Members of Stay Grounded:- RisingTideUK, Biofuelwatch, Reclaim the Power, Vote No Heathrow and the No3rd Runway Coalition joined more than 100 others for a morning of music, speeches and solidarity outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London from 9am to show the government and Heathrow Airport Ltd what we thought of their irresponsible and dangerous plans to expand the airport.
The hearing determined that all of the legal claims against Heathrow’s expansion will go to a full Judicial Review (of the National Policy Statement on Airports - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-national-policy-sta… )by 2 judges for 2 weeks from the 11th or 18th of March in 2019.
There were 5 submissions: Local Authorities backed by Greenpeace and Mayor of London; Heathrow Hub, the rival expansion scheme; one by a resident impacted by Heathrow; Plus Friends of the Earth (EW&NI); and Plan B (both of these 2 specifically on grounds that the government has failed to deliver an effective plan to tackle the climate change implications of expansion).
The UK Government has argued that the Paris Agreement does not impose “a legal duty or obligation… to ensure that no more than these maximum temperature increases [1.5°C to 2°C] are reached”. This claim implies that because it is not against the law to bring about dangerous levels of climate change, the government is under no obligation to protect people from such threats. Plan B argued that Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister, has failed to give proper consideration to the impact Heathrow expansion would have on the Government’s ability to meet targets for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Grounds of claim brought by others include noise, traffic congestion and air pollution.
Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B, said:-
“This Government seems to believe that tackling the climate crisis means sticking to ‘business as usual’ with a sprinkling of ‘greenwash’ promises that improved future technology will come to the rescue. That’s fantasy politics and it’s grossly irresponsible. If we want to safeguard the climate stability on which we all depend, we need less emissions, not more; and we need a Government committed to investing in the cleanest forms of transport, not the most polluting kind. The broad coalition of devolved government and civil society lining up against the Government, is proof that this is not a political issue, it’s a coalition for the future of life on earth – one that everyone can get behind.”
John McDonnell, Labour Party, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, MP for Heathrow constituency Hayes & Harlington (most of which would be destroyed) - called for Direct Action, warning that if the democratic and legal processes fail, then direct action will win and that the third runway must not be built for the sake of the planet. Others echoed the call for Direct Action against Climate Change including RisingTideUK; a VoteNoHeathrow hunger striker and from Rising Up's Extinction Rebellion.
RisingTideUK also told of the International dimension and the launch of Stay Grounded. They said:-
"This week saw the launch of Stay Grounded an International Network offering solidarity to resist expansion around the planet. We are aviation and climate campaigners, NGO's, academics, trade unionists, frontline & indigenous communities, transport workers and affected residents - working for a just transition.
Aviation, one of the fastest growing GHG sources, in 2017 growing 7% with freight up 9% (doubling in 10 & 7 years respectively). There is a wave of global expansion with over 1000 new projects: 423 new airports; 121 new runways; 205 runway extensions; 262 new terminals and 175 new terminal extensions! Stay Grounded have launched a position paper outlining "13 Steps for a Just Transport System & for Rapidly Reducing Aviation and we urge you to join the 120 organisations that have signed-up to support it. This week and next are Weeks of Action on aviation infrastructure with open events organised in 15 countries and maybe some clandestine actions too? Resistance is worldwide: from Turkey where ancient forest is threatened with a new Istanbul Aerotropolis; Kenya, Nairobi Airport, where the Masai have been forced off grazing land held for millennia ; Indonesia, where homes destroyed while people were at work; and Austria, where Vienna's 3rd runway was ruled out by a regional court on climate change grounds, then overturned by a higher one.
So there's "Law" and "Justice". Different. Lets see which prevails today? International aviation emissions are not included in the UK Climate Change Act or the Paris Agreement but the Talanoa Dialogue Pacific Islands initiative may try to ensure that they are. The UK Government is trying to use the space in the UK emissions count set aside for future International aviation emissions, to justify and allow Heathrow expansion. 10 years ago the last UK Planning Act paved the way for the Infrastructure Planning Commission - through which all major infrastructure projects like Heathrow and Hinkley C (nuclear power station) now bypass local democracy. At the time Friends of the Earth said it stripped away 100 civil rights to protest, leaving only 2, the Law and Direct Action. Today we'll see if there are still 2? Also 10 years ago, John McDonnell, then a backbench MP, said the campaign to stop Heathrow Expansion would not be won without Direct Action. He was right then and he still is.".
Stay Grounded Network Weeks of Action enjoyed 27 events in over a dozen countries in 3 continents, that we so far know about https://stay-grounded.org/action-weeks/ .
Find some photos on flickr https://www.flickr.com/gp/164860673@N04/EfNB56
and a video clip on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/StayGroundedNetwork/videos/1212273742244823/?_…
"McDonnell calls for Direct Action" https://realmedia.press/stop-heathrow/