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BAA bows to third runway opposition?

IMC UK Features | 11.10.2009 22:14 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Energy Crisis

Hot on the heels of Eon announcing delays on Kingsnorth, climate activists gained another major victory this week as BAA bowed to anti-aviation opposition of a third runway at Heathrow Airport. Following a seven year campaign, with a series of direct actions including mass action at Climate Camp 2007, the airport authority has said it will not yet be submitting a planning application to expand Heathrow.

In an unusal twist, BAA stated thay would not apply for the third runway before the general election, due to the possibility of the Conservative Party forming the next government (who claim to oppose the expansion). In which case they said they would give up the fight.

A spokesperson from NoTRAG said: "For over seven years, residents have pulled together, come together and campaigned together to stop a third runway. This may be our moment and a victory for future generations... If BAA can swiftly drop their plans following the party conference season then this clearly shows there has never been a compelling case for a third runway."

Emma Jackson, a spokesperson for the Climate Camp, stated: "E.ON and BAA know that the days of committing new climate crimes are over. Now we have to start shutting down existing coal-fired power stations, and that's why we're going to Ratcliffe-on-Soar next week." Climate Camp is calling for renewable energy to replace coal fired stations.

Links: NoTRAG | Plane Stupid | HACAN Clear Skies | Climate Camp | The Great Climate Swoop

Hanging out at BAA - with the riot cops.
Hanging out at BAA - with the riot cops.

The role that the, long predicted, impact of peak oil on aviation played in this decision isn’t known, but last year Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson acknowledged peak oil. Now that airport expansion is dead, for now, it’s also time for an end to road expension.

Previous features: Aviation expansion grounded | Resistance escalates with Airport 'Green' Light | Direct action cuts CO2 emissions | Heathrow to Kingsnorth Climate Caravan 2008 | Heathrow Protesters Uncover Spy Plot | Manchester Climate Change Activists Blockade Domestic Flights | Heathrow 3rd Runway: Flying in the face of public opinion | Climate activists glued to doors at East Midlands Airport | Court rejects ASBOS for airport activists | Plane Stupid's Day of Action | Protesters occupy runway at East Midlands Airport

IMC UK Features


Hide the following 15 comments it's time for the end to social inquality....?

12.10.2009 08:02

it is great that the third runway is not happening...a whole village saved from destruction...but stopping Co2 is only part what we are fighting for.

climate camper

Poor analysis

12.10.2009 11:56

It's misleading, inaccurate and dangerous to suggest that airport expansion is dead just because of this latest news story on the third runway. Anti-aviation campaigners have increasingly been seeing Heathrow as a distraction while smaller airports around the country are quietly working on expanding short haul and business class flights. It's also strange to look to the tories as champions here since they are keen to expand aviation, just not so keen on the dead duck deathrow - instead favoring other expansion options like a new airport in the Thames estuary.


To replace coal fired stations?

12.10.2009 13:54

"Climate Camp is calling for renewable energy to replace coal fired stations".

I'm involved with Climate Camp and have not been consulted about this call. Renewable energy cannot provide the same amount of power as fossil fuels. It will be necessary to use less electricity if we are to reduce our emissions. I work in the renewable energy industry and would like to use 100% renewable energy. To get there we will need a different economic system. Some people say "you anarchists are crazy; we don't need a revolution to stop climate change; these renewable energy technologies will do it". They have been miss informed.

- Homepage:


12.10.2009 14:26

Don't worry about the mistake in the article, it's not a direct quote or policy postition from the Camp for Climate Action, just an over simplified statement written by Indymedia editors and attributed to the camp.

not climate camp

Great, but....

12.10.2009 17:04

This is great, but we can't afford to forget about local airports. Even without Heathrow's third runway, if Aberdeen, Manchester, City Airport, Stansted, Bristol and Newquay airport expand, we're fucked.


Air expansion is not dead yet.

12.10.2009 22:10

You are right of course and it is a very poorly written or researched article to claim airport expansion is dead - clearly not written by anyone actually actively engaged in the campaigns.

correct the article please

Relevance of peak oil in this story

13.10.2009 12:05

What has peak oil got to do with this decision? Nothing!
Oil is half the price it was at it's peak (price) and will continue to be 'cheap' for as long as there is a global recession. When(/if) the recession is 'over' then oil prices will rise with demand but so will demand for air travel and so it will balance out to some degree.

Peak oil is certainly a reality but nothing to do with the Heathrow story. Whoever added that into the feature obviously has peak oil as one of their pet subjects and worked it in even though it has no place in the story. Meanwhile, as others have pointed out, the story fails to mention all the other battles taking place over airport expansion and instead makes the ridiculous and inaccurate claim that expansion is dead.

Surely it would be possible to interview people actually working capaigns such as Plane Stupid to make indymedia a journal of the movement rather than making features from rehashes of mainstream media reports with a few lines of indymedia editors pet projects thrown in for good measure.


Something missing

13.10.2009 16:46

Plane Stupid don't generally both posting on Indymedia and indymedia's editorial journalists obviously don't bother doing a little research themselves beyond cut and paste from the online newspapers. If either had been on the case then the feature probably wouldn't be proclaiming airport expansion dead.

Here's what the Plan Stupid website has to say on the mater.

"At the moment it's all speculation, but it doesn't take a genius to work out that expansion at Stansted and Heathrow is pretty sunk. But that doesn't mean that the battle is over. Across the UK craven councillors, regional development tossers and the Secretary of State for Climate Change are all trying to get regional airports expanded. While the third runway may have been the symbol of climate illiteracy, regional airport expansion is a testament to the self-important: "Bristol has to have a great big airport or I'll feel inadequate when I meet councillors from other cities."

So rest assured: Plane Stupid is not giving up and going home. While last week was an awesome one for climate change activists - agreement on deforestation in the Amazon, no Kingsnorth, no third runway - there's still plenty of fight to be had. Over the next year we'll be taking on the regional airport expansion programme and that great generator of demand, deliberately misleading airline adverts ("Fly to Barcelona right fucking now or you'll have nothing to talk about at work on Monday"). We'd really like you to come along for the ride."

I can't help but feel there is increasingly something missing from indymedia with most ongoing campaigns shunning the site and instead concentrating their efforts on their own blogs, social networking sites, hash tagged twitter campaigns, youtube channels, flickr photos pools, geotagged online mapping, and of course a renewed emphasis on making effective use the mainstream media. It's hard to see a use role for indymedia in this picture right now beyond being a home for conspiracy theorists and people who like to insert peak oil into every story.


Indymedia and The Times

13.10.2009 18:32

Looks like Indymedia's copy&paste style of reporting of the piece in the Sunday Times newspaper might possibly have been jumping the gun. Other news reports have since stated that BAA are claiming the story is not true.

A BAA spokesperson is quoted as saying, "We continue to work on the application and will take as long as is necessary to prepare a proper submission." Apparently this person also claimed that BAA had never intended to apply for permission before the general election anyway.

NoTRAG says that the expansion has an impact on the daily and long-term decisions of local residents, so they are calling on BAA to make an official announcement.

One Harmondsworth resident said: "You just get the impression that they enjoy playing around with people's lives, and they get away with it."

NoTRAG Vice Chair, Christine Taylor, said: "BAA says it is interested in engaging with the local community and regaining its trust, this would be an opportunity for someone at BAA to stick their neck out and tell us what the company is really planning."

It would be good if the editors of this website would correct or update the article.


A few comments

13.10.2009 19:15

On peak oil: The article didn't claim that peak oil caused the Heathrow application to be scrapped, but that it *may* have had an effect (but it is yet unknown).

Yes a little more research needed doing into airport expansion, unfortunately not all details were verified as the feature went up the same night it was written. Again this applies to having an interview with Plane Stupid, there wasn't the time for this.

Whoever thought this was copy & pasted is way off the mark. Yes information was taken that was printed in The Times, but was written entirely independent of this. If Plane Stupid had actually got round to releasing a press release in time it would have been mentioned, in this case they didn't, only NoTRAG and Climate Camp did. Not our fault!

Don't hate the media - Be the media!

Tories NOT anti-aviation

13.10.2009 20:53

BAA has vehemently denied suggestions that it has scrapped plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport in light of Conservative Party opposition. The airport regulator was responding to comments by Shadow Transport Secretary Theresa Villiers, who said the Tories had forced BAA to "give up" its expansion plans.

She claimed last week that the operator conveyed to her that it "will not be submitting a planning application before the election" – a charge it rejects.

The Conservative Party has made opposition to the proposed third runway at Heathrow Airport a key facet of its environmental and development policies. Tory frontbenchers insist the country can meet greater demand for travel by developing a new network of high-speed rail links. But to Labour and many in the corporate world, expanding the hub is the only way of keeping business travellers loyal to Britain.

Heathrow currently operates at 99 per cent capacity and delays are a common occurrence, with even minor incidents having a significant knock-on effect.

Insisting that expansion is still on the cards, BAA said: "We remain convinced that a third runway is the only viable, costed and thought-through way of meeting the need for extra runway capacity to maintain this country’s global connections to the rest of the world."

It also described the process of drawing up a planning application as "complex," adding that it "was always going to take until after the general election".

The rebuttal is intended to quell rumours the operator has abandoned plans for a third runway, which were ignited when Ms Villiers told The Times: "It seems BAA has woken up to the fact that we mean what we say on Heathrow and that ... there will be no third runway."

Labour has been a vocal supporter of the third runway, but the Tories are joined in opposition by environmental campaigners and local residents' groups.

Heathrow currently handles 65 million passengers and £50 billion worth of cargo each year. The British Chamber of Commerce recently warned that the UK misses out on £1 billion of economic prosperity for every year that construction of the third runway is delayed.

baa baa


14.10.2009 08:15

Is anyone going to correct or remove this feature, and perhaps promote the correction in the newswire? Or are you waiting on the Times to do it first.


And don't forget Farnborough Airport

14.10.2009 14:51

Farnborough is facing a doubling of movements if the planning application submitted by TAG Aviation gets approval.



15.10.2009 22:38

please check out a blog that i set up yesterday and has already had dozens and dozens of visits. It's basically an anti-e.on venture called please check it out, and i'll see you at ratcliffe on saturday...x

mail e-mail:
- Homepage:

This article is misleading and counter productive

25.10.2009 20:49

BAA's announcement about the planning application is simply a case of corporate spin and both the Times and Indymedia have done us all a disservice by publishing that spin.

BAA have never intended on putting the planning application in before the next election as a) these things take time, and b) they're waiting for the new planning regime to come into force.

So the truth behind the story is that BAA's plan continues on schedule.

The campaign against the Third Runway and the dangerous growth in climate wrecking emissions from aviation continues...