Posted: December 5th, 2014 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Action | Tags: activism, consultation, Plane Stupid, protest, sipson | No Comments »
This Wednesday the Heathrow Park Inn Hotel hosted the Airports Commission’s most recent public consultation on the proposed plans for expanding Heathrow Airport. Local MPs, councillors, campaigners and businessmen gave speeches expressing a range of views regarding the plans, some in support of an expansion and others in vehement opposition.
Headed by Sir Howard Davis, the Airports Commission has been charged with identifying the best course of action for dealing with Britain’s supposed need for a hub airport to compete with other European airports. The panel was presented with the two proposals relevant to this area: a proposal from Heathrow Airport Limited (HAL) for a third runway to the northwest of the airport, and independent promoter Heathrow Hub’s rival proposal to lengthen the North runway. These sit alongside a third option to expand Gatwick, due for public consultation later this month.
The panel listened as local MPs John McDonnell and Zac Goldsmith drew attention to the huge scale of the affect an expansion would have on people living in West London. An estimated 4000 homes would be either demolished or rendered unliveable, leading to the break-up of local communities, and hundreds of thousands of people more would be directly affected by greater noise levels and pollution.
HAL CEO John Holland-Kaye’s many promises of fairly mitigating the harms that future generations will face from an expanded Heathrow airport were brought into doubt by Christine Taylor of Stop Heathrow Expansion, who drew attention to HAL’s statement from the Terminal 5 inquiry in 1999 that a third runway should be “ruled out forever”. Moreover, HAL has consistently failed to address the problem of air quality despite pollution levels being higher than EU regulations. The assumptions behind their advertising campaigns’ assurance that Heathrow’s expansion would boost Britain’s economy by £100 billion have been seriously questioned in an independent report by Prime Economics.
Last week an article in the Sunday Times accused the interest group Back Heathrow of “astroturfing”, feigning to be a grassroots residents organisation representing local people yet funded in the £100,000s by Heathrow. Gatwick Airport’s chairman, Sir Roy McNulty, has accused the group of scaremongering by suggesting in a questionnaire distributed to 750,000 households that without expansion Heathrow would close, as reported on Wednesday in both The Guardian and The Telegraph. In the commission hearing Zac Goldsmith also commented on HAL’s smear campaign against councillor Ray Puddifoot, accusing Heathrow of funding a campaign to undermine the democratic process. When asked by John McDonnell if Heathrow would cease funding of Back Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye avoided giving a definitive answer.
During the consultation climate change was low on the agenda, with only one mention that carbon emissions were relevant to the discussion. The UK Climate Change Act requires legally binding reductions in greenhouse gases, yet increasing air traffic will seriously undermine the aviation industry’s commitment to this goal. In a desire to stimulate debate about the true viability of airport expansion, two environmental activists from Plane Stupid held up a banner from the hotel entrance canopy that read ‘Any new runway is Plane Stupid’, as reported in the local Uxbridge Gazette.
Posted: December 1st, 2014 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Education, Events | Tags: art, transition, workshops | No Comments »
We’re holding out for that chilly start of Spring and hoping we’ll be able to mark our 5th year in this incredible place.
Grow Heathrows birthday is on the weekend of the 28th Feb / 1st March so save the date and keep your fingers crossed that we’ll be celebrating together.
What do you want Grow Heathrow’s 5th Birthday to look like?
We want your thoughts and involvement, so get imagining. We’ll also be looking for people to get involved in preparing, cooking, creating, teaching etc, so have a think about what you could offer on that weekend / the week run-up. More info soon.
Posted: November 19th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Education | Tags: community, sustainability, transition, workshops | No Comments »
What a success, mint, rose petal, oats and lavender soap, homemade at Grow Heathrow…
Soap is made using 3 different kinds of oils or fats, an alkaline substance and flavouring.
This time we used coconut oil, olive oil and vegetable fat…maybe one day we’ll process our own oil from sunflowers and alkaline substance from ash or sea-shells… not to mention the bike powered mixer…
The more help we can get the better though – let us know if you’d like to come on board the Grow Heathrow providing for ourselves train..
And watch this space for Shazam round 2, winter program..Education for the Future
Posted: November 13th, 2014 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Bike, Events | Tags: bikes, food, grow heathrow, organic, workshops | No Comments »
This Saturday in Grow Heathrow, we have 2 activities to choose from:
12-4pm: Bike Workshop. Come and repair your own bike, or learn how to repair bikes in general.
1.30-4.30pm: Organic is affordable! A workshop about organic food, and especially how to buy and cook in such a way that you can keep it affordable for yourself.
In the latter we’ll be discussing the benefits of organic food, why it costs more, how to change your cooking and shopping patterns, how to store food, and more. There will be tasting and learning new foods and we’ll exchange information about where to get affordable organic food.
Come and have a fun day with us! Do let us know if you’d like to attend either workshop so that we have an idea of numbers for lunch: email@example.com.
Posted: November 12th, 2014 | Author: Eddy Gums | Filed under: Events | Tags: degrowth, grow heathrow, workshops | No Comments »
On Saturday 25th October we held a full day workshop at Grow Heathrow, exploring the concept of degrowth.
The day was well attended, with around 20 participants taking part including residents of Grow Heathrow, family members and visitors. We began the day by discussing what degrowth means to each of us. This generated a variety of ideas and related discussion.
The group identified that degrowth is a holistic term and aims at moving society away from an obsession with economic growth, placing the focus instead on well-being and ecological sustainability. Degrowth is very much about ‘living well with less’.
We were also able to dispel some myths about the idea of degrowth. For instance, it needn’t entail a smaller economy but instead a shift away from the economics altogether, and that there is no such thing as sustainable or green growth that can go on forever. Furthermore, whilst some of us perceived the term as pejorative, we discussed its use as a “missile word” which can be thrown into a debate to stir up stale ideas about sustainability and economics.
Later in the day we brainstormed a comprehensive list of problems associated with economic growth, such as climate change, resource wars, corporate monopolies, even anxiety and stress. These enabled us to consider the ‘sources’ of degrowth, the positions from which we can critique a system based on economic growth as well as proposing sustainable alternatives. We then discussed how we might get to a degrowth society, with a general sense that a combination of various reforms, educational changes, personal choices and direct action will all be needed to make such a radical shift.
In the last session we did a card game simulation of different forms of currency and exchange. We simulated four scenarios: bartering, alternative currency, debt-based currency, and gift economy. This gave us an insight into how structural features of our monetary system affect how we behave, how inequality is created and why there is a built-in necessity for growth due to interest on bank loans.
Following the day’s workshop there was interest in continued discussion on degrowth. There is already a possibility that the same workshop will be run again soon in central London. We’re also currently planning our next round of workshops (Shazam #2) at Grow Heathrow, and this could see more sessions linked to the idea of degrowth – so watch this space! If you’d like to be involved with these discussions or have an idea for a workshop, feel free to get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit www.degrowth.org for a wealth of research and resources on the topic.
Posted: October 20th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: Energy, Events | Tags: skillsharing, solar, workshops | 2 Comments »
Guest blog by, Rachael Anne Roberts, workshop participant and volunteer at Grow Heathrow
A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Grow Heathrow, a place of beautiful greenery and a worthy cause to fight for, not to mention to friendly residents who happen to have immense cooking skills! And if that all wasn’t reason enough, there was a certain workshop drawing me to the site: Learning How to Build Your Own Solar Panel, run by Demand Energy Equality.
I was unsure what to expect from the workshop. Before visiting the Grow Heathrow website and seeing the list of workshops, I was unaware that it was even something that could be done by hand.
The workshop was put on by a lovely lady called Emily Donavan from Demand Energy Equality. She taught us the science behind how solar panels work as well as how to actually build them, a process that I was soon to learn was a lot simpler than I had expected! Fun science fact that I was reminded of: Power = Voltage x Current!
We were making fairly small, 18 watts solar panels, enough to charge a phone but not quite a house. Which makes it the perfect, simple, and not to mention handy, accessory to any home. The material of the solar cells that we used to build our solar panel was made out of thin silicone and if held too tightly, would crumble in your hands. Cautiously soldering the metal strip over each solar cell to attach the current to each, there were a few cracks and mishaps, but Emily’s patience and light hearted attitude never faltered. And she had expected this and brought plenty of spares!
Next came the gluing the solar cells to the glass and placing another glass panel over the top of it, using more silicone glue to seal around it, keeping the glass panels in place together. Making a solar panel was so much fun, but requires a steady, gentle hand. I began to feel guilty of the amount of solar cells that was being wasted when cracked. However after a few breakages, we started to get into the rhythm of solder, solder, glue, glue and the whole process of making a solar panel became far less complicated than I had previously imagined.
The whole process took a lot longer than previously expected but we were all having so much fun, it was not an issue, in fact we were al more than happy to stay at Grow Heathrow for longer. Although a fiddly process, making a solar panel by hand is rewarding not just in the sense of a unique achievement, but also that you now have free, renewable energy which you were able to achieve by yourself – saving more money and is even better for the environment!
My home made solar panel turned out a lot better than I had expected. I decided to donate it to Grow Heathrow, since I figured that they may make a better use out it then I will. I had such an amazing weekend at Grow Heathrow that I have been to visit again since the solar panel workshop and will most definitely be going again soon. After all, I need to see how my home made solar panel has been put to such a good use!
Posted: October 7th, 2014 | Author: Ali | Filed under: Film | Tags: grow heathrow, la zad | No Comments »
Zones to Defend!
Tuesday 14th october 2014, 7pm at Grow Heathrow
Some videos and informal discussion around resistance on protest sites in France.
La ZAD (Zone a defendre) – is Europe’s largest land occupation and exists to resist the proposed building of Notre Dame airport near Nantes. There is a widespread alliance between activists, local residents and farmers, which after an eviction in 2012 saw 40,000 people reoccupy the site!
ZAD: Notre Dame Des Landes
Posted: October 5th, 2014 | Author: Ali | Filed under: Education, Events | Tags: degrowth, grow heathrow, workshops | No Comments »
Day for Degrowth: 25th of October, 10.30am – 6pm
Cost: Free, including lunch on a donation basis.
Degrowth is a concept that brings together activists and academics in order to understand the multiple crises (economic, social, environmental) affecting our planet. Economic growth has been a highlighted as a root cause of these problems and a variety proposals for a ecologically and socially just societies have been put forward.
In September this year over 3000 people attended the 4th International Conference on Degrowth in Leipzig, Germany. This was an exciting event, with over 500 workshops, talks, and artistic presentations and shows the level of interest in degrowth to be increasing rapidly.
Unfortunately, conversations about degrowth in the UK have been rather thin on the ground. Until now.
Join us at Grow Heathrow for a day long interactive workshop introducing the topic of degrowth. We will aim to cover basic questions such as What is degrowth? Why is growth a problem? How do we get to a degrowth society? As well as providing a space to ask what should come next in terms of degrowth in the UK.
There is no limit on the number of places but as the workshop is all day lunch will be provided – so please email email@example.com to give us an idea of numbers.
Posted: September 29th, 2014 | Author: Musicraft | Filed under: legal | Tags: access to land, court, Squatting | No Comments »
Grow Heathrow was in Uxbridge County Court last week.
This is a new and separate case from the one from recent years, concerning the patch of land beyond the main greenhouses where we have built our homes and community straw bale house.
The judge ordered the case to be postponed, recognising that our human right to a home and peaceful family life needs to be considered properly.
However, the land at the front of the site where we do most of our growing, working and cooking is still living under the threat of baliffs turning up at any time.
So, if we want home grown sprouts for our 5th Grow Heathrow Christmas dinner we need the ongoing support of the local community and the wider environmental movement to protect our beautiful off grid community.
There is no time like the present to visit if you want to learn how to work within the legal system to hold space that operates outside the political system.The resistance is fertile but there is much physical and academic work to do if we are to make it grow. So please do come down to site and donnate your spare time to this greener vision of the future!
Posted: September 22nd, 2014 | Author: Ian | Filed under: legal | Tags: access to land, backlands, court, Squatting | No Comments »
In the four and a half years since Grow Heathrow project started it has significantly grown in size and scope. The original abandoned plant nursery site where the project began is right next to another piece of derelict Green Belt land, that contains the ruins of several more glasshouse frames.
In the spirit of the original occupation, these have been gradually occupied and incorporated into Grow Heathrow, providing additional venues for activities, including the straw bale house that was built with the help of many willing volunteers and has been a prominent feature of the project since it was finished.
The occupiers of the Grow Heathrow site have been fighting a legal battle to retain the use of the land that the project is situated on, but that has so far been limited to the boundaries of the original site. The land bordering this, known in our community as the “Backlands”, is owned seperately by Lewdown Holdings Limited, a faceless company registered in Guernsey. After years of peaceful occupation, they have now decided to begin legal proceedings to remove anyone associated with Grow Heathrow from their land.
The land that includes the Backlands is a large area at the northern entrance to Sipson village that was formerly used for commercial agriculture. The derelict ruins of a large complex of pre-war glasshouses are evidence of what used to be a thriving fruit-growing business. It’s boundary includes the Sipson Garden Centre, that closed down in 2011 after a 75 per cent decline in trade over ten years, due to local residents’ unwillingness to invest in home improvements as the future of their properties remained uncertain. After three years of abandonment, the Sipson Garden Centre building is now in a very shabby state. Unopposed fly tipping at the rear of the site is further evidence of neglect.
Photo by Jonathan Goldberg
The landowners have shown absolutely no interest in maintaining the land for agricultural use, and have had a planning application to develop the site (with housing, an industrial centre and a hotel) turned down. Undoubtedly, they have aspirations to overturn the Green Belt status of the land in order to achieve their development ambitions.
Four and a half years after Grow Heathrow was started, Lewdown Holdings Limited have decided to remove us from their land, despite it having no conceivable commercial use in the forseeable future. Should they submit a planning application for the land that is approved, we may be willing to leave peacefully if required, but while the land remains abandoned we feel there is justification for it being put to productive use.
Our court hearing is arranged for 11am on Tuesday 23rd September, at Uxbridge County Court. Please come along to court to show your support outside the courthouse. This is a brand new case, that is completely seperate to our ongoing defense of the main Grow Heathrow site.
Alternatively, come along to the Grow Heathrow site at any time during the day to catch up with what we’ve been up to lately, or to get involved in cooking some delicious food.
As always, we will try to pursue every available avenue to prolong our stay on site. Keep up to date with any upcoming news by checking our website, subscribing to our mailing list, following us on twitter, or joining our facebook group.