Flying banner over Parliament warns MPs of runway’s impacts
Today at 2pm Greenpeace volunteers launched a 25-sq metre flying banner from Parliament Square urging MPs to vote against the Government’s National Policy Statement on aviation, which supports the construction of a third runway at Heathrow.
The banner, held aloft by large reusable helium balloons, shows a polling card warning MPs that a vote for a third runway is a vote for climate change, air pollution and noise.
The warning comes as concerns about the climate impacts of a new Heathrow runway are back in the spotlight. It has emerged MPs will not be able to see a crucial progress report by the Climate Change Committee until Thursday, three days after the vote. According to the Sunday Times, the report will “warn that aviation and other emissions are growing so fast that homeowners and businesses may have to sacrifice gas cookers, central heating boilers and petrol cars for Britain to meet its climate change targets.”
The Climate Change Act includes a binding target of an 80% cut in emissions across the economy by 2050. Aviation is allowed a 120% increase over the same period, and is already on course to exceed this limit without a third runway.
The Heathrow area also has the worst air quality outside central London, with pollution above legal limits. Additional planes, and the additional surface transport to get the additional passengers on and off them, will make meeting air quality targets impossible. The government claims that the passengers can be moved by public transport, but the cost of this has been estimated by Transport for London as £18 billion, and Heathrow refuses to contribute more than £1 billion, while the government says no public money will be spent on this.
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, said:
“MPs should not allow ministers to lead them up yet another flight path. A vote for a new runway is a vote for climate change, air pollution and noise. A larger Heathrow means more toxic fumes in an area of London already suffering from illegal levels of pollution. It also means filling our atmosphere with as much extra carbon as emitted by an entire country. This vote is a moral choice about the kind of world we want to leave to the next generation. MPs must decide whether shorter check-in queues are more important to us than our grandchildren having a chance of decent lives.”
Neil Keveren from Harmondsworth, one of the villages that will be partially demolished for the new runway, said:
“Heathrow have lied to the local residents about every development built there. Every time they expand they send us all a letter promising they will never try to expand again, and we know not to trust a word they say. Now MPS are saying that more planes emitting more pollution, more noise and more carbon will magically reduce noise, reduce pollution and reduce carbon, because Heathrow told them so. It really is beyond belief, and it should be for our MPs too.”
Pictures of the action can be downloaded here.
Contact: Greenpeace Press Office – firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7865 8255
Graham Thompson, Press Officer in Parliament Square – 07801 212 960