Climate crisis and cycling campaigners will ride from Central London’s Hyde Park to Heathrow Airport on Sunday in what is being billed as “a critical mass of epic proportions.”
They are inviting Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour’s John McDonnell “to fulfil their pledges and meet us at Heathrow to lie down in front of our giant inflatable bulldozer,” five days before what may be the most critical general election for the UK since World War II.
In 2015, when he was elected MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip South, Johnson promised to lie down in front of bulldozers to prevent a planned third runway at the airport from being built.
In his victory speech that evening, referring to the Labour MP in Hayes and Harlington – the constituency the airport is in – he said: "John McDonnell, I will join you. I will lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway."
However, Johnson – also Mayor of London when he returned to the Commons despite an earlier pledge not to combine that position with being an MP – was criticised for being abroad when the House of Commons voted on the issue last year, by which time he was Foreign Secretary.
Returned to the same seat in 2017, Johnson, who during his mayoralty championed the so-called ‘Boris Island’ airport in the Thames Estuary, is seeking re-election as MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip South a week on Thursday in the general election.
A Facebook post inviting people to join the event, hosted by Extinction Rebellion, reads: “Johnson's empty words are an example of the hypocrisy and greenwashing evident from all political parties – that is why we declare ourselves in rebellion against the political system which has let us to the sixth mass-extinction and the climate crisis.”
The ride meets at Hyde Park Corner, in the centre of the Wellington Arch roundabout, at 10.00am for a 10.30am departure.
There will be intermediate pick-up points on the way to Heathrow Airport, as follows:
11.00am Earls Court (junction of Cromwell Road and Warwick Road).
11.30am Hammersmith (outside Hammersmith Apollo theatre).
12.00am Gunnersbury (under Brentford flyover, opposite Esso garage).
The ride will conclude with a bulldozer lie-in and rally at 1.00pm for 1.30pm at the northern end of the tunnel to the airport’sTerminals 2 and 3, next to large model Airbus in the middle of the roundabout.
Organisers said: “We need investment in cycling infrastructure NOT fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to prevent social and economic collapse!
“On the 8th December cyclists will reclaim the streets from Hyde Park to Heathrow in a critical mass ride of epic proportions to invite Boris Johnson and John McDonnell to fulfil their pledges and meet us at Heathrow to lie down in front of our giant inflatable bulldozer.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.