Heathrow is the UK’s busiest airport with approx. 1300planes taking off and landing there every day. It sees approx. 80 million passengers a year and if you live anywhere near Heathrow you will know of the traffic it brings every morning and evening in the rush hour.
So imagine everyone’s horror in the area when it was proposed that another runway was to be built bringing an additional 700 planes with it each day. You see in order for this great runway to be built an entire village would have to be lost plus more. In total 761 homes would have to be demolished in order for the runway to be built.
Panic rose through the surrounding communities as consultations were held as far back as 2007. Which community was going? How were they going to choose? Draw it out of a hat maybe? The tension in the area grew. Speculation was thrown around. Finally it was decided, Longford was the chosen one and would be going along with a number of homes in nearby Sipson.
Not only would homes be destroyed but it would bring disruption to thousands of people and businesses in the area. The M25 would be rerouted through a tunnel under the airport and local roads and rivers would be diverted. Terminals at the airport would also have to be revamped to take the extra passengers.
On the other hand the extra runway could boost the economy and create extra jobs. The extra runway could boost our trade links with international/non-EU countries which would be beneficial especially now we are out of the EU.
The project got the go ahead from the Labour government in 2009 but was scrapped under David Cameron/ Nick Clegg government in 2010. It was given the green light again in 2016 under Theresa May, something that was seriously opposed under Boris Johnson, especially since it affects his constituency Uxbridge and Ruislip.
Boris Johnson back in 2015 said, “I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway.” So he is in a tricky situation or is he?
The case was taken to court in the first instance and won by Heathrow airport and the government. However this was not a welcome result for climate protestors, some MPS (in which the expansion would affect their constituency) and also the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
On the 27th February 2020 the case was heard again in the court of appeal and this time it was a celebration for the appellants, as Heathrow Airport and the Government found themselves on the losing team. It was ruled that the expansion of Heathrow was in direct contradiction of the Paris Agreement which had been signed under Theresa May’s government.
The agreement states that by 2050 we have a set target of net zero emissions. The judge implied that whilst the building of a third runway was unlawful against the agreement, with a few amendments from the governments on its policy then it could be given the green light. So what is the issue?
The government has issued a statement stating they are not pursuing a case at the Supreme Court as they are not wasting tax payer’s money on the case. That is a first… So is this the government making a stand on spending or is this Boris Johnson’s way of making his point of not backing the plans?
The government has advised if Heathrow wishes to take the case further they can do so, but they do it on their own merit and with private funds and without the backing of government. So that is what they are going to do.
Government have not said not never, nor have they said either way but with Mr Johnson’s feelings on the plan’s made very clear I think the backing of government is not going to come freely. However, which way the case goes in the Supreme Court remains to be seen. In the meantime, the people of Longford continue to enjoy their homes for as long as they can.
Image Credit to Sky News
Written By: Victoria-Jayne Scholes