With the government set to give Heathrow Expansion a green light, I have been working with the legal departments of Greenpeace on a radical new strategy. I have teamed up with a small number of high profile people to effectively buy the land that has been earmarked by the government for the third runway. What follows is a press release describing what we?ve done. If you are able to, please consider becoming a ?beneficial owner?. It?s very easy. You can do it by visiting: Greenpeace
GREEN CAMPAIGNERS BUY HEATHROW RUNWAY SITE FROM UNDER MINISTERS? NOSES
Oscar-winning actress, TV comedian, Zac Goldsmith and Greenpeace tell Hoon, ?We?ve bought your runway, and you?re not getting it back.?
The land earmarked by the Government for the construction of a third runway at Heathrow airport has been bought from under the noses of ministers by a coalition of celebrities, scientists, politicians and green campaigners.
Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson has been joined by Alastair McGowan, Greenpeace, Zac Goldsmith and others from across the political spectrum, who now own the site. They exchanged contracts on the land ? a field north of the airport – last week, and now legally own the plot. They say they will never sell it to BAA or allow the airport operator?s bulldozers onto their site.
TV impressionist Alistair McGowan said:
?BAA were so confident of getting the Government’s go ahead, but we have cunningly bought the land they need to build their runway. Now that we own it, we’ll never sell it to them and we’re confident that we’ll be joined by people from all over the world who will help us defend it. No government which is serious about tackling climate change would ever think of expanding Heathrow, and because we care about our planet?s future and our children’s future, we are not going to let them. In the end aviation expansion will have a serious effect on sea levels and will decimate the very countries people feel it is their right to fly to. This isn?t just about the destruction of Sipson but the destruction of the world as we know it.?
The deeds to the site – right at the heart of the Government?s proposed plan for Heathrow expansion – were signed on Friday by Thompson, McGowan, Conservative Party green advisor Zac Goldsmith and Greenpeace director John Sauven (PDF of deeds on request).
Zac Goldsmith said; ?At every stage, this Government has ignored public opinion and the science of climate change. It pushed through a sham consultation, relied on a hopelessly flawed economic model, and has danced shamelessly to BAA?s tune. The decision to expand Heathrow is an affront to democracy. That?s why we?ve joined together to buy a plot on the runway ? we?ll fight these plans every step of the way.?
Greenpeace is inviting members of the public to also become beneficial owners and pledge to do what they can to defend the land from the Government and BAA. The green group hopes to attract thousands of people to take a stake in the land, under the campaign banner AIRPLOT.
Beneficial owners who?ve already agreed to sign-up include local Labour MP John McDonnell, Conservative front bench spokeswoman Justine Greening, Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer and Royal Society Research Fellow Dr Simon Lewis ? an acclaimed climate scientist.
At full capacity, an expanded Heathrow would become the biggest single source of C02 emissions in the country. It would emit nearly 27 million tones of CO2 every year – equivalent to the emissions of 57 of the least polluting countries in the world combined (10).
Emma Thompson said:
?I don’t understand how any government remotely serious about committing to reversing climate change can even consider these ridiculous plans. It’s laughably hypocritical. That’s why we’ve bought a plot on the runway. We’ll stop this from happening even if we have to move in and plant vegetables.?
Greenpeace campaigners are today creating a message in chalk on the land, visible from the air, which will say ?OUR CLIMATE ? OUR LAND? (site visits on request, with elevated scaffold position for filming). Alistair McGowan started digging yesterday, and the message will be completed this week. Greenpeace director John Sauven says that the legal owners of the site will block the runway at every stage through the planning process and in the courts. They will never sell the land to Spanish-owned airport operator BAA, and if it comes to it many thousands of people will be prepared to peacefully defend their field in person, standing in front of bulldozers and blocking construction.
?We?ve thrown a massive spanner in the engine driving Heathrow expansion. As the new owners of the land where the Government wants to build the runway, we?ll resist all attempts at compulsory purchase and represent millions of people from across the world at any planning inquiry. And if it comes to it, Greenpeace will be joined by huge numbers of people to block BAA?s bulldozers from getting onto our land. This site will become a focus for climate campaigners across Britain and the wider world because this new runway cannot and will not be built. People wanting to take a stake in this project should go to the Greenpeace UK website and sign up.?
Geoff Hoon is expected to give the green light to a third runway and sixth terminal at the airport this week, claiming the development is important for the economy of the nation. But the BAA/government economic case for a third runway has been comprehensively discredited. On Sunday the Labour-leaning Institute for Public Policy Research stated that the runway would become a white elephant and called the economic case ?greatly overstated?.
Conservative frontbench spokeswoman Justine Greening, who has signed-up to be a beneficial owner of the site, said:
?At every stage the Government has ignored public opinion and shamelessly ignored the grave environmental risk of expanding Heathrow. At every stage, residents have made their concerns and views against further expansion very clear. The battle to stop Heathrow expansion will continue because preserving our quality of life is so important. I have got involved in buying this land to very actively represent the views of my own constituents. If the Government will not listen in Parliament, then ministers will find they have to listen in the courts.?
Members of the public interested in becoming members of AIRPLOT should go to greenpeace.org.uk. Beneficial owners are included in a legal deed of trust and are represented in any legal fight for the land by the four purchasers of the land. Greenpeace lawyers are looking into all options for using the land and its owners to block the third runway.
On January 13th, 2009, posted in: Heathrow Expansion, Press Release by Zac Goldsmith