As the banner on top of this London – Manchester flight says, we’re in the middle of a climate emergency. The fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is just about to get another boost from Brown’s government. On Wednesday, the consultation on whether to nearly double the size of Heathrow by building a new runway will close, and the government looks set to cave in to the aviation industry.
This morning, four of our volunteers have climbed on top of a plane at Heathrow and are wrapping a banner around the tailfin. The plane – one of 32 flights every day between London and Manchester – had just arrived in Heathrow and the passengers had disembarked when four volunteers walked through the double doors at Heathrow Terminal One, crossing an area of tarmac and climbing onto the fuselage of the British Airways flight.
100,000 flights a year go between Heathrow and destinations that are easily reachable by train (the most popular destination is Paris – easily reachable by the Eurostar). And, looking at the price of train travel in Britain, it’s understandable that some people are still choosing to fly. If the £9 billion tax subsidies the aviation industry receives to make flying cheaper and airports bigger were spent on making trains cheaper and better, we could reduce the environmental impact of Heathrow instead of vastly increasing it.
Security threat? Yes, we’ve exposed a security hole at Heathrow, but we’ve done it to expose the gaping hole on Brown’s climate change policy. Brown’s carrying on as though climate change has never happened. The planet’s leading scientists are warning us we only have a few years left to get climate change emissions down, yet, if the aviation industry is allowed to expand as predicted, aviation alone would destroy any hope of hitting his emissions reductions targets.
There’s still time to stop Heathrow expansion – add your voice to the roar of opposition, and come along to the rally at Westminster tonight.