Heathrow protesters block entrance tunnel to Terminals 1, 2 and 3

By Damien Gayle. The Guardian. 26-11-2015. Retrieved from here.

Campaign group Plane Stupid parked van across road at 7.40am, and police say protesters removed and road reopened by about 11.10am

Environmental activists caused disruption at Heathrow during rush hour by parking a van across the entrance tunnel to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and locking themselves to the vehicle so that it could not be moved.

The campaign group Plane Stupid said three of its members parked the van across the tunnel at 7.40am and unfurled a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise: “No ifs, no buts: no third runway.”

The Metropolitan police said they were called to the scene soon after, and by 8.40am officers had made five arrests for “obstruction-related offences”. The force said the protesters were removed and the road reopened by about 11.10am.

A video posted to Twitter showed a small white van parked across both lanes of the carriageway inside the tunnel, with traffic backed up behind it. Motorists held up by the protest had got out of their vehicles but appeared calm.

On the side of the parked van there was a banner that said “No new runways”. In the video, a protester is lying next to the front left wheel of the vehicle, presumably locked to it.

The demonstration blocked the inbound section of the tunnel. A contraflow system was put in place on the outbound section in an effort to clear the traffic.

Cameron Kaye, a spokesman for Plane Stupid, said the protest was being staged to draw attention to concerns about the impact a third runway could have on the environment.

“Airport expansion would wreck the legally binding Climate Change Act, risking wiping out 55% of species this century and displacing 75 million more people from their homes by 2035,” Kaye said in a statement on the group’s website.

“If aviation growth isn’t reduced, by 2037 aviation alone could emit all of the carbon it’s safe for the UK to emit. The government needs to choose: build new runways or stop climate chaos. It’s that simple.”

A spokesman for Heathrow said passengers planning to travel to the airport by road should set off earlier.

“We can confirm there is a protest taking place in the inbound tunnel which is currently affecting traffic around the central terminal area and Terminals 2 and 3 at Heathrow,” the spokesman said. “Police are now on site but we urge passengers to allow extra time getting to the airport today.”

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Alternatives to fossil fuels 1: Cycling to COP21


This morning we spoke to Sama, who will be cycling from London to Paris with Time to Cycle, a network of cyclists mobilising against climate change in Paris, before and beyond. She explained us why she’s cycling to the COP, Time to Cycle’s plans for their journey and in Paris and how they are responding and preparing given the state of emergency declared in France.

COP21 is around the corner. It is yet unclear what shape the planned mobilisations may take after last weeks’ tragic attacks in Paris, and the state of emergency declared by the French government. However, French campaigners have already said that their struggle for climate justice will not stop and thousands of people from around the world, are still determined to get to Paris and are hoping to still make happen and participate in the multitude of grassroots activities, workshops, meetings, actions and events that have been planned in the French capital over the last few months.

To get to Paris, some will easily hop on a car, coach, train or plane, or even a bike, and reach France; others are simply being denied entry.

Mobility is a big issue in our globalised world. Freedom of movement is heavily determined by the colour of our skin, the money in our pockets, and the lottery of where, we were born. No matter the horrors people are escaping from, their mobility and hopes for a safer life are mercilessly curtailed by the same powers that are creating those horrors.

Mobility also refers to the transport systems our societies are organised around. Transport is a hot potato when we talk about climate change. Being responsible for 22 per cent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, the transport trends and systems that fuel and dominate affluent economies and lifestyles need to be seriously challenged. We are literally being chocked to death on our streets by the fumes of an ever increasing number of cars and lorries; and communities are being destroyed by yet more airport expansion and road building programmes.

A few weeks ago, the world was outraged by Volkswagen’s cynical deceit about vehicle emissions, yet few questioned the car centric culture governments and corporations are pushing on us as part of a package of extreme energy consumption and false convenience that all too often many of us seem willing to accept. But there are alternatives. There are far cleaner and more community oriented ways to meet our transport needs. Cycling is an obvious example. The Paris mobilisations are also an opportunity to show the world that alternatives already exist.

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