Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Campaign Against Heathrow's Third Runway Gathers Momentum

Theresa May: for or against?
Heathrow's new runway was given the green light by the Government last year, despite strong opposition in West London.

The new runway's flight path will likely lie directly above Shepherd's Bush and Hammersmith - bad news for pretty much everyone in our neighbourhood.

A new organisation,, has been set up to fight the new runway. Prominently displayed on their poster is a quote from one Theresa May MP, who said back in 2010: "Like many local residents, I strongly welcome the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow".

The new face of Shepherd's Bush? Wikimedia
Of course, the Government has since changed its mind, but local residents have not.

According to the Hammersmith Society: "a third runway at Heathrow will mean a new flight path over Hammersmith and noise levels commensurate with those already experienced by Richmond.
The Government will shortly be launching the consultation phase of its proposal to build the third runway. It will be a vital opportunity for residents in areas - like Hammersmith - which will be affected by more aircraft noise and new flightpaths, to express their views."

handfnothirdrunway will be holding its first meeting on Monday 30 January at 7.30pm. The key speaker will be John Stewart (Chair of HACAN), who has years of expert knowledge campaigning to protect the rights of people living under Heathrow's flight paths. He will speak about campaign plans and facilitate a discussion about the implications of the third runway for Hammersmith and Fulham. The group's website is:

The meeting will be held in the Small Hall, Holy Innocents Church, Paddenswick Road, London W6 0UB. All are welcome.

Opposition to the new runway crosses party lines, with both Labour and Tories coming together in a rare expression of solidarity to oppose what will be a very, very noisy addition to Shepherd's Bush. Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, resigned his seat last year, forcing a by-election, which he subsequently lost.

Heathrow: busy, and getting busier. Wikimedia
The Third Runway has been under discussion for many years. Anyone who has been to Heathrow lately can hardly have failed to notice how over-crowded and busy it is, and how easily flights can get backed up, with aircraft circling endlessly overhead, waiting to land. Everyone knows that London needs more airport capacity; the problem has been: where to put it? No-one wants a new flight path over their house.

In 2015 the Davies Commission came out in favour of the Third Runway at Heathrow. Trouble is, this will create a new flight path going directly over central Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush. Yikes. 

Map of Heathrow runways. BBC News, 2008

So what can we do? Not much, it seems, now that the decision has been taken. You could write to your MP, Andy Slaughter, but he's already against the runway, and he's in opposition.

Better perhaps to write to the PM, or members of her cabinet, and urge the government not to build again at Heathrow. Better yet, let them know just how marginal many west London seats are, and will be again in 2020.  Hammersmith was a Tory target in the last election - and it will be again, especially as the area gentrifies.

The Shepherd's Bush Blog offers a personal view on life in Shepherd's Bush. If you would like to contribute a story about our neighbourhood, email us at

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