Expand the arts… not Heathrow: Twickenham vandalism slams third runway plans in billboard bashing

A huge spot of vandalism has seen a Heathrow expansion billboard defaced to read ‘Expand the Arts and the benefits will extend all over Britain’.

The advertisement, on the corner of Staines Road and Elmsleigh Road, is the latest in a string of altered Heathrow posters as residents hit back at controversial plans for a third runway.

The stunt follows the defacing of similar London hoardings and advertisements on the underground, which were amended to claim that an expanded Heathrow will bring ‘climate chaos’.

The culprit has yet to be unmasked but chairman of the Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (HACAN) John Stewart said that the graffiti showed there is real anger about a third runway.

He told SW Londoner: “People need to make their thoughts known.

“At HACAN we do not condone illegal activities but having said that there’s no doubt that this sort of activity does have an impact on the airport and the government.

“It’s very clever and eye-catching – it seems to have hit the mark with a whole number of people on Twitter and Facebook who would never dream of doing this themselves.

“It’s designed to send a message to those at Heathrow Airport and the government that if they do try to get a third runway through there will be a significant campaign, possibly including direct action.”

HACAN, founded in the 1960s, is campaigning to stop the construction of a third runway, halt night flights before 6am and introduce ‘fair’ flight paths so that one community doesn’t bear the brunt of what they class as ‘unacceptable’ environmental repercussions.

South West London campaigners and estate agents previously warned that millions could be wiped off property values if Heathrow expands and establishes a new flight path.

More than 23,000 people have signed anti-expansion petitions online as a decision on Britain’s long-term aviation strategy has been delayed until after the 2015 general election.

A Heathrow spokesperson told SW Londoner: “As the home of Slipstream, Europe’s largest privately funded sculpture, Heathrow is a keen supporter of the arts.

“We’re also a supporter of the £200bn in economic benefits and 180,000 jobs Heathrow expansion would bring, so let’s expand both.”

Picture courtesy of Jodie Holland

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