Building support in 2019: A big thank you from the Back Heathrow team!
It has been a busy year and with 2020 only a few days away, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of our 2019 campaign highlights.
In January, over 1,200 residents signed campaign cards supporting Heathrow expansion, which were delivered to the reception desk of Hillingdon Civic Centre – only for them to be returned, unopened to the Back Heathrow office in early February.
Later that month, the campaign was boosted by a survey of Hounslow residents that revealed a significant shift in local opinion in favour of Heathrow’s new runway. It showed that 59% of residents overall supported the new runway – up from 44% in 2016.
In March, Back Heathrow was a strong presence outside the High Court at the start of the legal proceedings by several local authorities against Heathrow expansion. Our Director, Parmjit Dhanda said: "This project has been on the starting blocks for decades, and it’s now time to get on and build it.”
In May, Back Heathrow welcomed the ruling from the High Court rejecting claims from objectors (led by five London boroughs) who called for the new runway project to be stopped.
Later that month, Transport Minister Jesse Norman MP revealed that costs of £625,000 from the legal challenge to expansion would be recovered from the unsuccessful claimants.
In June, another council residents’ survey – this one in Ealing, revealed that that a large majority of its residents now backed the new runway, with 69% of residents supporting expansion.
In July, local residents voiced their support for the new runway at a demonstration in Uxbridge where they were supported by the GMB and Unite trade unions.
Also in July, Back Heathrow supporters in Ealing helped launch a campaign to persuade the council to have a free vote on its stance over Heathrow expansion.
In August, Back Heathrow supporters asked the Prime Minister to support the new runway, by showing him how much support there is for the project in his own constituency.
Supporters handed over 700 postcards from constituents asking Mr Johnson to give his full backing to the expansion project. A delegation of Back Heathrow supporters met with Boris' doppelganger outside the Civic Centre in Uxbridge, much to the amusement of supporters and residents.
In September, Back Heathrow exhibited at the TUC annual congress in Brighton, where the debate on Green investment, infrastructure and apprenticeships was in full flow among delegates.
September saw a supporters’ summer event that set the scene for a possible general election, with a reminder for local politicians that their stance on Heathrow expansion matters to our 100,000 campaign supporters across West London and the Thames Valley. Take a look at the gallery of photographs of the event – over 300 supporters attended!
Later that month, Back Heathrow team members went along to the Hounslow Regeneration Conference, where among the speakers, was an interesting presentation by the University of West London on apprenticeships.
During the autumn, a major campaign event took place, once again at the Royal Courts of Justice on the first day of the appeal lodged by several London boroughs, environmental groups and the Mayor of London.
It was a good day from a Back Heathrow point of view. We had scores of supporters present – including GMB and Unite union representatives, who added their voices to the chorus of: Get on and build it!
Finally, as November faded into the Christmas run-up and election day loomed, Back Heathrow organised a general election hustings event in Hounslow. The main subject for the event was the proposed new runway at Heathrow airport.
Discussion throughout the evening was robust and respectful across the party divides. The six candidates who attended were left in no doubt of the importance of jobs and the economy to the audience, while also maintaining that the runway could be sustainable – and meet strict targets on noise, air and carbon.
On top of this, Back Heathrow organised several supporter meetings during the year including in Hayes, Feltham, Ealing, and Staines.
As you can see, it was a busy year and 2020 is set to be just as busy too. Thanks to all our supporters for your help.
Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to you all!
And to our opponents, on the whole we can say we’ve had a healthy debate with you too!