Backers of Heathrow's proposed third runway have temporarily put their campaign on hold due to the Coronavirus crisis, writes Krystle Higgins.

Back Heathrow executive director and former Labour MP Parmjit Dhanda said that the fight against Coronavirus takes precedence over the petition.

Mr Dhanda said that a petition of 2,000 signatures urging Ealing Council to hold a ‘free vote’ on whether the borough will back the Heathrow expansion, will not be presented to the council this month.

He said: “This virus is changing everyone's lives. It is a shock to the system as everyone has to adjust to a different way of living.

“We feel that Ealing Council very rightly have more pressing things to consider in their council meeting next month, such as how to look after their constituents.

“The priority now is to look after each other and protect the vulnerable.”

Last month plans for a third Heathrow runway were ruled illegal by the court of appeal because ministers did not take into account the government’s commitments to tackle the climate crisis.

The Ealing born former MP added that the 3rd runway campaign, while temporarily on hold, is something he has always supported.

He said: “Having grown up nearby and always having had friends and family working in Heathrow, it is something of an institution in our lives. 

“Many people have come to this country in the search for work and the airport has provided that. It is one of the biggest employers in the country, there are 76,000 jobs onsite and nearer 200,000 people employed in the wider supply chain.”

His comments come at a time when The Department for Transport has stated that it is focussed on responding to Covid-19 at the moment.

One campaign group which has lobbied against the runway said that it takes this as evidence the expansion 'has slipped down' the Government’s agenda.

In a statement late last week, the chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition Paul McGuinness said: “In light of all circumstances, it seems right that the Government is unenthusiastic about resuscitating the Airports National Policy Statement. 

“For as well as being ruled unlawful by the courts, it has become increasingly clear that the full facts about the deleterious air quality, noise, carbon and regional consequences of Heathrow expansion had not been presented to MPs, when it was subjected to parliamentary scrutiny.”