You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Heathrow drone protest: Climate activists plan to disrupt airport with drones despite pre-emptive arrests

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 13/09/2019 Sean Morrison
UP NEXT
UP NEXT

Climate activists plan to disrupt Heathrow by flying drones today despite the arrest of five of the group’s members in a pre-emptive strike by police.

The Heathrow Pause group aims to ground flights by illegally flying the remote-controlled devices near the airport in a bid to force the Government to take bigger steps to reduce carbon emissions.

Met officers on Thursday arrested three men and two women from the group on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance in relation to the planned demonstration.

But Heathrow Pause said it would go ahead anyway.

a man standing in front of a window: Roger Hallam is arrested in Bethnal Green on Thursday (Heathrow Pause) © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited Roger Hallam is arrested in Bethnal Green on Thursday (Heathrow Pause)

"The action will carry on exactly as planned, peacefully and non-violently, regardless of today's events - we have contingency measures in place," it said in a statement on Thursday.

The group said the two men arrested in in Bethnal Green, east London,were "prospective drone pilots" Roger Hallam - a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion - and Mike Lynch-White, who were being interviewed by a reporter at Billy's Cafe "when four police cars pulled up".

Responding to the arrests, Heathrow Pause said in statement: “This is to activists, rebels and ordinary people everywhere. Please stand with us. Don’t let our planet and children die.

Gallery: Biggest news stories of 2019 (Photo Services) 

“We all have to rise up. If we are all arrested before we can stop this horrendous project then please continue where we left off. Much love.”

Earlier this week, police said they were confident the action would not lead to a repeat of the chaos seen at Gatwick last December, when drone sightings grounded planes in the run-up to Christmas.

But they warned that attempted disruption of the airport and flying drones without permission in the exclusion zone were serious crimes.

A drone is pictured near Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls © Thomson Reuters A drone is pictured near Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The activists said they were not looking to endanger life, and aim to conduct the action and alert authorities before the airport opens.

Heathrow has said the demonstration is counter-productive and criminal, adding that despite talks between the two sides, the campaigners disagree with the airport's belief that aviation can and should be decarbonised.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: "We have carried out these arrests today in response to proposed plans for illegal drone use near Heathrow Airport which protest group Heathrow Pause have said will take place tomorrow morning.

Activists Valerie Milner-Brown and Linda Davidsen talk with the media as they fly drones near Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls © Thomson Reuters Activists Valerie Milner-Brown and Linda Davidsen talk with the media as they fly drones near Heathrow Airport in London, Britain, September 12, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

"Our policing plan is aimed at preventing criminal activity which poses a significant safety and security risk to the airport, and the thousands of passengers that will be using it. We have warned previously that arrests would be made if this activity continued.

"In these circumstances, we believe these arrests to be a proportionate response to preventing criminal activity that could significantly impact on a major piece of national infrastructure.

"We remain fully prepared for the planned protest tomorrow, and will work quickly to identify criminal activity and arrest anyone committing offences."

Police on Wednesday told Heathrow passengers to travel as normal on Friday "because we're going to do everything we can to prevent any disruption".

MSN UK is committed to Empowering the Planet and taking urgent action to protect our environment. We’re supporting Friends of the Earth to help solve the climate crisis, please give generously here or find out more about our campaign here.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Evening Standard

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon