Heathrow climate protest grounds flights

July 15 2015  

Heathrow climate protest grounds flights
Protesters against airport expansion have vowed to make further demonstrations after 13 opponents of a third runway at Heathrow broke through security on Monday morning.
 
Campaigners from the group Plane Stupid gained access to the north runway before dawn and chained themselves to each other, a mobile tripod and perimeter fencing.
 
Group spokeswoman Sarah Shoraka said the protest was designed to raise awareness of the threat to climate change of increasing airport capacity. “We are trying to bring this issue to the forefront and our campaign of direct action will continue.”
 
She added that the group is keen to get its feelings heard before Government responds to the Airports Commission’s report, which recommended earlier this month that a third runway is built at Heathrow. “If we waited until the runway gets the go ahead it would be too late,” Ms Shoraka remarked.
 
A Heathrow Airport spokesman said both runways remained in operation during the protest and that 22 cancellations were made to flights that morning, but claimed that not all were due to the protest as there had been inclement weather.
 
The spokesman added that the breach to the perimeter fence was spotted immediately and the protestors had been constantly monitored by CCTV. But Heathrow said it would “not comment on security measures” when asked if security around the airport perimeter fence would now be tightened.
 
♦ Yesterday, Gatwick published a response to the Airports Commission’s recommendation that Heathrow should expand. Gatwick said the report underplays both the strengths of expanding its airport and the challenges of building a new runway at Heathrow.
 
The west Sussex airport claims that the Commission largely ignores the fact that Heathrow breaches air quality limits without a third runway and says Gatwick would meet air quality targets with a second runway.
 
It adds that expanding Gatwick would enhance competition but a larger Heathrow would give it increased market dominance.
 
Gatwick Airport Board chairman Sir Roy McNulty said: “We are confident that when Government does make its decision it will choose Gatwick as the best option for the economy and the environment, and – most importantly – after decades of delay the option that is actually deliverable.”
 
(Photo: Plane Stupid)

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