Slideshow: highlights from the 3rd runway campaign

Posted by jossc — 16 June 2010 at 10:17am - Comments

The battle over a 3rd runway for Heathrow became an iconic struggle between those of us who know the climate change threat is deadly serious, and those who preferred to gamble our collective future in search of short-term profit. And when that latter group includes such heavyweights as the Department for Transport and the British Airports Authority, you know you're in for a fight - even when the science is on your side.

In the event it took three years of hard campaigning, and the building of a huge coalition of civil society (including residents' groups Hacan and NoTRAG, local councils, Climate Camp, WWF and RSPB) to bring the runway plans down.

This slideshow highlights some of the memorable moments along the way: hanging a banner from the tailfin of a Manchester to London flight at Heathrow; 3,000 supporters forming a giant 'NO' on land earmarked for the runway; the 'No Third Runway' flashmob at Terminal 5; and the moment when Greenpeace revealed we’d bought part of the runway site and invited everyone around the world to join us on the deeds. By the end of the campaign, over 91,000 people had become owners of the Airplot.

Along the way the case for expansion was comprehensively dismantled: rather than generating £5bn for our economy, it was shown that the runway would have left the economy £5bn worse off once the environmental impacts were properly factored in; and BAA and the DfT were caught fiddling the figures to hide the real increases in air and noise pollution which would inevitably result.

Finally, during a judicial review, High Court judge Lord Carnwarth called the government's case to be "untenable in law and common sense". It was a crucial moment which recognised for the first time the impact aviation is having on our climate, and effectively left the plan dead in the water.

Once again, a huge thank you to everyone who played a part. Other airport expansion plans are still in the pipeline, so we'll need to keep up the pressure on the new government - but this victory laid down a huge marker that climate change is deadly serious, and "business as usual" is no longer an option.

About Joss

Bass player and backing vox in the four piece beat combo that is the UK Greenpeace Web Experience. In my 6 years here I've worked on almost every campaign and been fascinated by them all to varying degrees. Just now I'm working on Peace and Oceans - which means getting rid of our Trident nuclear weapons system and creating large marine reserves so that marine life can get some protection from overfishing.

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