Extinction Rebellion Plans Heathrow Drone Protest
Extinction Rebellion protesters are threatening to shut down Heathrow Airport with drones.
The climate protest group promised to change stage a one-day demonstration in June and then 10 further days in July – unless the government cancels plans for expanding the airport.
Ten days of objections across central London in April saw 1,130 people arrested for various offences.
Heathrow Airport said the plan is that “reckless” and could “endanger lives”.
Extinction Rebellion said it was in talks with members about carrying out action to close the airport on 18 June and again from 1 July for up to 10 days if the government did not cancel plans to expand the airport.
A spokesman for the group said it was “fully committed to non-violence” and it would “not take action that would put airline passengers at risk” but “in the face of climate and ecological collapse [would] continue to build a peaceful movement”.
“We agree with this the need to action on weather change, but that needs us to work together constructively.
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Aviation Minister Baroness Vere warned that any illegal activity “must be met with the full force of the law”.
Aviation Minister Baroness Vere said that, “Flying drones near an airport is a serious criminal crime and using drones to deliberately put people’s safety at risk.
“No government has done more to reduce carbon emissions and Britain is at the forefront of global efforts to tackle weather change.”
Demonstrators also complained at Heathrow but did not cause disruption to flights.
A small group of mostly teenage protesters briefly unfurled a banner near a tunnel which leads to Terminals 2 and 3 as several police officers watched on.
It was declared that in January police would be given new controls to tackle the illegal use of drones, after hundreds of flights at Gatwick Airport were disrupted by drone sightings in December.
Last year the government made this is illegal to fly a drone above 400ft (120m) or within 1km (0.62 miles) of an airport.
Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a criminal offence which can carry a prison sentence of up to five years.