A campaigner from the climate action group, Plane Stupid, today super-glued himself to Prime Minister Gordon Brown in the State Dining Room of 10 Downing Street.
Dan Glass, a 24 year old MSc student based in Scotland, entered the PM’s official residence at 5pm this evening to receive the Sheila McKechnie award for his campaigning against airport expansion. He greeted Mr Brown and asked the Prime Minister why he and his ministers have refused to meet West London residents opposed to the construction of a third runway at Heathrow. He simultaneously put his super-glue covered hand onto Brown’s polyester suit. When Brown went to turn away he found he had been super-glued by his clothing to Plane Stupid, and had no option but to listen to Dan or undress.
Dan is now reading messages to the PM from people whose villages will be bulldozed if Brown agrees to BAA’s expansion plans. He’s also reading out testimony from communities across the world threatened by climate change while Downing Street aides attempt to extract the Labour leader from the green campaigner. Dan is hoping to stay glued to the PM long enough to begin quoting from confidential documents secured through the Freedom of Information Act, which reveal the government’s public consultation on Heathrow expansion was fixed. The papers reveal Ministers have engaged in an extraordinary level of collusion with airport operator, BAA, fiddling pollution figures and developing a joint strategy to beat opposition groups.
The government consultation received 80,000 responses from the public, almost all of which opposed the government’s plans, despite the fact that people were not even asked whether they wanted a third runway and no consideration of the climate impacts appeared in the consultation documents.
Dan took today’s extraordinary step because Brown and his Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, have refused to meet residents from Sipson – the west London village, which would be wiped off the map if new Labour gives into BAA’s demands for a third runway. Some of the messages Dan is reading out to the Prime Minister are quotes from newspaper interviews with Sipson residents.
Plane Stupid activist, Graham Thompson who is currently facing prosecution for scaling Parliament in February and branding the Palace of Westminster “BAA HQ,” today said:
"Gordon Brown’s only got two possible legacies, the first Prime Minister to really get climate change or the last one not to. Brown needs to realise we can beat climate change, but not by doubling the size of the world’s biggest international airport. That’s why we took our peaceful campaign from the roof of Parliament to 10 Downing Street. We’re the last generation who can stop climate change, and we’re not going to sit around waiting for politicians to catch up."
When BAA first sought permission to build Terminal 5, the company wrote to nearby residents promising never to seek further Heathrow expansion. Now they have colluded with the government to get a third runway and a sixth terminal by manipulating the consultation process which has been widely condemned as unfair, undemocratic and fundamentally dishonest.
Graham Thompson continued:
"Brown’s consultation was a fix, pure and simple. It was the single most anti-democratic thing this wretched government has done since the Iraq war, and that’s saying something. Dan thought that if super-gluing himself to the Prime Minister was the only way to cut through the power of giant corporations like BAA and ensure he hears what people from West London really think, then so be it."
Dan has informed Downing Street staff that the most effective way of removing a super-glued campaigner from a world leader is the application of soft, soapy warm water. He practised the procedure numerous times to ensure there was no chance of injury to himself, and ensured the glue had no contact with the PM’s skin, in line with Plane Stupid’s absolute and uncompromising commitment to peaceful protest.
A 5 metre high giant inflatable elephant shocked delegates at the Edinburgh Caledonian Hilton today with a massive banner stating 'Aviation is the elephant in the room'.
This spectacle, created by anti-aviation group Plane Stupid Scotland, is a huge visual reminder that aviation remains a massive elephant in the room as long as emissions from aviation continue to be ignored in the Climate Change Bill.
The display took place outside a Hilton-hosted conference that brings organisations and researchers together to discuss how to "deliver the national transport strategy whilst meeting… climate change targets".
The message for delegates and the public was clear: we must not repeat the government’s mistake in ignoring aviation, and make it top priority when discussing transport and climate change.
Plane Stupid Scotland member Dan Glass points out that: "The elephant in the room here is that if Scottish aviation grows as predicted its pollutions will swamp all our efforts and sacrifices to reduce emissions. We can forget about 80% by 2050 – we can forget about a liveable world for our children."
Calls to include aviation in the Scottish Climate Bill are rendered doubly urgent as the Scottish Government will imminently bring legislation to expand both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, and to outlaw objections to these expansions whether by parliament or public unless on limited planning grounds.
There is a rising tide of dissent against aviation expansion in Scotland, leading recently to the creation of anti-aviation network AirportWatch Scotland. Plane Stupid Scotland too shut down Edinburgh’s private airport in January and occupied the Holyrood rooftops in April. These are part of a growing host of groups and individuals that see airport expansion as a blight upon the environment and upon affected communities.
Tilly Gifford From Airportwatch Scotland said:
"We are facing a runaway climate threat but the Scottish government's reaction is to triple air traffic and expand Glasgow and Edinburgh airports whilst conveniently excluding aviation from the Scottish Climate Bill. The climate scientists have made it clear - we have to stop airport expansion. No more white elephants- real action now."
Two environmental activists from the climate action group, Plane Stupid Scotland, have climbed onto the roof of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to protest against plans for expansion of Scottish airports.
Adam Weymouth, 23 and Matilda Gissord, 23, got on to the roof of the Parliament at about 9am this morning and unfurled a large banner which carries a parody of the Trainspotting design, "Choose Life." The banner reads, "Plane Stopping: Choose the future. Say no to airport expansion."
From the roof of the parliament, Adam Weymouth, said:
"We are facing a runaway climate threat but the Scottish government's reaction is to triple air traffic and expand Glasgow and Ediburgh airports whilst conveniently excluding aviation from the Scottish Climate Bill. The climate scientists have made it clear - we have to stop airport expansion. That's why we've taken it to the top."
Photos by Alice Myers.
27th February 2008 - Campaigners opposed to Heathrow expansion have scaled the roof of the Houses of Parliament and hung protest banners from the building before Prime Minister's Questions is due to begin.
The three men and two women from climate action group, Plane Stupid, opened an outside door before walking along the roof and dropping two banners. The non-violent direct action comes on the day a government consultation into Heathrow expansion ends. The protesters are making paper aeroplanes out of confidential Whitehall documents that reveal the process is fixed, and gliding the planes into the MPs' car park below.
The documents – obtained under the Freedom of Information Act - prove that airport operator BAA wrote parts of the consultation document and that the government has already decided to build a 3rd runway and 6th terminal at the world's biggest international airport.
One of the banners, facing Parliament Square, brands the House of Commons 'BAA HQ' while the other says 'NO 3rd RUNWAY'. Richard George, 27, from London is on the roof. He said:
"I'm standing on the roof of Parliament because the democratic process has been corrupted. The aviation industry has taken full advantage of a weak Prime Minister to get the Heathrow consultation fixed. It doesn't even consider global warming, despite everything Brown has said about the environment and despite the massive impact that aviation has on the climate."
"This Prime Minister doesn't even have the courage to ask Londoners the very simple question, do you want a third runway? Instead his government published a consultation document full of gobbledygook and industry spin. Now the consultation is over we can safely ignore the fixed result and get on with the job of stopping this new runway being built. A huge coalition of local residents, Londoners and environmentalists is coming together, supported by all the major mayoral candidates, to stand against Gordon Brown and say 'no more'."
BAA and Brown want to see a sixth terminal and third runway built over homes, schools and churches in the villages of Sipson and Harmondsworth. This would increase the number of flights from 480,000 a year to at least 702,000. Two million Londoners face increased levels of noise, while CO2 emissions from the airport would shoot up despite claims by Brown that he's committed to fighting climate change.
The rooftop occupation comes two days after Greenpeace protesters scaled an Airbus A320 which had just touched down at Heathrow from Manchester.
The protesters have branded Parliament 'BAA HQ' because of the extraordinary level of collusion between the aviation industry and government. Secret documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation reveal the existence of a previously unknown body called the 'Heathrow Delivery Group' – comprised of government and BAA officials. The group is charged with getting the new runway through the consultation process and neutralising 'risks' to the project such as Londoners who oppose Brown's aviation policy.
Activists from Manchester Climate Action and Manchester Plane Stupid have blockaded the security check-in of terminal 3 of Manchester Airport.
Passengers are being denied access to the departure lounge by seven activists locked together using arm-tube devices. Two banners have been unfurled reading, “Manchester City Council... supporting climate chaos” and “Domestic flights cost the Earth”. Other protesters are leafleting passengers with information about aviation and climate change as well as handing out train timetables for route destinations.
Aviation is the fastest growing source of green house gases and according to the government is responsible for 13% of the UK's global warming contribution. The overwhelming majority of flights from terminal 3 are to domestic UK destinations such as London Heathrow. These are the most unnecessary flights. The group are calling for an end to all domestic and short-haul flights and for international aviation to be included in the Climate Change Bill.
The protesters are also highlighting the contradiction between Manchester City Council's 'Green City' initiative and their 55% ownership of Manchester airport . The airport intends to expand its annual passenger numbers from 22 million in 2005, to 39 million by 2015, to 50 million by 2030.
Green Party Councillor Vanessa Hall, who is taking part in the blockade said,
"Manchester Council say we need the income from the airport to fight poverty. The Airport costs the people of Manchester in tax breaks and subsidies – this money should be invested directly into green industries directly creating jobs and relieving poverty. Climate Change will have a massive impact on our economy, health and well-being. It is environmental and economic lunacy to consider any expansion of aviation."
"We can't be a Green City with an expanding Airport. I am blockading domestic flights to highlight the true cost of flying and to call the council to account for their hypocrisy."
The action today was inspired by the Camp for Climate Action which saw around 2000 protesters gather next to Heathrow airport in London this summer.
Robbie Gillett, also present at the protest said, "It is no longer socially acceptable to fly from Manchester to London given what we know about climate change. It's absurd when there are train alternatives readily available. The money earmarked for the expansion of British airports needs to be redirected towards improving our rail infrastructure. We're the last generation who can stop climate change and time is running out."
Executive flights at Biggin Hill and Farnborough airports have been brought to a standstill by climate activists concerned at the huge growth in the use of private jets by business people. The activists D-locked themselves to the gates of the airports.
At a time of growing public concern at the climate impact of the aviation industry, business jets have escaped public scrutiny. The actions are intended to raise awareness of the true cost of this hidden aspect of air travel.
Richard George, currently at Biggin Hill said, "The aviation industry would like us to think that all flights are being taken by hard-working families on their once-a-year holiday. We are here today to shine a light on the dark secret of aviation: the enormous growth in the use of private jets."
The protesters added that the actions are focused only on the carbon-intensive nature of private business jets. George added, "This is the super rich sticking two fingers up at the rest of us, and our attempts to reduce our carbon emissions by not only flying as often as they like, but insisting on flying in the most carbon-intensive way possible: a jet all of their own."
Update: all protestors plead guilty and were giving an unconditional discharge!
An environmental activist was so enraged that lastminute.com continue to push short haul flights whilst knowing the damage they do to the climate, that she super-glued herself to the front door of the company's Victoria HQ.
At 8am this morning, Penny Eastwood - a member of climate action group, Plane Stupid - pasted superglue over her hands and glued herself to the front doors of the building and by doing so blocked staff from entering their offices.
Before she was arrested, Penny said, "Whilst G8 leaders have simply spouted more hot air, I've showed what just one person can do to shut down climate criminals."
She added, "Lastminute.com irresponsibly encourage people to binge-fly five times a year. In other words, they're forcing the world towards the brink of eco-meltdown and all for a quick buck!"
Penny Eastwood is one of those planning to attend this summer's Camp for Climate Action at Heathrow.
Green activists today marked the tenth anniversary of Tony Blair coming to power by visiting his best friends in industry to highlight the revolving door between Labour and the aviation industry and his failure to tackle climate change. A team of protestors from climate action group, Plane Stupid, are blocking the ‘revolving door’ to BAA’s Heathrow HQ to oppose government and industry plans for airport expansion.
The activists have chained up the front doors to the offices and have dumped copies of the science of climate change, reports from the UN and from the Tyndall Centre, into the reception area. The activists have pledged not to allow the staff out until they’ve read the science. Other campaigners have unfurled a banner outside the building stating, “Read the science @ www.planestupid.com”
Campaigner for Plane Stupid, Leo Murray, explained:
“In years to come, Blair will be remembered for systematically approving climate-wrecking projects like airport expansion. But it might not have happened if it weren’t for the fact that the revolving door between Labour and BAA just hasn’t stopped spinning.”
“We can’t believe that if BAA had read the science, they’d still be pushing ahead with their climate-crazy plans for airport expansion. With Blair preparing to leave office, UN climate scientists gathering in Bangkok, and the hottest April on record, it’s time BAA used their enormous influence to tell Blair to ditch expansion plans or leave with a legacy of failing on climate change.”
This Friday’s IPCC report on mitigation of climate emissions, a draft copy of which has been obtained by Plane Stupid, confirms, “Land use planning and transport demand management can make a significant contribution.”
Londoners facing house demolitions and increased noise from government plans for expansion of Heathrow took direct action against the plans for the first time. They stormed the stage at an aviation industry conference and disrupted an address being made by the Transport Minister, Douglas Alexander.
The residents from the West London villages of Sipson and Harmondsworth joined environmental activists from climate action group, Plane Stupid, and breached security at Chatham House. Some unfurled a banner reading, "No Third Runway" whilst another went nose-to-nose with the Minister in front of the conference delegates. Other residents with banners demonstrated outside the conference centre.
Local resident Dr John Hunt from Hounslow who went head-to-head with Alexander on the stage, said, "For decades the government has betrayed us with a catalogue of broken promises. In the 80s we were told Terminal 4 would be the last expansion, then in the 90s we were told Terminal 5 would be the end. Now we’re facing yet more noise and more concrete, and this time they want to wipe our entire community off the map. The time for gentle persuasion is over. Douglas Alexander is warned: the fight back has begun."
He added, " We’re glad to be joined by our eco-warrior friends from Plane Stupid. They’ve done this kind of thing before and have been helpful with their direct action training over recent weeks. I think it’s safe to say there’s more of this to come."
Plane Stupid shot into the headlines with their blockade of an airport runway at Nottingham East Midlands short haul airport in September. The group have also occupied BAA and Easyjet offices in recent months, and organised November’s national day of action against short haul flights.
Plane Stupid’s Richard George said, "Whist Ministers like Douglas Alexander preach about action to stop climate change they’re concreting over local democratic opposition to new runways with their plans to cater for unnecessary and climate-wrecking short haul flights. It’s not surprising that having failed though conventional protest, the residents have decided to up the ante."
Environmental activists opposed to the climate wrecking effects of short haul flights have this morning shut down the HQ of Easyjet in London. Activists from green direct action group, Plane Stupid, took action on Britain’s first national day of action against short haul flights today which coincides with the start of the UN Climate talks in Nairobi.
It comes as new research from HACAN Clearskies shows that 100,000 flights from Heathrow each year are to short haul destinations that are easily reachable by the more sustainable train alternative.
At 6.50am, 12 activists occupied the inside, roof and front entrances of the offices on Oval Road in Camden using chains, piping and D-locks. They have unfurled a large banner from the rooftop overlooking the street which reads, "End Short Haul Flights".
Further, around 25 travel agents across the UK last night had their front doors chained shut by activists who left signs on the windows reading, "Closed for a total rethink. See www.planestupid.com".
Campaigner for Plane Stupid, Andy Nash, explained, "Bing-flying is choking the planet to death. As warnings mount about the irreversible effects of climate change, it is totally out of order for Easyjet to be offering artificially cheap flights to destinations easily reachable by the train alternative which is over ten times less polluting."
Activist, Leo Murray, added, "The politicians will jet off to Nairobi this week to continue with their bleating about the need for action on climate change. Meanwhile, they encourage short haul flights through their airport expansion plans and the tax breaks they give to the airline industry. When our ability to live on earth is at stake, they haven’t got the spine to sacrifice their ability to live in Portugal on the weekends."
In the last few months, Plane Stupid grounded planes at a short-haul airport by blockading the taxiway and marked the 60th Anniversary of Heathrow by chaining themselves across the entrance to BAA’s head office. They are part of a rapidly growing grassroots movement tackling the root causes of carbon emissions.