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Cross party Heathrow opposition on display at runway rally

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Vince Cable MP for Twickenham addressing the audience at the Heathrow Runway Rally. Image Credit: AEF

A rally against the proposed third runway at Heathrow yesterday (3/3/15) brought together high profile politicians from across the political spectrum, trade unions and environmental organisations in a demonstration of the breadth of opposition.

Many of the speakers at the event organised by HACAN highlighted the inconsistency between building additional airport capacity and meeting climate change commitments, which is detailed in our policy brief here. There was also widespread recognition of the challenge for Heathrow Airport of meeting EU air quality limits with modelling recently published by Government revealing that the area around Heathrow is unlikely to be within the limits before 2030 even without a third runway. Our air pollution briefing is available here.

Conservative MPs Zac Goldsmith, Adam Afriyie, Mary Macleod and John Randall, as well as former transport minister Stephen Norris, all stated their opposition to Heathrow expansion, as did Labour MPs Andy Slaughter and John McDonnell, and Mayoral Candidate Christian Wolmar.

Vince Cable MP, speaking on behalf of his constituency and the Liberal Democrat party reiterated the party’s opposition to a new runway anywhere in South East England.London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon also spoke at the event, emphasising the near total opposition of the London Assembly to Heathrow expansion.

Cliff Dixon, UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hayes and Harlington, stated UKIP’s opposition to a third runway at Heathrow and proposed using available capacity at other London and South East airports as the solution.

Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, emphasised the party’s opposition to increasing airport capacity in the UK.

Chris Baugh, Assistant General Secretary of the PCS Union, stated the need to oppose the unabated expansion of an industry as carbon intensive as air travel. In 2013, PCS published a report on aviation which highlighted the need to “to protect jobs with a more environmentally-friendly policy towards unchecked expansionism”. PCS has also recently published an updated booklet, available here.

This Saturday (7/3/15) there is a protest march taking place on climate change and there will be a section devoted to the “no new runways” message. Details are available here.

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