Friends of the Earth tell Johnson to keep promise on Heathrow expansion

Johnson once said he would "lie down in front of the bulldozers" to stop Heathrow.

Boris Johnson must act swiftly to reduce emissions and put the climate emergency at the centre of his premiership says Friends of the Earth.

The announcement comes as Friends of the Earth has been granted a hearing at the Court of Appeal over the expansion of Heathrow airport on climate grounds.

Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth chief executive, said:

“Boris Johnson said he’d ‘lie down in front of the bulldozers’ to prevent a third runway at Heathrow. Now he has the power to cancel this polluting project along with other climate disasters like fracking. And he must.

“The country is united in wanting an urgent response to the climate crisis.

“Swift government action will decide whether we are a nation with warm homes, clean air, and a thriving renewable industry or whether worsening extreme weather, wildfires and floods cause misery for millions. Prime Minister Johnson, the choice is yours.”

Johnson made his promise to lie in front of the bulldozers when elected to the seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, near Heathrow, in 2015.

When parliament voted on the Heathrow expansion in June 2018 though, Johnson missed the vote, and the bill passed easily as many Labour and SNP MPs did not vote against it.

Friends of the Earth is calling for decisive action to address the climate emergency in the first 100 days of the new Johnson administration including passing an emergency climate budget in the Autumn.

The campaign group say this must allocate billions of pounds of investment in areas like public transport, creating warm homes and planting millions of trees.

By the end of 2020 Friends of the Earth wants commitments on:

  • Transport: Invest in brilliant and cheap public transport, cycling and walking everywhere. New petrol and diesel cars shouldn’t even be for sale within the decade.
  • Power: Start aiming for 100% clean energy from the wind, sun and sea.  Electricity can’t come from dirty fuels anymore and fracking should be banned.
  • Buildings: Fund a massive insulation scheme and shift to eco-friendly heating – this will end the misery of cold, expensive-to-heat homes.
  • Agriculture and land use: Double tree cover and let wildlife thrive – our land is too precious to be given over to intensive farming.
  • Infrastructure: Start making climate change a deal-breaker in all spending decisions.  That means projects that fuel climate change, like airport expansion, can’t go ahead.
  • International justice: It’s time the UK paid its fair share to support more vulnerable countries to cut carbon pollution and deal with the impacts of climate change. 

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3 Responses to “Friends of the Earth tell Johnson to keep promise on Heathrow expansion”

  1. Tony

    This issue could cost him his seat as it would only take a swing of 5.5% to defeat him.

  2. Patrick Newman

    Johnson will not stop Heathrow so as the Labour Party seems to dither it will be stopped by legal action on grounds of prolonging the time pollution exceeds legal limits. Johnson even before becoming PM echos the sentiment of Cameron in wanting to get rid of all that “green crap”. The Right will be in charge of the Cabinet and they represent the ‘Dads Army’ that makes up most of the grassroots Tory Party! What he will do with the increasingly expensive HS2 is anybody’s guess. If he scaps it there would be scope for investment in rail services across the country. HS2 stops at Manchester and Leeds – still half the country to go!

  3. steve

    Labour has little credibility on the matter.

    More Labour MPs voted for the third runway than voted against – even though it is LP policy to oppose the third runway.

    Before the vote, Labour’s Lord Adonis wrote to all Labour MPs teliing them to vote for the third runway.

    Later, Adonis was parachuted-in as prospective MEP candidate for the South West.

    The LP can only regain credibility by ousting PLP Blairites.

    Let’s have a Labour Party that moves on from being an echo chamber for Tory policy.

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