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.”

Peter Kavanagh, Unite London & Eastern Regional Secretary said: "Unite wants to see a new runway at Heathrow and the creation of up to 180,000 new jobs for our country. We are campaigning for quality new jobs alongside tough regulations to protect our environment. At Heathrow we can have both." 

Warren Kenny, GMB London Regional Secretary said: "GMB always fights in the interests of our members. We don't agree with everything that Heathrow does and we will continue to have robust discussions about the importance of good jobs paid above the London Living Wage. But we also 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. The courts need to recognise this."

Heathrow’s expansion has been approved by an independent Airport Commission, and by a majority of 296 MPs in the House of Commons last year.

In May the High Court threw out the original judicial review on all five grounds. However, Hillingdon council and other local boroughs who brought the original action – Wandsworth, Richmond and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Plan B Earth and the Mayor of London are taking it to an appeal.

The use of taxpayers’ money continues to mount. Costs of £625,000 were recovered from the claimants following the failed judicial review. This is in addition to over £2m of expenditure in legal fees, PR costs and funding of local ‘anti- Heathrow’ groups over the last decade.


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.

Mr Dhillon said: “Everyone knows that most people in Hounslow want this. It’s time for the council to have a free vote and back it too. I believe most councillors in Hounslow would agree and should now vote on it. It will create the jobs our next generation deserve.”

A survey of Hounslow residents published this year showed that support for the new runway outstripped opposition by 59% to 22%.

Back Heathrow Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda added: “We know that far more people back the new runway than oppose it in Hounslow. Thousands of Hounslow residents work at the airport. The council’s own survey backs expansion, and I think the former Mayor is right – most councillors believe in the project too.”

Back Heathrow supporters say expansion can deliver the benefits of 5,000 new apprenticeships and up 180,00 new jobs for West London and the UK.

A new round of independent polling by Populus reveals that more people support expansion than oppose it in 16 of the 18 most local constituencies to Heathrow.

Mr Dhillon was a councillor for Hounslow West ward from 2002-14 and Mayor from 2010-14.


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.

Mr Dhanda said: “The scale of Back Heathrow’s support has grown over the past five years, backed up by independent polling and residents’ surveys by local councils. We know that many more people back the new runway than oppose it in these boroughs. Local people want to see a boost in jobs and apprenticeships, and they know it can be done sustainably at Heathrow. I hope local MPs and candidates will engage with our supporters during this campaign because they represent a sizeable, often silent majority.”

Back Heathrow supporters say expansion can do two things. It can deliver the promised economic benefits of 5,000 new apprenticeships and up 180,00 new jobs for West London and the UK.

It can also play a role in helping to tackle the challenge of climate change through a combination of technological innovation; cleaner, more efficient aircraft; tough government targets on noise, pollution and air quality, and robust plans from Heathrow to be carbon neutral by 2020.

The Back Heathrow event follows a new round of polling by Populus which reveals that more people support expansion than oppose it in 16 of the 18 most local constituencies to Heathrow.


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.

 “However, what we have seen from their response is a shrug of the shoulders and five reasons why they are against something. That’s the easy and lazy way out. The London Assembly has massive resources which should be used to engage constructively with a project that will create up to 180,000 new jobs. But that means engaging in the detail on night flights, public transport infrastructure and air quality targets, not playing politics to an audience with soundbites.”

 The new runway project has been approved by an Independent Airports Commission, received a 296 vote majority in the House of Commons last year after the scrutiny of a Select Committee, passed a High Court challenge earlier this year, and is presently subject to the most extensive planning consent process ever in the UK. It has the support of the Unite and GMB trade unions, as well as the CBI. Polling by Populus has consistently showed that more people in the boroughs surrounding the airport support a new runway than oppose it.

 Back Heathrow represents over 100,000 residents and local businesses who want to see a new runway built at Heathrow, with robust targets on air quality and noise.

 It says the new runway will only happen if it is truly sustainable and meets tough targets on emissions, air quality and noise. It urges people to get involved with the consultation process and help Heathrow shape its plans.

 Mr Dhanda added: “A combination of technological innovation, cleaner, more efficient aircraft and robust plans for Heathrow to be carbon neutral by 2020, means we can have the benefits of expansion and tackle the effects of climate change. However, we also need politicians to help shape this vision, rather than just play to an audience as we’ve seen with the London Assembly’s rather shallow response.”


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.

Mr Johnson v2.0 caused quite a stir with people getting off buses to come and have pictures taken. He almost forgot to take his box of constituency correspondence, but luckily he was caught before he left to go back to work on Brexit!

Back Heathrow says the new runway will provide a huge boost to the economy, both with new capital investment and thousands of new jobs created ­– whilst being strictly regulated by targets for emissions, noise and a push to further improve Heathrow's already strong commitments to the environment, through technological innovation by partner airlines.

Back Heathrow Campaign Manager, Paul Cowling, said: "There is huge support for responsible expansion in the borough of Hillingdon, as proven by regular independent polling, and this includes many people in the Prime Minister's own constituency of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. 

It is a reminder to the Prime Minister that local people and their families depend on the airport for their livelihoods and want to see future prosperity for their communities. It is time for him to do what is best for his constituents, best for the region and best for the country, and get behind this vital national infrastructure project."

Heathrow is the UK's biggest port by value and the country's only hub airport, but it is at full capacity and will fall behind other European airports unless a new runway is built.

Note: the postcards will be delivered to the Prime Minster's office in Westminster as there is no address in the constituency.



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

Back Heathrow Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda said: “There is a big appetite among Ealing residents for their local councillors to be given a free vote on the council’s support for Heathrow expansion.

“It is the right time for Ealing to reconsider its formal position of opposition through a debate and an unwhipped, free vote at a future council meeting. The position of the council should reflect the view of its own residents’ survey where 69% support a new runway.”

Local resident Robert Morse said: “Expansion will bring tremendous advantages to the local economy. However, the council must look at the bigger picture for the UK.

“Many Labour councillors privately back Heathrow but were forced to vote against expansion by their party managers. They should be free to make their own choice, with the information about the views of residents from their survey. We need a free vote now, it’s the democratic thing to do.”

A survey earlier this year of over 1,200 residents commissioned by Ealing Council found that a large majority - 69% - of its residents back a new runway at Heathrow Airport. The council voted to oppose the scheme at their meeting in December.



Heathrow expansion appeal will not change the view of local people

Commenting on the Court of Appeal decision allowing claimants against the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow permission to appeal in a hearing beginning on 21 October 2019, Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director of Back Heathrow said:

"We know that the ‘No 3rd Runway Coalition’ is campaigning off the backs of local people and their council tax payments. We estimate over £2m of taxpayers' cash has now been wasted.

“However, they will continue to raise expectations that they are going to win another court battle, despite the damning verdict of the last one, where it was made clear that they had not raised any significant issue which had not already been addressed.

“I don't believe they will change the view of the new Prime Minister and they will certainly not change the view of the vast majority of local people who want to see the project succeed with robust safeguards in place on air quality, noise and carbon reduction."


Chiswick backs Heathrow

Chiswick and Isleworth based Back Heathrow supporters got together last week to discuss the Heathrow consultation. They were joined by representatives from Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, who were there to lend the support of the local business community.

Local resident Donald MacCallum said: “A survey of Hounslow residents earlier this year showed that in Chiswick, support for the new runway outstripped opposition by 47% to 28%. We have been a silent majority for a long while, but it’s good to see that so many local people are now prepared to say that jobs and business opportunities really matter to us. We want expansion.”

Back Heathrow Executive Director, Parmjit Dhanda said: “You can have Heathrow expansion and tackle carbon emissions successfully. Local councils need to get involved in the consultation to ensure a new runway is built with strong environmental and noise safeguards in place. From independent polling, we know local residents are on our side.”

The Hounslow residents survey report shows that 59% of residents overall now support the third runway – up from 44% in 2016, with only 22% opposing it. From Bedfont, Feltham and Hanworth, to Isleworth and Brentford support is over 50%. In Chiswick, support outstrips opposition by 47% to 28% respectively.

Link to survey HERE


Silent majority finds its voice in favour of Heathrow expansion, and calls for talks

Silent majority finds its voice in favour of Heathrow expansion, and calls for talks

Over 70 local residents voiced their support for Heathrow’s expansion at Hillingdon Civic Centre last night (July 4th), at a demonstration where they were surprised and pleased to make contact with Labour and Conservative councillors on the issue.

Until now the council has refused to receive correspondence or acknowledge the Back Heathrow campaign, but at the demonstration councillors appeared to soften their line and started to engage with the pro-expansion argument for the first time.

Parmjit Dhanda, Executive Director of the Back Heathrow campaign said:

“It was good to see a senior Labour councillor engage in conversation with Unite’s Regional Secretary Peter Kavanagh, our campaigners and myself last night. Council Leader Ray Puddifoot and I, who have had a good rapport in the past also had a short but cordial conversation. I hope that will be a prelude to a proper dialogue. There is nothing for the borough’s residents to gain by us tearing strips off each other. My view has always been that we need an expansion which gets the best deal for local people, for jobs, air quality and all other issues. Proper engagement with Ray and his council will only improve the project so I hope he’ll consider my offer to talk in the positive spirit I made it last night.”

Back Heathrow supporters outside Hillingdon Civic Centre  Parmjit and Peter Kavanagh in conversation with Labour Councillor, Tony Eginton

In a conversation with a senior Labour councillor, Peter Kavanagh, Regional Secretary of Unite the Union’s London and Eastern Region, offered to meet with Hillingdon’s Labour group of councillors to explain why so many local Unite members support expansion. He said:

"Everybody knows at this time we need to create quality, skilled and sustainable jobs. Unite is fighting for exactly that at Heathrow. Instead of working with the community to demand such opportunities for future generations, Hillingdon’s Tory Council is turning its back on a project that it should be helping to shape. And instead of protecting local services, it chooses to spend tax-payers’ money on expensive lawyers in an attempt to halt what West London and the UK so desperately needs." 

The show of support for expansion was organised by Back Heathrow, the community-based campaign in favour of expansion, and took place outside Hillingdon Civic Centre.

Hillingdon is the lead council co-ordinating other boroughs – Wandsworth, Richmond and the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, who are opposed to Heathrow expansion and who led a failed legal challenge to the new runway in the High Court earlier this year. It also funds anti-expansion groups from taxpayers’ money. Over £2 million of taxpayers money has been spent so far.

The new runway has received approval from Parliament in 2018 with a huge majority of 296 and the backing of an independent Airports Commission. It is also supported by the CBI, TUC and by the majority of residents in boroughs around the airport (Populus Polling).

Local Hillingdon resident Barry Nelson West said: “Hillingdon council has its head buried in the sand on expansion. Locally, public opinion is in favour of it because of the potential for thousands of new jobs and apprenticeships in our local communities. The airport also has ambitious targets to meet on air quality and noise mitigation, if it is to proceed.”

Mr Nav Rana, who works as an engineer at Heathrow and is a local Labour Party member said:

“Young people like me need these jobs. Hillingdon’s councillors, both Labour and Conservative, should be fighting for these jobs and getting engaged in the consultation process. The views of local people can't be ignored anymore. This show of support demonstrates that we are real people who have a right to be heard by local politicians.”

Speakers at the event included Peter Kavanagh (Regional Secretary of Unite the union), Keith Williams (GMB London Senior Organiser) and Parmjit Dhanda (Former Labour government Minister and Executive Director of Back Heathrow).


Heathrow expansion reaches major milestone on the way to completion

Back Heathrow, the campaign that represents over 100,00 local residents, has welcomed the launch of the airport’s biggest ever consultation which lays out the detailed plans for the proposed new runway project.

Back Heathrow executive director, Parmjit Dhanda, said: “This is a major milestone for the realisation of this critical infrastructure project. It will bring thousands of new jobs, apprenticeships for young people in local communities and boost the wider UK economy. It will also help the airport maintain its position as the UK’s only hub airport and largest port by value of its trade.

“However, it is vital that local people engage with the 12-week consultation. We know that more local residents support than oppose expansion in boroughs around Heathrow. It is time the silent majority have their say so the best expansion plan possible can be delivered when the airport submits its planning application next year.”

Heathrow is consulting on the future layout of the airport, including the new runway and road access; plans for how it will manage the environmental impacts – including a proposed ultra-low emission zone, a vehicle access charge and a ban on night flights and proposals for property compensation.

It is already obliged through government targets to mitigate air and noise pollution. Heathrow plans to carbon neutral by 2020.

Heathrow is on track to start building the new runway in 2021 and ready to open by 2026.