Today saw the TUC bring their conference to Brighton where senior Trade Union officials and their members meet to discuss policy matters and campaigns ahead.
With the Trade Unions split on whether to oppose or support a Third Runway at Heathrow, my friends at Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) decided to run a coach full of campaigners from Harmondsworth to the seaside to put their side of the story and convince the Unions that opposition is the best course of action.
Leaving the Village at 9.30am, we arrived in a wet and windswept Brighton just before 11 and formed up outside the conference
We were joined shortly for a briefing on the latest developments by Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell, who posed with the team from SHE for photos afterwards (Below)
With the wind whipping up, the two of us holding the long banner were struggling to hang on to it – after John McDonnell commented on the weather, I joked that we were about to get some impromptu kite surfing in at this rate. His response was to quip, ‘ what’s that, the UKIP air force?’ – he obviously hasn’t heard the news! Whilst it was strange to be joking with a man who I have locked horns with politically for many years (Some of it quite unpleasant), it shows the strength of feeling against the runway that such diametrically opposed characters can come together and work alongside people of all backgrounds and political views on a subject that transcends politics and affects so many.
Sir Howard Davies will be publishing his report in to aviation expansion in the South-East tomorrow morning.
I received the following from my friends at the independent campaign group She Heathrow Expansion (SHE) earlier today –
The Davies Commission Publishes Tomorrow
Thank you for your continued support for our campaign against further expansion at Heathrow. As you will probably know by now, the Airports Commission recommendation for the site of a new runway in the South East will be made at 7amtomorrow morning. From 5.30am journalists will be allowed sight of the final report but because of the sensitive nature of its content they will not be allowed to reveal the recommendation in advance. Therefore, we expect to be in the same position as you, regarding whether Heathrow is the favoured option, until 7am.
Most of our committee and many residents will be involved in media interviews throughout the day. We have arranged interviews with everyone from BBC Radio London, Breakfast TV shows, Sky TV, Radio 5 Live, Radio 4 Today programme, Channel 5 News and Channel 4 News with Jon Snow to name just a few.
Whatever the recommendation, remember that this does not bind the government to follow the results of the Commission’s report. Our case is extremely strong and we do not believe that a third runway or extension to the existing northern runway are deliverable options. Therefore, if Sir Howard Davies recommends Heathrow for expansion, we will step up our opposition. If the decision is for Gatwick, we remain determined to ensure that Heathrow is not considered by the government and that our future is protected from further threat. The people of London and the surrounding areas impacted by its noise and pollution deserve a break.
Thank you again for your valued support. We will contact you again soon, in the meantime keep an eye on our website: www.stopheathrowexpansion.co.Neil Keveren and the Stop Heathrow Expansion team
Last week saw the culmination of the Airports Commission Consultation in to expansion at Heathrow Airport and with it increased activity from those who oppose construction of the Third Runway.
The Commission is currently looking at three options to increase aviation capacity in the south of England – A new Northern Runway at Heathrow, an extension to one of the existing runways at Heathrow to enable it to operate as two, or a second runway at Gatwick.
With the deadline for submissions to the Commission being 3rd February, Hayes & Harlington MP John McDonnell called a public meeting in Sipson on the evening of 29th January to lay out what the proposals on the table were and how to respond to the consultation.