The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

15 January 2009

Stop the runway; join the airplot

Plans for building a third runway at London’s Heathrow airport have been approved by the UK government. There is widespread opposition to this from environmentalists as well as the two main opposition political parties who feel that a stop should be made to any airport expansion if the UK is to reduce its carbon emissions to the extent that will be needed to halt and reverse global warming. The most optimistic forecast for when the new runway would become operational is 2019, by which time the world will have had to come to terms with peak oil and the consequences of our inaction on climate change.

Greenpeace UK has developed a campaign for opposing the runway plan by buying a plot of land where it is to be built and then inviting people opposed to the runway plan to become co-owners. Sign up to join the Airplot and co-own a bit of land that will be needed for the runway. Do this at:

Here’s what Greenpeace say:

We've bought a piece of land slap bang in the middle of the proposed third runway site at Heathrow. We're not going to let the runway get built and we need your help.

 The government plans to go ahead with airport expansion across the country even though this means we'll have no hope of meeting our climate emission targets. At full capacity, Heathrow would become the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions in the whole country. We can't let this happen if we are serious about tackling climate change.

 We've bought the plot at Heathrow to make sure that climate change cannot be ignored. We will challenge the proposals every step of the way. We will give evidence at the planning inquiry, resist the compulsory purchase of the land, we will campaign during the national election and final, if necessary, we will stand with the community of Sipson and stop the bulldozers. The village of Sipson, including 700 homes, businesses, the local school and several local pubs, will be flattened to make way for the third runway. 

 We have four legal owners on the deeds: Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson, comedian Alistair McGowan and prospective Tory parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith and Greenpeace UK. That's the maximum number of owners we can put on the deeds, but we're inviting everyone to join the plot as a beneficial owner and stand beside us to resist all attempts to build the runway.

 You'll be joining beneficial owners who've already signed-up including local Labour MP John McDonnell, Tory frontbench spokeswoman Justine Greening, Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, environmentalist George Monbiot and acclaimed climate scientist and Royal Society Research Fellow Dr Simon Lewis.

 We'll be depending on thousands of people to join the Airplot community in the coming months and years to put pressure on your MPs, write letters to local media, join us at events, tell friends, and come up with your own ideas to make sure that everyone in the country know that we must stop airport expansion if we are going to stop runaway climate change.

 The government says that we need the third runway to create jobs in these tough economic times. But building a runway in 10 years time will do nothing to stop a recession now. And the benefits to the economy have been completely overblown by the government. In fact an independent study commissioned by WWF suggests that the true cost of a third runway would lead to a £5 billion loss.

In truth the government has few allies outside the aviation industry on this issue. Scientists including the government's former Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King, the head of the environment agency, Chris Smith, cabinet ministers Ed Miliband and Hillary Benn, all major opposition parties, and an increasing number of Labour MPs have all spoken out against the plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Link Now we need your help! Join the plot and help stop airport expansion.
Check out Plane Stupid, the campaign against airport expansion:


Blogger Derek Wall said...

Ballot papers going out for Britain's second largest union General Secretary, please spread the word about the one candidate in the race who wants to stop Heathrow expansion

'Backing nuclear power and Heathrow expansion is a disgrace. Wreaking havoc on the environment in the name of jobs is without vision and a falsehood.

An immediate public works programme building schools, hospitals, council houses and raliways would create 100,000 jobs. Renewable energies such as wind, sea and solar can provide a million new jobs', argues Jerry Hicks

8:00 pm  
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