A visit to Sipson

As many of you will know, the village of Sipson lies to the north of Heathrow’s two existing runways. If the construction of the third runway goes ahead, much if not all of the village will be demolished.

Wakeup Ealing went to a recent public meeting in Sipson about Heathrow expansion. About a hundred local residents came to the meeting, together with their Member of Parliament, John McDonnell. Some anti-expansion campaigning organisations also attended, including Stop Heathrow Expansion, HACAN, & Stop 700 More Group.

Various speakers made the following points, many of which are relevant to our own campaign in Ealing:

Judicial Review. The recent judicial review was lost as it wasn’t really the right stage for the appeal to take place, as appeal was only allowed on procedural matters. Nevertheless, further appeals have been lodged by Friends of the Earth, and the five Councils. Hillingdon apparently have a separate fund through which they will continue to pursue legal challenge to Heathrow.

June Consultation. Heathrow are to run another consultation starting in mid June as part of the Development Consent Order planning process. In this they must explain in detail how they will meet constraints around pollution, noise, CO2 emissions, etc. These areas will provide very strong grounds for appeal, as well as delay through legal challenge.

Planning Approval. The final decision on planning approval will go to the Secretary of State. It was pointed out that it would be brave Prime Minister or Secretary of State who would approve expansion against the backdrop of continuing climate change objections

Speakers made a series of interesting and relevant points:

  1. that the June consultation is very critical to Heathrow’s success
  2. that aviation and fracking were now increasingly seen as the villains of climate change
  3. that a cross-party group of anti-Heathrow MPs were seeing a much more sympathetic response in parliament
  4. that metropolitan (ie non-London) mayors were fighting back against continuing high investment in the SouthEast
  5. that the nearer we get to the next general election, the more that expansion will be seen as an electoral issue, especially as many affected constituencies are becoming increasingly marginal

Scottish National Party. It was also mentioned that the SNP are conducting a policy review, which they confirmed includes their previous approval for Heathrow Expansion. This is seen as an indicator of changing political opinion about aviation and the harm it does to our environment

We wish the village of Sipson every success in their very long campaign for their survival.

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