Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 7 December 2019

Climate protesters plan drone disruption at London's Heathrow Airport

Pink drones set to cause holiday travel disruption in bid to raise awareness of climate change

Protesters are planning to fly drones at Heathrow Airport  in London, United Kingdom. Getty Images
Protesters are planning to fly drones at Heathrow Airport  in London, United Kingdom. Getty Images

Climate protesters are planning to unleash pink drones at London's Heathrow Airport to cause two weeks of chaos.

Activists from Extinction Rebellion have drawn up plans to use drones to shut London’s Heathrow Airport this summer in a campaign to stop the construction of a third runway at Europe’s busiest airport.

It comes after the group caused widespread disruption across London in April after protesters forced roads to be closed and glued themselves to vehicles.

The drone plans were first revealed in May and the group has now revised them in a bid to lessen disruption to travellers.

But the plans will see 16 days of action in September and activists flying 7kg drones up to a maximum of 6ft in the air and away from designated flight paths.

The leaked document, seen by the Huffington Post, states: “There is the opportunity to transform the humble drone into a David which allows us to stop the Goliath of Heathrow and the global aviation industry from destroying us."

The group told HuffPost that its new proposals included measures to minimise disruption for travellers.

The activists claim expanding Heathrow would be incompatible with Britain’s targets to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The group has previously said: “This is not about targeting the public, but holding the Government to their duty to take leadership on the climate and ecological emergency."

Heathrow Airport has said the use of drones would be a “reckless action”.

“We agree with the need to act on climate change, but that requires us to work together constructively – not commit serious criminal offences just as hardworking people prepare to spend a well-earned holiday with their family and friends,” an airport spokesman has said.

Thousands of people took part in the 11-day peaceful civil disobedience campaign in April.

The British parliament declared a symbolic ‘climate emergency’ in response to the protests, which had raised hopes among campaign groups that the government might cancel the third runway as part of more ambitious climate commitments.

British security forces have been on alert since December, when Gatwick Airport outside London was forced to cancel flights over several days due to drones near the perimeter.

Extinction Rebellion was not involved in that incident, senior members of the movement said at the time.

In the internal proposal written by volunteers, activists suggested using drones to force authorities to ground flights at Heathrow Airport while other protesters held picnics.

The activists said they would avoid any risk to aircraft by informing the airport of their plans months in advance.

Britain’s parliament backed the plan to build an $18 billion third runway last year.

Heathrow Airport is owned by Ferrovial, Qatar Investment Authority and China Investment Corporation, among others.

Updated: July 4, 2019 06:47 PM

SHARE

SHARE