Field of dreams

I am now the proud co-owner of a plot of land in Sipson village, Hillingdon.

No I’m not planning to move. But there is now a corner of west London that is for ever Islington. I’ve signed up to be a beneficial owner of this field in the path of the proposed 3rd Heathrow runway, along with thousands of others. And anyone wanting to buy or develop our land will need to contact each one of us….

It’s all part of the Greenpeace-backed plan to make the expansion of Heathrow as difficult as possible: classic non-violent direct action. As the leading anti-expansion campaigner, Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, says: “We will never give up this battle. We will use every weapon from tactics like this land purchase to taking the Government to court. The battles for quality of life in our area and on climate change are simply too important for us to give up. The Government brought this fight to us, but they will regret it.”

We protested before the decision and we’re not giving up now.

Giving the go-ahead for a third runway at Heathrow is so wrong, for so many reasons.

The third runway will be a disaster for the global and local environment: it will add an airport the size of Gatwick to Heathrow, and produce the same carbon emissions as the whole of Kenya. It will flatten Sipson village, ruin neighbouring communities and blight large parts of London (including Islington) with noise and pollution.

The economic benefits are limited: British Airways want Heathrow to expand as its hub, with most of the new passengers being in transit. Plus London needs regeneration to the east, not the over-developed and wealthier west. The planning process alone is costing millions of public money. The huge investment in building the new Heathrow is a diversion of money, time and effort, that could be better spent.

Expanding Heathrow is the wrong choice for the 21st century. In the face of climate change and the global recession, we should be switching to investing in green infrastructure, creating lasting jobs that will benefit future generations. Modern businesses meet online, saving time and money.

It’s a bad move for Britain in the world. How can we lecture the rest of the world about fighting climate change? And this massive new airport could be a prime terrorist target.

In a single decision, Labour have broken all their promises about fighting climate change, directing regeneration to help the poorest, showing an ethical approach to the world, or understanding the needs of the 21st century city. No rhetoric can compensate for this action.

The Government is too arrogant to let Parliament decide; and useless Labour backbenchers have failed to force a vote.

Let’s hope that an early election could change things. In the meantime, there are some green shoots in that field near Heathrow.

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1 Comment »

  1. […] 2009 at 10:22 pm · Filed under Campaigns ·Tagged Greenpeace, Heathrow I blogged before about how I’d become co-owner of a plot of land at Sipson […]

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