Vince Cable, UK Secretary of State for Business, headed up a list of speakers from all political parties at a rally against a third runway at Heathrow at a rally in London last night.
Politicians from across the political spectrum lined up with environmental chiefs, local authority leaders, businessmen and trade union leaders to pledge opposition to a third runway at Heathrow.
Hundreds of people from London and the South East, including many whose homes are threatened by a new runway, filled the hall.
Many of the speakers at the event organised by HACAN highlighted the inconsistency between building additional airport capacity and meeting climate change commitments. 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.
Vince Cable MP, speaking on behalf of his constituency and the Liberal Democrat party, made it clear that Liberal Democrat policy remained one of total opposition to a third runway. He said there was no sound economic reason why Heathrow needed to expand.
London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon also spoke at the event, emphasising the near total opposition of the London Assembly to Heathrow expansion.
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.
Zac Goldsmith spelt out the impact of another 250,000 planes a year on local communities.
John McDonnell, the Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, thousands of whose constituents are facing the loss of their homes, predicted that any decision to go-ahead with a new runway would result in the biggest direct action environmental protest in Europe.Other Labour politicians speaking out were Andy Slaughter MP and London Mayoral Candidate Christian Wolmar.
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”.
There will be a large “Time to Act” march, on Climate Change, in London on Saturday 7th March. There will be a “No New Runways” bloc, for people who particularly want to show their opposition to a new runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick, as this would create huge extra carbon emissions – at put the UK climate target at risk.