Over 3,000 people protested last Saturday against plans to expand Heathrow airport. A proposed third runway will mean 4,000 homes being demolished, including the entire village of Sipson.
More flights will also mean more noise and air pollution, as well as increased emissions of greenhouse gases that are leading to climate change.
The protest was organised by three groups, the Campaign Against Climate Change, Hacan and Notrag. Demonstrators marched around the perimeter of the airport and ended in Sipson, where they made a big “NO” that was visible from the air.
Many people from the local area joined the demonstration. They are angry at plans by the government and BAA (the company that runs Heathrow airport) that put the interests of big business over their lives and the environment.
“My house will come down under these plans,” Lynne Davies from Sipson told Socialist Worker.
“We built it and brought our children up there. If we don’t fight this growth there’ll be no world left. I’ll do anything to stop the expansion.”
Marie McFaul, May O’Connor, Christine and Rita are all from the Hayes & Harlington area.They told Socialist Worker, “We are here today to safeguard the future for our children and grandchildren.
“The pollution and the noise are killing us already – we don’t want any more. We want BAA and the government to recognise that we’re a force to be reckoned with.”
Natasha from Hayes said, “Cherry Lane Cemetery, where my dad and over 13,000 other people are buried, is threatened by these plans. The public wasn’t consulted on this.”
Peter from Twickenham said, “The whole thing has been done by the government and BAA in conjunction. It’s profits versus common sense.
“There’s nothing wrong with profit, but it shouldn’t come at the sake of people and the world’s environment. This is all about vested interests.”
Jim Hutchinson from London said, “I’m here because of environmental concerns. This is the exact opposite of what we should be doing.”
His friend Daniel McCarthy added, “The government wants to ensure that London is the business capital of the world. Looking after the planet is not as paramount in its priorities as building London.”
Trade unionists also joined the protest. Tony Kearns, the senior deputy general secretary of the CWU union, said, “Climate change is a trade union issue. It will have a big effect on employment.
“Workers have to engage with these issues. It’s not just about jobs – workers will have to survive under climate change.”