction of an entirely new airport, complete with the terminals, runways and transport links that Heathrow already has. Why on earth would we put Heathrow jobs and future growth at risk?

Opponents to Heathrow’s continued growth say that the airport should be ‘better not bigger’. Investment in projects to make the airport more efficient, like Terminal 2, shows that Heathrow is getting much better. But while T2 will provide a great experience for passengers, it can’t sort out the blockage in the UK’s economy: choking off the number of routes to emerging economies from the airport. That problem can only be solved through additional hub airport capacity and extra runway space.

We think a bigger Heathrow would be a better Heathrow, helping to get the economy moving and securing the airport’s place in the world against its competitors in Europe and the Middle East. When looking around the bright and airy new terminal, it will be difficult for passengers or politicians to argue that this shining example of British engineering should be torn down in favour of a new hub airport elsewhere.

At the end of next month, Her Majesty the Queen will be at the airport to officially open the new Terminal, just as she did with the old Terminal 2 (the Europa Building) back in 1955. Let’s hope that in 60 years’ time we can say that we made the right decision to Back Heathrow.

You can see more about Terminal 2 on Heathrow Airport's website.

Question time – take a peek at T2

On Thursday 29 May the BBC’s Question Time is being filmed at Terminal 2, to show off the new terminal before it opens to the public. Tune in to BBC One at 10:35pm (after the news) to see the brand terminal in action.


Seizing a golden opportunity for west London and the UK

By Mike Appleton

Sir Howard Davies, you have mail. Today, the chairman of the Airports Commission will receive detailed plans from the shortlisted schemes to solve the UK’s aviation capacity problem. Happily, two of these favour Heathrow.

For months, both plans have been under development whilst key questions about vital issues like aircraft noise, carbon emissions and transport links were answered. Now both plans have been made public, we are able to see for the first time the real benefits for all of us in west London, the Thames Valley and beyond.

The owners of Heathrow Airport - who favour a new runway to the north-west - say their option would create more than 100,000 jobs across the UK, including many locally. But they also point to £100bn of potential economic benefits and a £550m fund for noise insulation and property compensation. Supporters of the second option from Heathrow Hub, fronted by ex-Concorde pilot Jock Lowe, also offer large-scale job creation but say their proposal demolishes fewer houses and delivers a world-class noise mitigation strategy.

The other official option for the Airports Commission will be submitted by Gatwick. You may have seen some of their anti-Heathrow advertisements arguing that Gatwick is the ‘obvious’ choice for a new runway. We have no objection to Gatwick growth but not at the expense of Heathrow growth. Heathrow’s runways are full. This must be the priority – there is a hub airport capacity shortage, not a wider capacity shortage.

The Mayor of London’s plans for a new hub airport to the east of London, resulting in the closure of Heathrow, are still alive but only just. Boris will learn his fate in the autumn. However, it must be disheartening for anyone involved in this ill-fated project to watch the Mayor’s protracted and clumsy swanning back towards the House of Commons.

Like you, we want Heathrow to succeed, not decline. Any option to increase capacity at Heathrow will protect jobs and allow the wider economy in the area to flourish for years to come. It is clear that both of these new options for Heathrow’s future open an exciting new chapter for the airport and local communities.

The Airports Commission process is the final opportunity to secure a bright future for Heathrow and it is important that politicians seize it with both hands. If they do, they will find that the majority of local residents in west London are behind them – as first-rate, independent polling has shown year after year.

This week was an important step towards making Heathrow’s future more secure, but there is still a long way to go before a final decision is made. If local elections are taking place where you live, make sure you tell any candidate that comes to your door your views, so that they are under no illusion about how local people really feel about Heathrow.

‘Like’ Back Heathrow on Facebook!

We’ve launched a new Facebook to help everyone stay in touch with the campaign. On the page you’ll find all our all our latest news and pictures from the campaign. You can find us here: https://www.facebook.com/backheathrow or by searching ‘Back Heathrow’ on Facebook.

Remember to click the ‘thumbs up’ to receive our updates.

 


Why a lorry load of businesses support Heathrow

PIC_-_Businesses_backing_Heathrow_resize.jpg

By Jack Andrews,

It’s not just those directly employed at the airport relying on Heathrow for their jobs. South east England and west London have grown up with Heathrow as businesses have taken the opportunity to base themselves close to Britain’s UK hub airport. They want to connect to the world and an entire supply chain has sprung up to provide jobs and services to those who depend on those links.

As the debate over new runways rumbles on, we were delighted when Feltham firm Mixed Freight Services approached us offering to help the Back Heathrow campaign. The company’s founder, Alan Smith, wanted to send a clear message to the politicians that would be happy to see the airport decline or even close. “Heathrow’s future affects people like the 70 employees working for our company,” said Alan, continuing, “There are hundreds of thousands of jobs in the region that depend on Heathrow and that is a serious number of people to brush aside in this debate.”

For Alan there is a stark connection between the future of Heathrow and that of his business. His firm can grow alongside Heathrow or it can decline alongside Heathrow – and the effect of closing Heathrow doesn’t bear thinking about.

That point was so important for Alan that he didn’t want to risk anyone not getting the message. His solution was to create something that would be difficult for others – including the politicians – to miss; he decided to turn an 18-metre lorry into a mobile advert for Back Heathrow. Those that see this lorry (pictured above with Alan, left) drive past over the coming months, whether they’re on the motorway or at the airport, will have no doubt of Alan’s support for local jobs.

Of course, Alan’s logistics enterprise is just one of thousands of local businesses that would suffer if a decision was made against Heathrow continuing to be a global hub in west London. As Stephen Fry, Chief Executive of Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, puts it, “Many of Hounslow’s firms are dependent on the Heathrow economy”. That’s why 77% of businesses in Hounslow support expansion, and why 76% in Hillingdon do too.

There’s a reason that 202 of the 300 top companies in the UK have chosen west London and the Thames Valley as the location for their headquarters – proximity to Heathrow airport.

The connectivity that a major competitive hub provides makes this area one of the best places to be if you’re looking to move people or freight around the world, that’s why companies like Microsoft, Honda, Mars and Google have chosen here as their centre of operations.

Major local employers also help sustain supply chain companies, whilst the multitude of employees living nearby ensures that shops and other community businesses can be successful. A recent independent report for Ealing, Hounslow and Slough Councils showed that 300,000 jobs across the region are at risk if Heathrow’s status as an international hub airport is jeopardised.

All of these tremendous economic and social benefits that Heathrow brings to west London and the wider region could be put at risk if more local politicians do not speak out in favour of the golden goose on their doorstep. Local voters are surely entitled to ask… what on earth are some of their elected representatives playing at? Meanwhile, it’s great that Alan and thousands of other supporters are, at least, looking out for jobs in our area.

Keep an eye out for a large, yellow Back Heathrow lorry!