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Resistance escalates with Airport 'Green' Light

imc-uk | 12.01.2009 13:13 | Climate Chaos | Ecology | Health | Social Struggles

Both Heathrow and Manchester airports were targeted Monday with the domestic departure lounges of both airports simultaneously occupied by protesters. In London over 500 people defied airport bylaws by staging a sit-down dinner forcing airport operator BAA to close 18 check-in desks. In Manchester police used powers under Section 14 of the Public Order Act to contain up to 100 protesters on the ground floor of Terminal 3 and there was one arrest.

The Climate Rush actions were timed to coincide with MPs return to the house of commons with the government expected to announce the decision on the Heathrows airport expansion during week. Meanwhile, Greenpeace revealed that a plot of land within the proposed expansion site had been purchased in an attempt to delay the construction.

Despite media speculation that the announcement would be delayed, by Wednesday nght the media were reporting that the expanision plans have been given the green light. After the official announcement on Thursday, 'climate suffragettes' smashed the windows of the Department of Transport and on Saturday 500 flash mobbed at Heathrows terminal 5.

Newswire Reports : Climate Rush Heathrow images, 12.01.09 | Heathrow Terminal One Climate Rush Picnic a success! | Northern Climate Rush at Manchester Airport | Northern Climate Rush Photos (video) | Protests against airport extension in Frankfurt | Why I renounce my vote | Suffra-jets smash windows

Campaign Links: Plane Stupid | Airport Watch | Climate Rush | T5Flashmob"> | HACAN ClearSkies | No Third Runway Action Group | Stop Heathrow Expansion | Campaign for Better Transport | Airport Pledge | Stop Bristol Airport Expansion

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12.01.2009 20:30

20:30, crowdn thinning but still good...


pictures 2

12.01.2009 22:00

over now.... good day!


The Climate Rush goes to domestic departures

13.01.2009 19:01

On the stroke of seven o'clock, the coats and backpacks fell aside to reveal flowing white dresses, patterned waistcoats, cummerbunds, and an impressive array of picnic items. Four people who seconds earlier had been avoiding eye contact morphed into a string quartet, flourished their instruments, and began to play. Airport staff and an array of police officers looked on in slight confusion as the picnic got going.

It could only be the Climate Rush, which with impeccable timing hit Heathrow in the week where the government's decision on a third runway is supposed to be announced. Following their earlier protest at parliament, the ladies, gentlemen and street urchins of the Edwardian-inspired protest group shared sandwiches, threw beach balls around, and chatted as commuters streamed past, including perhaps a few MPs returning from their Christmas break and pondering the impending decision on Heathrow.

As protestors chanted ‘deeds not words' and conga'd around the dingy terminal, it felt a bit like reality had been temporarily suspended. (Particularly when I stumbled into a toilet crammed with bulky police officers in fluorescent jackets). But chatting to a few of the hundreds who had made the tube journey to the airport, the serious purpose behind the event was clear - to highlight the gap between the government's support for aviation expansion, and the realities of climate change, which mean we need to cut UK emissions rapidly. The location was significant as Terminal 1 caters mainly to short-haul domestic flights to places like Leeds or Edinburgh - the flights which are really indefensible, given the direct trains servicing the same routes. That's probably why the people I spoke to came from across London, across age ranges, and were members of organisations ranging from the WI to the Labour party.

A couple of hours later the music stopped and we boarded the tube for the journey home. Whatever happens at Heathrow over the coming weeks, it's clear that the decision on a third runway won't be made quietly.

More details at the Climate Rush website, and on the theme of ‘deeds not words' at Heathrow, check out Airplot - we've got a deed and you can have a piece of it too.



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Greenpeace buys Heathrow land earmarked for airport's third runway

12.01.2009 23:34

Campaigners opposed to a third runway at Heathrow have bought a parcel of the land earmarked for the airport's expansion and are preparing for a fierce legal battle to defend it.

The Government is expected to approve the new runway this week, along with a sixth terminal, despite protests from the two main opposition parties, more than 50 backbench Labour MPs and dozens of environmental groups.

Greenpeace has bought a field the size of a football pitch and plans to invite protesters to dig networks of tunnels across it, similar to those built in the ultimately unsuccessful campaign against the Newbury bypass in 1996. The group also plans to divide the field into thousands of tiny plots, each with a separate owner. BAA, the airport's owner, would be forced to negotiate with each owner, lengthening the compulsory purchase process.

Greenpeace believes that the longer the expansion is delayed, the more likely it is that the project will be cancelled, either by a new government or when it becomes clear that it would breach Britain's commitment to reducing harmful emissions.

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Emma Thompson, the actress, Alastair McGowan, the comedian, and Zac Goldsmith, a Conservative adviser on the environment, were among those who signed the deeds to the site last Friday. They each contributed a small, undisclosed sum towards the purchase, but most of the £20,000 cost was met by a secret donor.

Ms Thompson said: “I don't understand how any government remotely serious about committing to reversing climate change can even consider these ridiculous plans. That's why we bought a plot on the runway. We'll stop this from happening even if we have to move in and plant vegetables.”

Passengers landing at Heathrow from today will be able to see a message, spelt out in 10ft-high white letters on the field, reading: “Our climate, our land.”

John Sauven, Greenpeace's director, said: “Many thousands of people will be prepared to peacefully defend their field in person, standing in front of bulldozers and blocking construction. This site will become a focus for climate campaigners.”

The Government is planning to attach several conditions to its approval for the runway, in the hope of silencing some critics. It will state that the number of flights at Heathrow will not be allowed to increase if that would result in air pollution and noise levels being breached. Ministers are also considering setting a punctuality target for Heathrow that airlines would have to attain before they were granted additional runway slots.

London First, the business lobby group, called on the Government to produce a mechanism under which the number of take-off and landing slots at the expanded airport would be reduced automatically if punctuality fell below a certain level. Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, supported the idea of a target, but refused to say what level he believed it should be.

Heathrow is the worst-performing hub airport in Europe for punctuality, with flights delayed by an average of 16.1 minutes in 2006, compared with 12.1 minutes at Frankfurt, 12 minutes at Amsterdam and 11.9 minutes at Paris.

Mr Matthews said that the new runway and terminal would cost about £9 billion and would open in 2019 or 2020. Asked by The Times about the 2,000 people who would lose their homes in the village of Sipson to make way for the expansion, he said: “An airport brings good things and bad things. We can't avoid the bad things that come with expansion. No one can possibly take any pleasure in the destruction that construction can cause.”

HACAN ClearSkies, the anti-expansion group, challenged the view that, unless Heathrow grows, business would go elsewhere in Europe. The group published figures showing that, in 2007, a total of 139million passengers used Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City airports. That compared with 88million who used all of the airports serving Paris, London's closest European rival.

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Comparitive carbon footprints

15.01.2009 21:24

I have seen the carbon-footprint of the new runway and I do oppose it. I am just wondering if anyone has estimated the realtive carbon foot-print of the attack on Gazan civilians - I don't know but I expect it to be far larger than any other single event.


carbon foot print of wars

17.01.2009 01:20

Well obviously carbon emissions of wars vary enormously. For instance footprints of both gulf wars were/are enormous because fleets of ships carrying troops and equipment including huge aircraft carriers travelled nearly half way round the world just to get there. Then there's all the bulk cargo planes also travelled the same distance and of course have been bringing in supplies on a daily basis ever since the start of war. Then there's all the hundreds of tanks each of which can burn dozens of gallons/mile (note the reversed order). Normal police size helicopters use something like 1/4 tonne of fuel/hour but Apache type would probably use ten times that and the massive Chinooks far more again. High explosives manufacture must use at a wild guess, 5 times as much carbon as each explosive charge weighs. In desert regions, the baracks, stores and all buildings and tents will be air conditioned to fuck and they probably won't bother too much with insulation or efficiency - it's just not part of their culture at all so they don't give a flying fuck. At a wild guess I'd say each of those wars would emit carbon at a rate equivalent to something like an average sized European country. I just found some more here

However the present war in Gaza would be small by comparison. Reason being that it's only a very short hop over the border for war planes, vehicles and tanks, not thousands of miles. Also because the Gaza strip is only 24 x 6 miles, they can only fit so many warplanes safely in the airspace simultaneously. And because the Palestinians have no armaments - just soft kids, already crumbling hospitals and schools - the bombs don't need to be as high powered as those used to destroy strong military targets and the infrastructure in Iraq. I wouldn't dare put a figure on it but I'd bet it pushes Israel's normal emissions up by a significant percentage.

professor calculus

Apart from oil

17.01.2009 08:14

Thanks for the link, I realise this is off topic but I thought someone on this thread would know best. I have seen estimates of Pentagon oil usage indeed being higher than some European countries, although Israels total consumption is far lower, at 236,000 barrels per day in 2005. I just wondered if someone had tried to put a carbon figure on buildings being turned to rubble, particulates from explosions and fires and all the rest of the needless destruction, or if such a calculation is even possible. I'll read through your website link and see if anyone there knows.

"It can be difficult to obtain precise details on the DoD’s daily oil hit, but an April 2007 report by a defense contractor, LMI Government Consulting, suggests that the Pentagon might consume as much as 340,000 barrels (14 million gallons) every day. This is greater than the total national consumption of Sweden or Switzerland."


Flight of sanity or vanity

28.01.2009 11:10

Notice how Plane Stupid activists don't seem to post reports on Indymedia. Are they too straight and middle class for indy or is it the other way round I wonder.

young and pretty