Hacan Slams New Heathrow Plan To Fund Local Groups

Airport has offered to fund those in favour of expansion

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HACAN, the long-established residents’ campaign opposed to expansion at Heathrow has dismissed the Airport’s offer to find and fund local groups in favour of a third runway as “the actions of a desperate organisation, not confident of the arguments it is making.”

Heathrow is expected to announce today (September 9) that it will provide resources to grassroots groups that support further expansion of the airport.  Over the past fifteen years there have been pro-expansion lobby groups set up by the aviation industry, such as Freedom to Fly and Flying Matters, but this is the first time that Heathrow has sought to fund activity at a grassroots level.

Heathrow is expected to cite the results of a Populus poll it published in June which claimed almost half the people in the boroughs closest to the airport favoured expansion of the airport.  The poll found that 46% supported expanding Heathrow, compared to 43% who opposed expansion.  The telephone poll was out-of-kilter with previous surveys which have shown most residents are against expansion.  In May over 70% of people in Richmond, Hillingdon and Hounslow voted against expansion at Heathrow in borough-wide surveys. 

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “The fact that Heathrow Airport is reduced to scrambling around to fund residents who favour expansion is a clear sign that they are not confident that they will ever get permission for a new runway.  If they were, they would never use their money in this way.  In fact, we take it as a compliment to our success in stopping expansion last time round that Heathrow Airport feels the need to spend their money in this way".

Stewart added, “This will not turn out to be a battle between pro and anti expansion residents groups.  Last time we had considerable support from the wider environmental movement.  That support remains and will spring into action again should any firm proposal for a new runway ever see the light of day”.

September 9, 2013