Make 28th August 2010 a day to remember
Date : Thursday 5th August 2010
Contributor : Christine Taylor
Yet again I'm hunched over a hot laptop in the early hours of the morning writing emails and jiggling
with the website but for once I'm imagining life without the daily battle against the third runway.
I still believe there is work to be done to ensure the runway is killed off for good but, after the coalition
decision to scrap the runway during its time in power, we at last have something to celebrate.
I'll save my concerns about regenerating the blighted villages for another day and look ahead to 28th August
and the chance to thank all those people who have supported us.
There will no doubt be the great and the good - and quite a few politicians too! However, I'm hoping that some
of our grassroots supporters will be able to make the journey to join in the fun too.
Along the way we have met so many good people who have boosted our spirits. You can't fight a
campaign like this for eight solid years without having some fantastic moments to balance out bad times and
sheer hard work.
These friendships, no matter how brief, have been the unexpected bonus of taking up the challenge
to fight the government and the aviation industry.
If you had anything to do with opposing Heathrow expansion, whether you wrote a letter, signed a petition,
joined a march or pitched a tent at Climate Camp we'd love to see you at our big celebration.
You played a part in this amazing victory so make sure you are part of this big "Thank You".
Bonding with Climate Campers in Blackheath
Date : Tuesday 1st September 2009
Contributor : Linda McCutcheon
Having been to the Climate Camps at Heathrow and Kingsnorth, I was keen to visit Blackheath. Many
of the Climate Campers from Heathrow have kept in touch and continue to offer support for the battle
against a third runway.
So, at 6.30am on a sunny but blustery September morning, fellow Sipson resident Jim Payne and I made
the journey across London to this year's camp.
We arrived just before 9am and all seemed very quiet. While some campers were still in their tents, a group
was already setting off with their placards and drums for a demo. One of many protests that have taken place
in Central London over the past week.
In no time at all we spotted familiar faces and were warmly welcomed, as always. We made our way to the
main reception tent, to get a schedule of the day's workshops, and were surprised to see our pictures decorating the walls!
After picking up our programme, we went off for a cup of tea - eco-friendly with soya milk - and bumped into yet more people we knew;
Martin who first met us at the Heathrow camp and Anna (with toothbrush in hand) who has been instrumental in organising the
Greenpeace Airplot in Sipson.
Jim and I continued to spot people we'd met at previous events and all were very pleased to see us and get an
update on the NoTRAG campaign.
Between the chats with friendly faces, we caught our first workshop of the day - 'How not to be
arrested' - as if!!!
Talking of arrests, you might be interested to know that the police were very low key. You had to really
look to find one - a strategy that worked as I heard there was only one arrest and that wasn't on camp.
A lesson learned.
We'd worked up an appetite and had a lovely lunch of pasta salad and Kiwi crumble, the first time Jim and I
had had dinner and pudding on the same plate! Very nice though.
Our second workshop was 'Fighting Climate Change means fighting Racism and taking Direct Action' run by Dan Glass,
a young man who once glued himself to Gordon Brown's sleeve and is now part of the Adopt-a-Resident Scheme in the
Unfortunately, we had to leave before the end of Dan's workshop to wend our way home through the London traffic.
Trudging wearily back to the car we stopped at the BBC TV van to watch the local news which showed campaigners
removing the S from the SHELL building to make HELL. Clever.
Our day at the camp was lovely and I think the visit was appreciated as it reinforces the bond between the
Camp and our campaign.
It's not just about Sipson!
Date : Thursday 14th February 2009
Contributor : Christine Shilling
In 2002 I woke up from political indifference when I read the words 'only 240 dwellings and one Church.' (The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East)
Now years later I am hacked off by the army who believe it's all about Sipson. It's not. This is an evil, unsustainable, immoral expansion plan that will wipe Sipson off the planet, make Cranford uninhabitable, decimate Harmondsworth and Harlington, make life unendurable for Longford residents and many in West Drayton and Hayes. And that takes no account of the thousands of other West Londoners. No account of pollution criteria already breached. No account of the noise - no account of the 25 million extra vehicles on our already congested roads.
In the early days - na´ve and trusting I wrote to all relevant Cabinet Ministers. Pointless. Few replied - Estelle Morris was an exception. I grew used to the standardised idiot DfT speak - even the Church of England referred me to the DfT!!
I learned quickly. Petitions were pointless - so too were marches, protests and all kinds of events. Press Releases helped but nothing shook the aviation mafia.
And at every turn I heard 'must have a balanced view.' What nonsense! Balanced? How can it be balanced - neutral? Here we are fighting for our communities, a right to breathe clean air, a right to speak in our streets without having to stop for aircraft roar. Against us is an aviation industry - with access to money, Government and the lobbying power to quell opposition in the Commons and Lords. We are not only outnumbered but cannot get our story in prime time media. Oh we get contacted now all right. By students wanting interviews for dissertations - photographers wanting snaps of those about to lose their homes, journalists wanting to feed the appetite of Joe Public - the new sob story - those made homeless by Heathrow.
I've learned the media often just want their sob stories. I've learned the Parable of the Good Samaritan is timeless. I've learned that the aviation mafia are the new God. I've learned that consultations are cons - insults. I've learned not to believe a word I read in DfT speak and BAA speak.
I've also learned that citizens everywhere can see through the media cover up. And I'm left wondering - what DO YOU THINK? How many human beings is it right to sacrifice for Heathrow expansion? 1000 plus - the Sipson story? 3000 plus - the other villages affected? 150,000 plus - the extra West Londoners affected?
Lord Shaftesbury was dismissed as an idealist who did not understand economic realities. He had to campaign for over 20 years before Parliament limited a child's working day in a factory to 10 hours.
How long will it take YOU to realise that thousands of ordinary people are paying the price for aviation expansion?
Remember this: IT IS NOT JUST ABOUT SIPSON! That's what the aviation mafia, the Government and even the media might like you to believe. Maybe IF more of you woke up like I did all those years ago you'd realise this outrage - an airport extension equivalent, in size, to Gatwick tacked on to Heathrow is quite unthinkable in a democracy.