'Grow Heathrow' community resists airport expansion

Environmental activists say runway expansion would make for 'the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the country'.

Rich Wiles | | Climate Change, Environment, Europe, England

London's Heathrow Airport is one of several sites considered in recent years to address a purported need to raise the UK's airport capacity. BAA, the airport's owners, developed three plans during this time to build a third runway at Heathrow.

Each plan proposed expanding the airport and its infrastructure in to neighbouring villages, threatening local communities while raising the environmental cost to the wider area.

In the aftermath of a 2009 "Climate Change Camp" held in the area, local communities invited activists to maintain a presence in the villages as a focus for local resistance against Heathrow's expansion of the airport expansion. The proposed site was a disused market garden that had become a dumping ground for rubbish in the village of Sipson.

Over the next two years, more than 30 tonnes of rubbish was removed as activists established "Grow Heathrow" - an "off-grid" community that aims to support local villages in their struggle against the airport's expansion.

In June 2015, after three years of deliberation, the UK's Airport Commission finally recommended the building of a third runway at Heathrow. In response, Airport Watch, an environmental group opposed to the expansion, said Heathrow would become "the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the country".

Despite the decision and an ongoing High Court eviction case against them, activists remain at Grow Heathrow supporting the villagers and continuing their work of "cultivating cultures of community resistance".

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