A new community campaign, “Back Heathrow”, has been launched today to give a voice to those residents who support Heathrow with Rob Gray announced as the Campaign Director.
Rob – who previously worked for the Aviation Foundation and who lives locally – has joined the campaign to fight for the jobs and businesses that rely on Heathrow.
The campaign has been established in response to polling published in June that showed more people in local communities around Heathrow back the airport than oppose it, and follows confirmation from the Mayor last month that his plans for a new hub airport would necessitate the closure of Heathrow.
The campaign is being launched with funding from Heathrow Airport and will now begin the process of identifying and recruiting local support. A new website, backheathrow.org, has been launched for the campaign, and from this week over 400,000 newspapers will be delivered to local communities surrounding the airport.
Rob Gray, Campaign Director for Back Heathrow, said, “For too long, the local residents who support Heathrow have been the silent majority in the debate on the airport’s future.
“I am delighted to be joining a campaign to give a voice to the many thousands of local residents who back Heathrow and whose businesses and jobs depend on the future of the airport.”
Heathrow Director of Corporate Affairs, Clare Harbord said, “One hundred and fourteen thousand jobs will be lost to the local community forever if Heathrow were forced to close – that’s one in five local jobs in the five boroughs closest to Heathrow. The threat to these jobs is now very real.
“Under the Mayor’s plans, the choice is not between a third runway at Heathrow or no third runway. It’s between a third runway at Heathrow or no Heathrow at all. So now is the time to back Heathrow.”
Local business people and residents – like Neil Martin from Parker Car Service in Isleworth and Sarita Sudera, a Security Officer at the airport from Heston – are already adding their voices to Back Heathrow.
“Everybody in this area benefits from the airport whether it be a local greengrocer or a big company. Where I was born in Feltham, everybody worked at the airport whether they worked for a cleaning company, a catering company, a transport company or for one of the airlines. It means so much for the local economy,” Mr Martin said.
“I have many friends who work at the airport and a lot of friends whose children or parents work there so it’s a lot about generations. Heathrow is our community, I can’t imagine what would happen if it wasn’t there,” Sarita Sudera said.
While initial funding has been provided by Heathrow, Back Heathrow is a community campaign. Please visit the Back Heathrow website for more information.