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A flying start to the new year for anti-aviation campaigners

trains not planes | 10.01.2009 01:31 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Social Struggles | Cambridge

Campaigners against aviation expansion are having a hectic start to the new year. Half of those arrested for blockading Stansted airport last year have now been sentenced and all are under threat of being sued for damages. Meanwhile, airport operator BAA have managed to get the Plane Stupid website taken down and are preparing for the Climate Rush action on monday the 12th by threatening MPs who have said they will attend the events at Heathrow and Manchester airport. To cap it all, the government is set to announce the go-ahead for Heathrows runway three this coming week.

Twenty Two Plane Stupid members were sentenced at Harlow magistrates' court on Wednesday for their part in blockading the runway at Stanstead airport last month. Most were ordered to do between 50 and 90 hours of community service each after delaying 52,000 passengers.

A Plane Stupid spokesperson, Leo Murry said, "The sentences were surprisingly harsh but we went into it with our eyes open and we are ready to take the consequences."

District Judge John Perkins said, "Substantial loss was caused to the authorities that were carrying out lawful activities. I accept there is an honourable tradition of peaceful protest in this country and long may it continue, but that does not justify the sort of activity that you were involved in."

More than 50 Plane Stupid activists now face being sued for damages by Ryanair who have begun a £2.2 million compensation claim for loss of revenue after being forced to cancel 57 flights. They are also seeking almost £500,000 for "reputational damage". At the moment the claim is against Stansted operators BAA but the airline has refused to rule out suing individual protesters in the civil courts at a later date.

The place stupid website has been taken offline by the service providers after pressure from BAA.

trains not planes


Stansted action sentencing details

10.01.2009 13:02

On Wednesday January 7, twenty two of the forty nine arrested for last months blockade of Stansted appeared at Harlow Magistrates Court charged with aggravated trespass. All plead guilty to the charge.

Eighteen were ordered to complete community service orders of between 50 and 90 hours. Two must pay fines of £130 and £160 each; one - a 17-year-old who cannot be named - was given a three month referral order and an 18-year-old was given a three month conditional discharge.

All 22 were ordered to pay £60 compensation each towards the £3,000 damage caused.

It is expected the remainder of those arrested will be dealt with later this month.


Clear Defamation targeted directly at BAA ?

11.01.2009 19:36

reported elsewhere :

Stupid website shut down

Jan 11 2009 by James McCarthy, Wales On Sunday

THE website of eco-warriors Plane Stupid – founded by Joss Garman, from Llandrindod Wells – has been pulled from the net after the group was accused of libelling airport chiefs BAA.

Last month the protesters caused chaos when they staged a sit in yards from a runway at BAA-owned Stansted.

After that they got an e-mail from server provider 1&1.

It said: “There is clear defamation on the website targeted directly at BAA which is also in breach of clause 6.2.2 of our terms and conditions of service.”

A spokeswoman for Plane Stupid said: “We don’t know for sure who it is that has leant on them or asked them to shut it down, but we’ve an idea.”

BAA denied any involvement.