adopt a resident

Transition Heathrow turns wasteland into community garden

Community activists from the group Transition Heathrow have taken over an abandoned market garden threatened by the third runway. Around lunchtime, 20 people "swooped" on the land in Sipson, one of the villages due for demolition if the third runway at Heathrow goes ahead.

More photos on Transition Heathrow's Flickr stream.

After securing the site, the group immediately informed their new neighbours and local residents of their intention to reopen the old market garden for the benefit of the local community. The 'Grow Heathrow' project aims to encourage and support locally grown produce in an area that once had some of the most fertile soils in Britain.

Transition Heathrow has launched the project to highlight the need for a community controlled food supply in order to remain resilient to the impacts of peak oil and climate change. It intends to use the old market garden not only for growing, but also for activities such as bike workshops, clothes making, solidarity support for local workers and direct action workshops for people trying to stop the third runway.

Transition Heathrow member and local resident Joe Rake, described the events of the day. "Around lunchtime, a group of us walked onto the site. Once we had secured the gate, we set about telling local residents why we were there and inviting them to join in. We also had to start tidying up as it appeared to have been used for scrapping cars. Since the last tenants were evicted, the site has attracted unsavoury characters, so we wanted to restart the market garden for the good of the local community."

Many of those involved in the 'swoop' see today's action as a positive way of resisting the third runway whilst building an alternative community solution in its place. Heathrow resident Amy Summer said "We've been fighting the threat of the third runway for years, and its blighted our community. This kind of action not only helps stop expansion but also helps regenerate the area, providing local skills, green jobs and organic produce instead."

"This form of direct action is just as important as sitting on a runway, blockading the bulldozers or striking for more green jobs. There's no point in growing your own veg if it's going to be covered in tarmac by BAA. At the same time there's no point in community resistance if there's no community left to defend. We have to do both," she added.

Residents fighting expansion at Manchester and Heathrow airports join forces

Residents who live on Hasty Lane at the edge of Manchester Airport are preparing to twin with Sipson at Heathrow. Campaigners will organise a live video link-up with residents near Heathrow airport, who would lose their homes if a third runway were built.

Manchest Airport has proposed expanding their freight terminal, which would demolish homes and a large section of the historic Hasty Lane. Hasty Lane residents aren't taking this threat to their community lying down, and have launched Adopt a Resident, which links local residents with direct action campaigners who will help them resist the demolition of their homes and acres of greenbelt land.

Last November Manchester City Council announced its climate change action plan. Despite owning the majority of Manchester Airports Group (which also owns Nottingham East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth airports) their supposedly visionary strategy ignored emissions from planes at Manchester Airport . The next day the Council Planning Committee approved plans to bulldoze people's homes on Hasty Lane.

Hasty Lane resident Peter Johnson said: "Together with Sipson residents, we are going to fight these irresponsible and unnecessary plans. Our local councillors all opposed the plans, but they were overruled. The council has let us down, but we’re not going to give up that easily."

Stop Expansion at Manchester Airport spokesperson Sian Jones said: "The residents aren't alone in this - climate justice campaigners from across Manchester and the country are backing them all the way." More power to their elbow!

Dance till the runways are gone

The weekend before last Plane Stupid activists joined residents from around Heathrow to celebrate the strength of community resistance to the third runway with an Adopt a Resident ceilidh. Not only was it a storming success, but it was on the eve of BAA announcing they’re probably going to shelve the third runway!

Never ones to to miss out on a dance, 18 Plane Stupid activists came all the way from Scotland complete with kilts, traditional songs, tartan bunting and 40 litres of veggie haggis! Word of the Scots’ arrival had even spread to the local bobby (and not, we hope, because of the NETCU database).

Local residents spun the activists round and round, stomping and yelling, whirling and twirling to the up-beat music of Cut-a-Shine. Surely there are few better ways to show country-wide solidarity than to dance together arm in arm?

After everyone was suitably sweaty from spinning and line dancing some choice speakers said some powerful words. It is obvious from this event that strong bonds have been forged across the country; as far apart as Heathrow and Aberdeen. Those threatened with compulsory purchase for Donald Trump’s housing and golf resort are not unlike the residents threatened by the Heathrow third runway: we're all suffering from a system that puts the wants of business before the needs of communities.

There followed some new Adopt a Resident pairings, joined in a ceremonial limbo under the arm tube before local band Pig Earth kicked off the rest of the night.

With haggis, kilts and Ceilidh dancing, Plane Stupid and NoTRAG showed BAA that there will no third runway and as if by magic some news the next day was excellent respite from a hang-over. If there’s an airport near you and a town hall close by, you’d better get your kilt on!

Adopt a Resident Autumn Ceilidh - get your dancing shoes on pronto!

It's widely claimed that famous anarchist Emma Goldman once declared that "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution," and who are we to argue? So make your way to the Adopt a Resident Autumn ceilidh for some revolutionary line dancing. Yee ha!

If you've never heard of a ceilidh, then now's your chance to find out. It's basically a communal dance with live bands, particularly popular in Scotland, Ireland and Climate Camp. There are generally fiddles, line dances and gingham.

The party is happening on 10 October, from 7pm – 11pm, at the West Drayton Community Centre, Harmondsworth Road, West Drayton. Awesome bands include Cut-a-Shine and Harmonsworth's very own Earth Pig.

Earlier this year over 50 activists adopted more than 50 residents who live in the communities threatened by a third runway. This is the latest event to bring activists and residents together, to build relationshships strong enough to resist the bulldozers.

Tickets are limited, going like vegan hot cakes and available from Plane Stupid Scotland: First come, first served, so don't be the sad panda sitting on the sidelines while everyone else shakes their tail feathers.

Hayes Carnival shows strength of community

We may not have had Blur, but the event of this summer was most definitely the Hayes Carnival. With colourful floats, brilliant music (all thanks to the wonderful Bicycology boys and their beautiful sound system) and entertainment for all the family, the Hayes Carnival was a thriving hub of community spirit.

With a float in the procession and a stall at the fair, Plane Stupid was on hand to provide a colourful reminder of the anti-expansion campaign facing BAA's ludicrous plans. We danced our way through the streets of Hayes with our carnival queen (local resident Linda) at our head, handing out 'No Third Runway' flags to the people on the streets, and even the odd lucky copper...

As with all the Adopt a Resident events so far, the reception we received was one of welcome and gratitude. The ladies of Hacan and NoTrag were out in force, but more than that we had a real chance to see how supportive the majority of those directly affected by the airport are for what we do... truly heartwarming stuff!

Tired from carnivalling, we wrapped up at our stall in a nearby park, spending the rest of the afternoon chatting to locals about Adopt a Resident, and indulging in that old family favourite 'Splat the Rat', but with a twist: the rat was a plane, and the weapon of choice none other than the parliamentary mace, all in honour of local MP John McDonnell.

We even managed to persuade him to pose for a cheeky photo, 'alternative' mace in hand...

Adopt a Resident visits Hayes Carnival

Last Saturday Plane Stupid popped along to the Hayes Carnival to talk about Adopt a Resident.

Local MP and staunch wielder of the Parliamentary Mace John McDonnell filmed this little video of our bike-powered sound system and special guest: the Queen of Sipson.

Check out the photos on our Flickr photostream.

Plane Stupid launches Adopt a Resident campaign

Environmental activists from across the UK have 'adopted' Heathrow residents to support them in their fight against a third runway and prepare them to defend their homes in the event of BAA being given permission to build the runway. The activists were brought together by Plane Stupid. Over tea and cakes in St Mary’s Church Hall in Harmondsworth on Monday 30th March 40 residents were adopted.

Local resident Lynne Davies said, “We are very excited about this scheme. Many local people are feeling very vulnerable with the threat of a third runway hanging over them. They will appreciate this support. And it shows our determination to stay put. We don’t believe the new runway will ever be built but this link up with the young activists sends a clear signal to the Government and BAA that we are not alone.