CogitamusCase Studies → Case Study: Win My Battle

Case Study: Win My Battle

Since 2007 we have been working with organisations committed to preventing the further expansion of London’s Heathrow Airport by means either of an additional runway or the more intensive use of the existing runways.

The first phase of our work involved helping to make the case to the Labour Government not to allow the introduction of so-called “Mixed Mode” operation at Heathrow.  Mixed Mode would allow aircraft to take off and land from the two runways simultaneously, thus depriving local people of the respite from noise created by the present alternation of runways half way through each day.  In 2009, the Government confirmed that it would not permit such a change to take place.

However, it remained the Labour Government’s policy to permit the construction of a third runway at Heathrow, so we worked with the alliance of objectors to undermine this position within the Labour Party, to move the Conservatives to a position of opposing the third runway, and to amplify the opposition of the Liberal Democrats to the proposal.  This work helped to ensure that the Coalition Agreement underpinning the new Government in 2010 enshrined the rejection of both the third runway and mixed mode operation.

The creation of the Airports Commission under the chairmanship of Sir Howard Davies in 2012 brought renewed attention to runways policy.  We worked with the Council of the London Borough of Hounslow to support its policy for a better rather than a bigger Heathrow.  A notable element of this work was an intense campaign to defeat the proposal from the Mayor of London for a new airport to be constructed in the Thames Estuary, leading to the closure of Heathrow and the loss of many thousands of jobs.

Hounslow Council made a strong case for the retention of a 2-runway Heathrow with continued alternation, improved surface access and greatly enhanced environmental mitigation measures, in particular to provide relief for residents, schools and businesses from aircraft noise.  The Council’s advocacy was singled out by Sir Howard Davies for special praise when the report of the Airports Commission was published on 1 July 2015.