Sunday, 25 January 2009

Say NO to a third runway at Heathrow

Air travel is bad!

Air travel is extremely damaging to the environment, and new runways take up vast swathes of green land. On Wednesday there will be a vote in parliament on a proposed third runway at Heathrow. Ahead of this vote there is a chance to put pressure on Labour MPs to vote with their conscience and say NO to a third runway. Campaigners already have the support of the LibDems and Tory MPs.

Click here to send a letter to 57 Labour MPs, asking them to vote against a third runway.

The government is asking all of us to reduce our energy consumption while they plan to build another runway at Heathrow, which is hypocritical. But if those 57 Labour MPs who signed an Early Day Motion against airport expansion last autumn were to vote against a third runway in parliament on Wednesday it would add to the cross party opposition to the runway and will put enormous pressure on the government. It will certainly be a big blow to the government's insane plans to expand Heathrow.

Please take a couple of minutes to send that letter in the link above to all 57 MPs who have opposed Heathrow expansion and ask them to stick to their principles at the vote next Wednesday.

29 January 2009: Today the campaigners sent out the following good news:
Hey Airplotters,
Thank you to everyone who emailed key Labour MPs and asking them to vote against the third runway yesterday. The response to our email was so huge that we inadvertently overwhelmed a few MP's inboxes – just going to show the strength of feeling about this issue! We were a bit unprepared for the level of enthusiasm we got from you all, so thanks for that.
The opposition to the runway has clearly made its mark on parliament, and when it came to the vote last night, we saw a historic rebellion. Twenty-eight Labour MPs voted against the government's plans to add a third runway to Heathrow – supporting the 'opposition day motion' brought by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. That's a bigger rebellion than even we were expecting – Gordon Brown clearly has a serious political problem on his hands over aviation expansion. It was the biggest Labour rebellion on an opposition motion since they came to power in 1997.
There's a good chunk of coverage about the vote around the web – for a quick couple of bits The Guardian has it along with a list of the Labour MPs who rebelled, or it's also on BBC News. If you want a bit more geeky detail about last night’s vote, has an interesting break-down of what happened.
Interestingly, the Labour rebels included three former Labour environment ministers – Michael Meacher, Chris Mullin and Nick Raysnford – who presumably felt they had to vote against the government, given that Heathrow expansion would be a climate change disaster and make it effectively impossible to meet the UK's carbon reduction targets.
MPs with seats local to the airport were also strongly represented in the group of rebels. As a third runway would blight millions of Londoners with more noise and air pollution, and flatten an entire community, it's difficult to see how any MP local to Heathrow could vote with the government and still represent their constituents adequately.
Whatever the government claims, that they have so much difficulty keeping their own MPs in line shows that practically no-one apart from BAA and a few aviation die-hards in the cabinet actually want Heathrow expansion. Last night was a good start – (thanks!) – now we're just really excited about rolling out the Airplot campaign over the coming year. We hope you're excited about being a part of it...
Christian Hunt
Thursday 29th January 2009

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