Ealing petition for free vote on Heathrow exceeds 2,000

A local petition, urging Ealing Council to hold a ‘free vote’ on whether the borough will back Heathrow expansion has reached over 2,000 signatories.

But the campaign has decided not to present the petition to full council in April so Ealing’s officers and councillors can focus on the crucial task of fighting Covid 19.

The petition, backed by local groups including the Indian Workers’ Association and trade unions Unite and GMB was due to be presented to the April meeting of the council.

It follows a ‘whipped vote’ at a council meeting in December 2018 where party managers instructed councillors to vote against expansion – even though the Borough’s own residents’ survey states that 69% of local people support a new runway.

Back Heathrow executive director, Parmjit Dhanda said: “The only thing that matters right now is tackling Coronavirus, and we will give Ealing council all the time, space and support we can, to get on with that crucial task.

“When this crisis is over, local people will want councillors to look closely at how best to repair the local economy and create jobs whilst also protecting the local environment. The council’s own residents survey shows overwhelming support for this project, so let’s hope that councillors will eventually get an opportunity for an open debate and a free vote.”

The petition follows a name gathering exercise on the streets of the borough and online. Petitions with over 1,000 names to it must be debated by the council at one of its full council meetings.

In 16 of 18 local constituencies more people support expansion than oppose it. A council survey of Ealing residents last year revealed that 69% of those taking part were in favour of expansion and the jobs and prosperity it will bring.

Back Heathrow says the recent Court of Appeal judgement has further delayed Heathrow expansion and has called for the government to urgently amend its Airports National Policy Statement so that the project can get back on track.