Dear Heathrow 13,
As long-standing opponents of a third runway at Heathrow, we want to express our support and solidarity to you all.
Recently, hardly a month has gone by without a new temperature record being broken, fresh floods bringing misery to communities across the UK, or yet another study warning about the impacts of air pollution on our health. The consequences of our dependence on dirty fossil fuels are getting more visible with every passing day, yet our political leaders’ willingness to deal with the problem isn’t.
If it’s ever built, the third runway at Heathrow will be a living monument to our government’s complacency. Ministers know that a new runway would emit as much carbon dioxide as the whole of Kenya, as well as causing many more people to die prematurely from air pollution.
If you think about it, it’s not extraordinary that 13 activists took peaceful, non-violent action to try to stop such a folly. What’s extraordinary is that there were just 13 of them.
When governments fail in their fundamental duty to protect their citizens, it falls on ordinary people to take up the fight for the common good. Ministers have shown they are good at giving speeches about the need for climate action but then fail with the actual decisions they take. If the Heathrow 13 are guilty of anything, it’s of being ready to act out the values our politicians only pay lip service to.
Our justice system is supposed to jail people who represent a threat to society, not the people trying to protect society. It’s would be a strange world where activists were sent to prison for an offence like trespass, whilst those backing a project that will almost certainly break crucial climate and air pollution laws are not even held to account.
Dear Heathrow 13, today you got what you deserve - our admiration, our gratitude, and our respect.
Keep fighting the good fight and see you on the other side.
Emma Thompson and Alistair McGowan