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Climate protesters Extinction Rebellion threaten to shut down Europe's busiest airport

Heathrow could face major disruption if drones are spotted near the runways
Heathrow could face major disruption if drones are spotted near the runways Copyright REUTERS
Copyright REUTERS
By Caroline Mortimer
Published on Updated
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Extinction Rebellion are calling for the government to immediately suspend plans to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport


UK climate protest group Extinction Rebellion say they are considering using drones to shut down Heathrow Airport during the first two weeks of July.

The protest group, who shut down London’s roads for over a week last month, says it is considering a “day of action” on 18 June followed by two weeks of disruption at Europe’s busiest airport if the government does not drop its planned expansion of the airport.

Last year the UK parliament voted to build a new runway at Heathrow to relieve pressure on the airport which is operating at near capacity.

But the move came despite widespread criticism from environmental campaigners who called for the country to move away from its dependence on air travel.

In a statement, the group said: “On June 18, we plan to carry out nonviolent direct action to ensure Heathrow Authorities close the airport for the day, to create a “pause” in recognition of the genocidal impact of high carbon activities, such as flying, upon the natural world.

“If the Government does not cancel all Heathrow expansion, Extinction Rebellion will act to shut the airport down for up to 10 days from July 1.

“This is not about targeting the public, but holding the Government to their duty to take leadership on the climate and ecological emergency”.


They describe the decision to expand Heathrow as “madness” and say it would make the airport the single biggest carbon emitter in the UK.

British security forces have been on alert since reports of drone sightings near the runway at Gatwick airport lead to days of chaos which saw hundreds of flights cancelled shortly before Christmas last year.

The person or people behind the drone sightings have not been caught and Extinction Rebellion has denied any involvement in the incident.

In April, Gatwick’s chief operating officer Chris Woodroofe suggested to the BBC that the attack might have been an “inside job” as it seemed the perpetrator knew how the airport operated.

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