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Man brings his Heathrow protest to Grantham

Neil Keveren
Neil Keveren

A builder who lives in a village affected by plans for a third runway at London’s Heathrow brought his campaign to Grantham this week.

Neil Keveren, 55, passed through the town and surrounding villages during his walking challenge to Edinburgh from his home in Harmondsworth, just north of the airport.

When he arrives in Edinburgh, he hopes to meet with a member of the SNP and press home how the third runway – to which the party is giving its backing – will lead to the “destruction” of the village and the lives of the people who live there.

To build the runway, 783 homes would be compulsorily purchased and destroyed. Protesters say another 3,500 homes close to the airport boundary and the runway would become so unpleasant to live in, with the noise and air pollution, that residents may be forced to move. However, housing is scarce in the area, they added.

Neil told the Journal: “My walk is a protest against Heathrow. I’m going to the SNP to appeal to them to reconsider their position.

“I will suggest the promises made by Heathrow historically have not been met. I think the price for people to pay is too high. And I think [Scotland] can get their connectivity with two Heathrow runways and other competitive options.”

Wearing a hat featuring an aeroplane and a backpack emblazoned with ‘Stop Heathrow Expansion’, Neil is carrying a scrapbook filled with pictures and stories of Harmondsworth villagers, to show the faces of those at risk of losing their homes.

Passing through Sproxton on Monday was the 103-mile mark. To make it to Edinburgh by April 26, Neil has to walk around 20 miles a day and although he is a little behind target he is confident he will make up the miles. He has a support vehicle, driven by his 82-year-old uncle Ray.

Neil stressed that the Heathrow plans affect taxpayers across the country as they will pick up a large proportion of the bill to pay for the build.

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