Heathrow Expansion -Why It Matters and How To Object

heathrow expansion

Expanding Heathrow Airport is in direct contravention of the UK Government’s stated aim of reducing emissions and acting on the Climate Emergency.

This is also a local issue for Dorking (sandwiched as we are between Heathrow and Gatwick). Your voice matters. A proportion of additional air traffic will be routed over Mole Valley.

The Airport Authority’s glossy books, expensive publicity and consultations with the public are not the whole story: this expansion will devastate carbon neutrality targets.

Please write to them at feedback@heathrowconsultation.com  and do it before their Friday September 13th deadline.

If you’re not sure what to write, here’s a sample letter.

But use your own words as far as possible.

One more thing? Think about your own choices too. Cutting down air travel (alongside moving to a plant based diet and joining a group like ours) is one of the top 3 things any individual can do to help combat the climate crisis.

Sample Letter For Objecting to Heathrow Airport Expansion

Your address & date here. (Needed for them to know you’re a real person!)

Dear Sirs,

My objections to Heathrow expansion.

The UK government has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2050:  even that target is weak, given the urgency of climate change.

However, the proposed new runway will cost billions, will cause unbelievable (and still not fully known) disruption to people’s lives for years, will increase air and noise pollution and speed up global warming because of increased aircraft traffic and also the huge amounts of building work required. The ‘cosy’ image put forward in much of the Heathrow publicity looks like ‘greenwash’ to me.

Financial compensation does not compensate for ruined lives.

We cannot have ‘business as usual’ when the world as we know it is crumbling around us.

As I write, the Bahamas is facing its worst ever hurricane, the Amazon is burning more than ever before and Greenland glaciers are melting at an unprecedented rate.

Forgetting about the human cost (as yet unknown but considerable) there is the financial cost.  Governments around the world are facing larger and larger reparation costs as climate events increase in frequency and intensity.

And we cannot have infinite expansion in a finite world.

To be specific about Heathrow:

The ‘on the ground’ work needed to build a third runway:

  • The amount of work needed is huge: Airport expansion will demolish much of Harmondsworth; the village of Sipson will host a 24,000 space multi-storey car-park; the M25 will have to be moved 150 metres west and run through a tunnel under the new runway and taxiways; green belt land will be built on, including converting a playing field into a huge car-park; existing roads will be diverted and new roads built… this is an extraordinary amount of disruption to benefit big business and frequent flyers at the expense of local people.
  • Getting millions of people each year to a new Heathrow runway will need a big expansion of road and rail networks. Transport for London estimated this will cost around £18.4 billion, whilst Heathrow have said they will contribute just £1 billion. Who pays the rest?

Air and noise pollution during building works and with another runway

Has anyone looked into the huge cost to the NHS from all the extra pollution and mental health problems that the expansion will cause? What figures have been given? Have there been any investigations into the health implications of the expansion?

  • The UK has breached legal requirements to lower its levels of air pollution for years.
  • Heathrow is already the single worst ground-level pollutant in the UK, caused by huge numbers of vehicles which travel there + aircraft and heavy vehicle movements at the airport.  Engine emissions at altitude don’t have to be included so it’s even worse.
  • Building work will take years and create colossal carbon and other pollution.
  • Heathrow plans to make the area a low-emissions zone whilst creating 50,000 car-park spaces. Air quality around Heathrow has been in breach of air pollution limits for years.
  • Studies reveal links between areas with high noise pollution and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. c3,000 houses will become uninhabitable because of noise and others will be seriously affected.
  • Runways and the traffic that brings passengers to airports worsen air pollution, which is linked to increases in asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.
  • In Surrey we have no idea how we will be affected by the huge increase in air traffic and flight paths. The detailed plans do not mention flight paths.  At what point will we know this?

There are many other issues to consider but I would like to end by asking why we need airport expansion min the first place.  For cheap weekend holiday breaks to Europe?  For flowers flown in from Africa and fresh peas from Central America? These are luxury items. And there are alternatives which won’t cost the earth.

I do not want my taxes to go towards this project:  if there is money to spend then improve the rail transport network.

  • Roughly 25% of flights from Heathrow are to destinations less than 500 km away and are accessible by train. If half of the 3rd runway’s cost was spent upgrading our rail system and increasing subsidies it would benefit everyone, not just the 10% of regular fliers.
  • Around two thirds of passengers traveling on flights from UK airports are UK residents and this means fewer people holidaying at home. It’s estimated this loss to British tourism is contributing to a £17 billion annual tourist deficit in the UK. Let’s improve the rail network, make train travel cheaper than air and advertise our beautiful country to encourage UK people to holiday in the UK.

There is no Planet B.  Drop Heathrow expansion plans and think of the future of the world, its children and those who are yet to be born.

I look forward to hearing from you.

And Finally … Time To Do Your Bit

Dorking Climate Emergency needs your help.

We have lots of little tasks that need doing (writing to MPs; visiting councillor surgeries; writing to supermarkets).

Every little offer of help welcomed. Training/guidance provided.

email: contact@dorking-climate-emergency.net or call: 01306 889278

Keep trying if you don’t hear straight back from us. We have jobs kids and busy lives just like everyone else.