Supporters of Heathrow expansion understand well that not everyone agrees with us. That’s fine, because our democracy is built on the proud tradition of differing views, but in today’s world it seems some people don’t just want different opinions, they want ‘alternative’ facts.
The ‘New Economics Foundation’ (an organisation opposed to Heathrow expansion) has just published an error-filled report on Heathrow’s expansion, claiming it will be subsidised by public money, that ticket prices will rise, carbon emissions will increase costs, and money and jobs will be sucked away from the regions and nations of the UK. All of this is just plain wrong.
Back Heathrow has welcomed an announcement by the Sustainable Aviation Coalition which commits airports and airlines to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.
Back Heathrow also welcomed government’s decision to bring forward the phasing out of petrol, diesel and hybrid vehicles to 2035.
Parmjit Dhanda, executive director of Back Heathrow said: “We know that vehicle traffic emissions are a major contributor to pollution in London, way more so than aviation, so this is welcome news.
“The announcement by airlines and airports, including Heathrow to cut emissions to net zero by 2050 is a huge step forward too. We know more West Londoners support than oppose Heathrow expansion because of new jobs and an economic boost.
“These two announcements will help to ensure a new runway is built whilst tackling noise, improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.”
The coalition’s announcement is an important step forward for the expansion project. It shows that with smarter airport operations, modernised airspace, new cleaner, efficient aircraft and sustainable fuels, we can have airport development – and meet the strict targets on emissions set by government and international regulators.
The airport’s plans to further offset carbon emissions through investment in peatland restoration and tree planting schemes are also an important part of its decarbonisation roadmap.
The debate around the rescue plan for Europe’s largest independent airline, Flybe and its tax liability will be of keen interest to supporters of sustainable growth.
The rescue includes the potential deferment of over £100m in air passenger duty. APD charges for short haul flights start at £13 for economy and £26 for business/first class.
The plan also includes a Treasury review of air passenger duty as part of a Budget process to ensure that regional connectivity is supported alongside the UK’s climate change commitments to meet net zero carbon targets by 2050.
Although the tax deferment was attacked by some environmental groups, Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps defended the decision.
“Air passenger duty is not designed as an environmental tax. I think that we can do far more by reviewing the way it works. I'll give you a simple example: there are now aircraft that are being designed and about to start flying which fly on electricity. They're going to do the island hops in Scotland.”Read more
Have a read of some of the best articles on Heathrow expansion and aviation progress
A page with news about Heathrow expansion including news from the airport, Back Heathrow and other news and information we find and which is relevant or interesting!
- As part of the Airlines2050 conference, the trade body that represents UK airlines has called for a new partnership with government to fund new clean aviation technology. Read the story here.
- Heathrow calls for further industry-wide action on carbon as the airport’s biggest airline becomes first to commit to net zero. Read the story here.
- Electric flight just over the horizon. Over 200 electric aircraft projects are currently underway. A report by Roland Berger, consultant.
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!
Lively debate was the order of the evening at a packed general election hustings event in Hounslow organised by Back Heathrow, the campaign that represents over 100,000 supporters of a new runway.
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 candidates were left in no doubt of the importance of jobs, the economy and the environment to the audience.Read more
Over 600 Back Heathrow campaign postcards from constituents have been sent to Brent Labour General Election candidates Dawn Butler and Barry Gardiner. The campaign card urges them both to back a new runway at Heathrow airport.
The postcard says hub airports like Heathrow are a force for good and are part of the solution to tackling carbon – through cleaner and quieter aircraft and targets for carbon reduction enshrined in law.Read more
Over 400 Back Heathrow campaign postcards have been sent to Philip Hammond MP for Runnymede and Weybridge. The campaign card urges MPs, including in Mr Hammond’s constituency and others adjacent to the airport, to back a new runway at Heathrow airport.
Constituents, Bernard Holcroft and John Gurney presented over 400 postcards to Mr Hammond’s office in the House of Commons last week.Read more
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.
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.”Read more