Aberdeen expansion plans approved

Expansion plans at Aberdeen Airport have been given the go-ahead, with work expected to start in March 2011 and finish in Summer 2012. This 124m extension plan will leave us with no chance of meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. We need a ban on all airport expansion if we are to have any hope of preventing runaway climate change.

Other groups such as Aberdeen Against Climate Change are also opposing these plans. The chairman of Aberdeen City and Shire Economic Future (Acsef) stated that "transport and connectivity are key to acheiving economic growth and enhancing the quality of life in the region". As seen with other airport expansion plans, it is clear that quality of life for those around the airport is certainly reduced significantly, with the threat of having houses bulldozed, increased air pollution and the construction of other infrastructure such as large access roads.

Tourism deficit means that more money is actually lost from our economy, as people spend more abroad than people spend when in the UK. Plane Stupid calls for a ban on all airport expansion, including at Aberdeen.

Climate9 sentenced for Aberdeen Airport invasion

Nine Plane Stupid protesters who shut down Aberdeen airport on the morning of March 3rd 2009 appeared in court today to finally receive their sentences. The judge and court took the protesters' urgent message on climate change seriously and gave out very modest fines ranging from £300 to £700 each.

During the two week trial in June, expert witnesses explained how aviation emissions are fuelling climate change and detailed some of the local, national and international effects, such as the impact of flooding on Scottish communities.

In anticipation of the sentencing one of the trial's expert witnesses Dr Geoff Meaden said: "Society’s problem is that, other than through civil disobedience, there are often no legitimate means of getting governments (at any level) to ‘act correctly’ or to act in the best long term interests of people, environments or indeed the planet. In the absence of such a ‘jury’ or ‘commission’, then we have to be glad that there are groups such as Climate9 who are bold enough to bring to the public’s attention existing injustices."

Since the trial the Climate9 has also received support from communities around the world, suffering from climate change effects. The nine defendants have vowed to continue their campaign highlighting the danger of aviation carbon emissions.

Dan Glass, one of the Climate9 members said: "Against the backdrop of the Copenhagen Summit failures and new waves of climate chaos, all over the world people demanding climate justice have complained to the politicians and to the judges. It’s time we did something for ourselves. The Climate9 will not uphold increasing state and police repression and camouflage the struggle that is climate injustice.

"The Climate9 provide an opportunity to spread the need for urgent action, to halt airport growth and to challenge the authorities with pride and confidence. Whatever we received today, this climate court trial won't be the last time. Our future and the health of every species is too important to leave it in the hands of the few."

One such group is The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland who passed this in the AGM in response to the Climate9 movement: "Affirm that there are times when non violent direct action involving potential and actual civil disobedience in the form of deliberate lawbreaking, may be regarded as a legitimate approach to expressing the Gospel."

Two days before sentencing one of Britain's best-known defence barristers also threw his weight behind the Climate9. Michael Mansfield QC said, "As I write one fifth of Pakistan, already blighted by earthquakes, is covered with flood waters threatening the health and safety of over six million people. Without conscientious and principled protest which focuses on the undoubted factors which contribute to this decimation of the environment, the urgency of the problem will not be addressed. I trust these entirely legitimate and selfless objectives will be reflected in the way the Climate 9 are judged by the court."

Jimmy Kerr, one of the Climate9 members said: "The trial generated public support from many corners keeping up the pressure on the legal system to one day recognise the importance of environmental action. Indeed we need to keep that momentum up. There is so much knowledge to be shared as a result of this case, from and legal issues, to public health to popular education and much much more. We can offer talks, workshops or advice and you can help by arranging an event and inviting us to take part."

Hypocrite Trump blocks expansion at airport near home in Florida

Who would’ve guessed it? Donald Trump, the American golf course tycoon who has been a driving force behind aviation expansion at Aberdeen airport, has launched a lawsuit in a bid to stop the expansion of an airport near his home in Florida.

The Celebrity Apprentice boss filed papers in Palm Beach County Circuit Court on Monday 19th July, accusing county officials of failing to assess noise and associated pollution from jet engines at Palm Beach International Airport, near his Mar-a-Lago estate and members-only beach club.

The complaint, which also targets the airport's director, Bruce Pelly, aims to block construction of a second runway and prevent planes flying over his properties. Plans for the expansion are currently on hold.

Johnny Agnew, 22, from Plane Stupid Scotland said: "This is amazing hypocrisy. Donald Trump's plans would significantly contribute to expansion at Aberdeen Airport. He has created a living nightmare for families who don’t know if they will see their next Christmas in their own home."

"This new information that he is actually fighting to block Airport Expansion near his own home shows that he can only act in self-interest and will never benefit Aberdeen.  He is simply acting to make big money for himself, and shows complete disregard to the local community's suffering and to the environmental degradation that expansion at Aberdeen Airport would cause."

Alan Flemming, an Aberdeen resident commented, "For years now we have been opposing Aberdeen Airport expansion because of the greenhouse gas emissions and excessive noise pollution it would cause. Trump has been a driving force for this expansion. He supports the airport expansion plans as they will allow rich Americans to fly into his resort and money to fly into his pocket."

"To find out that he's blocking an airport from expanding in his home town in the states is an outrage to those who have been fighting the proposed expansion at Aberdeen Airport."

Climate9 - the verdict

Last year the Climate 9 stopped tonnes of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions by disrupting operations at Aberdeen Airport. After deliberating for 4 hours, the majority of the jury in Aberdeen- the 'oil capital of Europe', found them guilty of breach of the peace. They will be sentenced in August.

The court of international opinion has come to a slightly different verdict, with messages of support flooding in from those on the frontline of climate change and commentators like John Pilger and Mike Mansfield QC.

This is the first time since the failure of the Copenhagen process that evidence of the dangers of climate change and aviation emissions have been presented by climate experts to a jury.

Speaking during the trial, expert witnesses Dr Alice Bows and Dr Geoff Meaden shocked many by explaining that the UK governements emissions targets are not radical enough to prevent future generations from experiencing catastrophic events. Like the flooding in Brazil this week, where 100,000 people have been made homeless, 1,000 peoplle are missing and at least 42 people sadly lost their lives.

These horrific events are why we must continue to take action to stop greenhouse gas emmissions, especially when the response from the government is woefully inadequate.

As one of the defendants, Jimmy, explained outside the court:

"While they talk, and nothing changes, people all over the world are starting to act. Even if it means standing up against the states use of legal intimidation. This verdict shows that the mechanisms of the establishment won't stop run away climate change. The expert witnessess have shown that we must take effective action, the protest at Aberdeen has shown that we can."

Ambulance worker tells court that Plane Stupid protestors did not delay ambulance flight

The Climate 9 and supporters outside Aberdeen Court

The trial of the Climate 9 protesters in Aberdeen heard yesterday from an air ambulance witness that the protesters were not responsible for delaying an air ambulance, as had previously been suggested during yesterday's evidence for the prosecution.

The written statement from Stephen Wright of GAMA Aviation – the firm in charge of air ambulances out of Aberdeen Airport – given to police on Tuesday 3rd March 2009 shortly after the protest ended stated:

"I became aware that there was some form of protest on Aberdeen Airport this morning, I picked up this through the media prior to attending our site. I have contacted my Operations manager, who works out of Farnborough Airport, regarding this matter and he informed me that he in turn had contacted the Aberdeen Airport Duty Manager and he in turn informed us (GAMA Aviation) that due to our flight type, was not going to be interfered with and our flight slot was guaranteed.

"Our flight was scheduled to take off at 8.00am this morning, but in fact took off about 8.35am, but this was due to our operational delay by the medics and not the protestors.

"This incident has had no financial or life threatening or operational impact on our operation.I have no complaint regarding this matter. I was seen later by the police and gave this statement."

During cross-examination Wright confirmed that this was the case, countering prior claims, both during and immediately after the action and yesterday in court, that the defendants were not at fault for endangering lives during the air side action.

Juliana Napier, from the Climate 9 defence committee said:

"This evidence is incredibly important in establishing what happened during the action. The Climate 9 freely assembled inside Aberdeen airport to stop the harmful emissions causing runaway climate change and raise awareness of the issue. They did this to ensure that our own and future generations can enjoy good health in a healthy environment not to endanger the lives or health of anyone."

The prosecution will present witnesses for the next few days and the trial is set to continue until the end of next week.

Climate 9 trial begins in Aberdeen

The Climate 9 and supporters outside Aberdeen Court

The first major climate trial since the failure of the Copenhagen talks has begun in Aberdeen Sheriff's court this morning. Nine defendants from Plane Stupid Scotland will face charges of Breach of the Peace and vandalism after closing down Aberdeen Airport in March 2009.

The group intend to take the battle for climate justice from the court of public opinion to the court of law in Scotland. They plan to highlight the social and environmental impacts of expanding the airport which they argue will mainly benefit a proposed luxury hotel and golf complex owned by business tycoon Donald Trump.

Interest has been building around the case since Climate 9 public campaigns were launched in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and London, which have drawn global and local support for the group and helped forge alliances with social justice campaigners and racial justice movements.

The defendants are pleading not guilty on the grounds that their actions were to prevent the larger crime of runaway climate change and have assembled a witness list of world-renowned experts in climate related fields including public health consultant Jenny Griffiths and Geoff Meaden, who contributed to the successful Kingsnorth 6 defence as a flooding and mapping expert.

The defendants were joined outside court by around 50 friends, families and supporters.

For more information, statements of support and how you can help the Climate 9 see climate9.com/ or email info@climate9.com. You can also ring 077655 01687.

Climate 9: you're invited to the London launch!

On Thursday June 3rd, the Climate9 are holding an event in London to launch their campaign. You'll find top civil rights and climate justice advocates and lawyers, speakers from the Climate9 Defence Committee, details of the case from the lawyers, discussion on direct action and using the courts to call for real justice and even the 9 themselves.

The event runs between 6.30-8.30pm at the Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. Please send an RSVP to info@climate9.com so we know how many are attending (but come even if you forget to let us know!).

Speakers include:

  • Gareth Peirce: leading human rights lawyer and civil rights champion. In a career of more than 30 years, she has appeared for, among others, the Guildford Four, the Birmingham Six and the families of the victims of the Marchioness river boat disaster.
  • Suresh Grover: leading civil rights and anti-racism activist and founding member of The Monitoring Group. Over the past 25 years TMG have many led campaigns to help families including those of Blair Peach, Kuldip Singh Sekon, Ricky Reel, Micheal Menson, Stephen Lawrence, Zahid Mubarek and Victoria Climbie.
  • Matthew Todd: editor of Attitude, Britain’s best selling gay magazine, and advocate for diverse action on runaway climate change.
  • John Stewart: the Independent’s ‘Britain's leading environmentalist' and spokesman for campaign group AirportWatch
  • Liz Hosken: advocate for social and ecological justice, Liz co-founded and is Director of the Gaia Foundation, working with a global network of pioneers and visionaries.
  • Jenny Griffiths: “Climate Defence to Protect the Public Health” from the Climate and Health Council.
  • Dr. Geoff Meaden: principal Geography lecturer and key witness at the well-renowned ‘Kingsnorth6’ climate trial.
  • The Climate9 Defendants: Josie Hanson, Jimmy Kerr, Bill Boggia, Dan Glass, Tilly Gifford, Mila Karwowska, Jonny Agnew, Mark Andrews, Kate Mackay
  • Other speakers include: spokesperson for ‘Nottingham 114’.

Check out the Climate9 on Facebook

If you would like a stall please email us or call us on 075351 47478.

Scottish blockaders up in court

The nine protestors who were arrested at Aberdeen airport on Tuesday morning have spent the night at Inverurie police station and appeared at Aberdeen sheriff's court this morning. They were protesting against the short-sighted, illogical, unnecessary and environmentally damaging expansion of Aberdeen airport and other airport sites across the country.

The nine were in good spirits despite spending several hours sitting in the cold at the airport, followed by a night in the cells. They should be proud of themselves: despite media reports to the contrary (and some initial confusion at our end), when asked to pack up by the police because an air ambulance needed to take off they did so and handed themselves in. The managing director of the airport confirmed that the protest "wasn't a significant delay" to the ambulance.

No one has the right to call these young men and women dangerous or irresponsible. If our elected officials had their moral courage then perhaps we wouldn't be headed towards a climate crisis with heads collectively buried in the sand. When they get out of police custody they should all be given a hearty great metaphorical pat on the back. Unless, of course, you see them in person; then they deserve a great big warm hug. Big up, one and all.

Cold-hearted cops arrest grandfather for writing in the snow

snow plane

A retired oil refinery worker turned airport campaigner thought he'd take advantage of the recent snowfall to send a seasonal message to passengers departing Aberdeen airport. The local constabulary had other ideas and promptly arrested the 65-year-old and his 25-year-old accomplice for writing "Plane Stupid - you fly, they die" in diluted red ink on a snowy hilltop one-and-a-half miles from the airport.

Geoff Lamb was held for 20 hours before being released at 11am the next morning after an unimpressed procurator fiscal took one look at the case notes before throwing them in the bin. Geoff then had the pleasure of paying £150 to get his car out of the pound where the plod had kindly parked it.

Phoned up by the local newspaper, an embarrassed copper mumbled something about nicking people for "spraying an anti-aviation slogan on a snow-covered embankment". You can insert your own joke about yellow snow and piss taking here, if you like.

Scottish activists to link up with Heathrow residents

Residents of Sipson have started a tour of Scotland to make links with local residents around its four airports. The SNP is pushing ahead with expansion at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Glasgow Prestwick and Aberdeen airport and the affected communities are being completely ignored. Now fed up campaigners have promised an epic battle to save their homes and neighbourhoods from aircraft noise, pollution and climate change.

Maggie Thorburn, 54, a former IT manager from London and a spokeswoman for HACAN ClearSkies, will be one of the residents giving talks about the Heathrow campaign and direct action. "I would never advocate violence," she says, "but I would advocate being a bit of a nuisance. Anybody can do direct action and should do it if they feel frustrated enough.”