Heathrow’s greatest weakness has always been the number of people it affects due to its archaic location. It already affects more people than any other airport in Europe. Indeed, 24% of people in Europe affected by aircraft noise are under Heathrow.
As one might expect, this has meant that over the decades dozens of community groups, local council campaigns and other movements have sprung up and proliferated throughout the years. What they have lacked up to now is a joint platform to enhance their voices.
In politics synergy is important. Different campaign groups may well be required on important issues to represent the concerns of different types of people, but collaborating as part of a coalition will always achieve a much larger footprint than campaigning in isolation or as a single, clumsy Leviathan.
Messages can be focussed, rather than risk drowning each other out.
Crucial contacts can be shared and messages can be distributed more widely.
And most importantly of all, politicians and other public servants will be forced to take note, attend local community events and research into the arguments on each side. On an issue like the 3rd Runway when we have all the right arguments, this is crucial.
I’m very pleased that a coalition has been launched to act as a joint-platform for the many groups fighting against a 3rd Runway at Heathrow.
Under the stewardship of Zac Goldsmith, who is a principled and committed opponent of a 3rd Runway at Heathrow who I am delighted is continuing his campaign, I have little doubt that this coalition will be a powerful force in joining up the activities of various opponents of a 3rd Runway.
The coalition already has the backing of major Heathrow campaign groups, many of whom I have co-operated with over the years, including Stop Heathrow Expansion, HACAN and others.
On top of 18 local campaign groups it also has the backing of five local authorities (I am proud to say that the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead is one of them) and dozens of MPs.
As someone who has campaigned against a 3rd Runway at Heathrow for almost 12 years I am optimistic about the prospects for this coalition and intend to do everything I can to make it a success.
1. Adam Afriyie is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Ghana.
2. He has a strong background in science, technology and innovation.
4. He was Shadow Minister for Science from 2007-2010 and has a background in the information services and technology sector.
5. He is Patron of the Parliamentary Space Committee (PSC) and was Chair of the PSC between 2010 and 2015.