Socialist Worker

Ground Heathrow expansion plan to save the planet

Issue No. 2659

Protesting against Heathrow expansion

Protesting against Heathrow expansion (Pic: Extinction Rebellion)


Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson famously said he would “lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction” of Heathrow airport’s third runway. He should get ready for action.

On 1 May MPs approved a motion declaring a climate emergency. On Tuesday this week Heathrow announced it intends to have built a third runway by 2026.

If this goes ahead it will have massive environmental effects. It will be another signal that for capitalism and its supporters it is still “business as usual”, despite public pledges of action on climate change.

In June last year MPs backed Heathrow’s £14 billion expansion by 415 votes to 119.

Although the Labour Party’s position was to oppose, it gave its MPs a free vote. Expansion was supported by 119 Labour MPs—just 96 voted against.

This was partly helped along by the support for expansion from the Unite, Community and GMB unions, along with the TUC. The Scottish National Party abstained.

As tempting as the thought of Johnson getting flattened may be, it is unlikely he will put his money where his mouth is.

Socialists, climate campaigners and trade unionists should put the brakes on Heathrow expansion.

It’s another reason to join the students’ and workers’ strikes in September.

And union leaders should argue for investment in green jobs, not push for more that are tied to a system that threatens us all.


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