Help BAA test Terminal 5

BAA's been having a bad run of it lately, what with their Chairman getting sued for corruption, lying to their staff over Stansted expansion, and getting accused of conspiring with the Government over nitrous oxide levels.

So when we heard they needed 15,000 volunteers to test Terminal 5, we jumped at the chance to help out. But one hundred Plane Stupid volunteers isn't going to make that much of a difference. To help BAA hit their 15,000 target, we needed to think bigger. And then it hit us: there's probably a few thousand people from the Camp for Climate Action who would love to pay BAA back for the hospitality they showed us during the week.

Want to join us? Click here to register.

BAA Chairman named in BAE corruption lawsuit


Just when BAA thought it was safe to return to the business of destroying communities and the climate, their new 'troubleshooter' Chairman, Sir Nigel Rudd, gets named in a BAE bribery lawsuit.

After the UK Serious Farce Office decided to drop the investigation (in return for Saudi Arabia buying lots of new Eurofighters), the American Department for Justice began investigating the dodgy dealings and bribery allegations. Now shareholders in the States have launched a multimillion dollar lawsuit against the directors of BAE, including Rudd, claiming that they have wrecked the company's reputation with "improper and/or illegal bribes, kickbacks and other payments" to the Saudi regime.

BAA's Stansted staff paid to protest for expansion

Given these times of heightened security at the nation's airports, you'd expect BAA to be employing as many security as possible to get passengers through check-in and into their shopping centres - sorry, departure terminals.

Not so! Instead, the company has been giving security staff time off to stand around outside the Stansted inquiry, waving pro-expansion banners. To make matters worse, the airport company has been lying to its staff to persuade them to join in.

Protestors take direct action to blockade BAA Headquarters

Environmental activists blockaded the Heathrow Headquarters of BAA, preventing employees from entering the building. The action marked the 60th birthday of Heathrow airport.

The action by campaign group, Plane Stupid, was in support of local people whose homes will be demolished if a third runway gets the go ahead. A small team of protestors used piping and chains to lock themselves across the main entrance to the company’s offices, and have unfurled a banner reading, "No Airport Expansion".

Plane Stupid spokesman, Joss Garman, explained, "Since Heathrow is now 60, it’s time BAA took a health check – or better, early retirement. Emissions continue to rise with aviation now the fastest growing cause of climate change and, like a cancer, Heathrow is swallowing up villages like Sipson – wiping established communities off the map."

He added, "In 60 years, Heathrow has grown from being a small local airport into a climate change factory. BAA's plan to expand the airport further puts them in the premier league of climate change criminals. BAA can be assured; today’s action is just the start of our direct action campaign to stop airport expansion."

Last year 475,000 planes used Heathrow airport, with a plane landing at or taking off from the airport every 45 seconds throughout the day. If plans go ahead to make more use of the existing runways and build a third runway, flight numbers could exceed 700,000 according to the Civil Aviation Authority.

Air pollution levels are already above the recommended levels and, according to a report published in March 2006, would exceed the EU legal limits were a third runway to be built.

In 1980, the government approved Terminal 4 on the understanding that there would be a cap of 260,000 plans using the airport each year and it would be the last development at Heathrow. In 2001, Terminal 5 was given the go-ahead on the condition that flight numbers at the airport did not exceed 480,000 a year. Within two years, the government proposed a third runway which the government estimates will lead to at least 655,000 flights per year.

In 1995, as BAA sought permission for a 5th Terminal, they ruled out a third runway, writing in its company newspaper, Heathrow News, "BAA has said repeatedly, 'There will be no third runway.'"

John Stewart, Chair of HACAN Clearskies, said, "The story of Heathrow is one of deception from day one. The only difference is that these days BAA does it with more style and spin. They constantly try to re-assure their 'stakeholders' that they have their best interests at heart whilst all the time plotting further expansion."

BAA injunction over!

At 00:01 Saturday morning, the BAA injunction passed away in its sleep.

Plane Stupid would like to say just one thing:

Thanks for the free publicity!

BAA gets new head honcho


Great news for playground loner BAA! After hemorrhaging staff like it's going out of style, they finally found one fool crazy enough to work for them.

Step forward Sir Nigel Rudd, a 'serial non-executive director' whose illustrious career includes helping arms dealers BAE systems flog their weapons to anyone who'll take them.

Well at least he'll be used to the occasional protest...

Activists still have a vital role to play in tackling aviation growth

The relationship between Labour and industry means that parliament won't do enough.

I was pleased that your leader (A different kind of turbulence, August 20) recognised the climate campers' scientific argument that inaction on climate change now will cost lives later. As the leading climate researcher Dr Kevin Anderson said last week, "the government cannot reconcile current aviation growth with its stated position on climate change. Even with the latest more efficient aircraft, the climate-change imperative demands that air-travel growth be severely curtailed." However, I was stunned by the Guardian's notion that because nowadays "nearly all politicians will at least pay lip service to green issues", the merits of "Swampy-style activism" have been undermined. Equally, the idea that there has been a "big political shift ... since 1996" is not reflected by the facts.

BAA rats flee sinking ship


As the Camp for Climate Action continues its clear-up, BAA announces that Duncan Bonfield, director of communications, and Mark Mann, head of media relations, have quit the organisation, in a row with Ferrovial, their Spanish parent company.

Nothing to do with the wave of negative PR following the most useless injunction in history and a 24 hour seige of its world HQ, of course.

The mother of all injunctions

The British Airports Authority (BAA) effectively scored an own goal in their bid to secure an injunction against the Camp for Climate Action. As was widely reported, the original was massively reduced in scale and severity by the High Court. Initially BAA had applied for a far reaching injunction against four defendants and the members of their associate organisations.

These were Leo Murray and Joss Garman from the direct action group Plane Stupid, John Stewart - Chair of Airport Watch and Geraldine Nicholson from the No Third Runway Action Group (No TRAG). Since Airport Watch is an umbrella group including the National Trust, RSPB and other large organisations, the original injuction would have restricted the movements of approximately 5 million people.

BAA do not want next week's Climate Camp to happen obviously fearing the adverse publicity. They proposed that parts of the M25 and parts of the M4 be out of bounds to potential climate campers as well as platforms 6 and 7 of Paddington station and the entire Piccadilly Line.

As it covered so many people over such a large area, it soon became known as the 'Mother of all Injunctions'. Ken Livingstone, furious that Transport for London had not been consulted prior to BAA's application, publicly waded into the debate, saying that someone at BAA must be "out of their skull."

Unsurprisingly, Mrs Justice Swift told BAA to come back with something workable. On Monday 6th August, BAA were granted an injunction against John Stewart, Leo Murray and Joss Garman and members of Plane Stupid only. It stipulates that these persons are not allowed on Heathrow property. Despite some clever press releases from BAA declaring victory, the whole saga has really been an own goal.

The Climate Camp has received massive coverage from the mainstream press, and will now be bigger than it would otherwise have been. It is not covered by the injunction and it is perfectly legal to attend the camp. BAA's lawyer Timothy Lawson-Cruttenden, now known as 'TLC' amongst Climate Campers, had bragged of his track record of using the 1997 Protection from Harrassment Act, a law originally designed to protect women from stalkers, to gain injunctions against animal rights and weapons-manufacture protesters.

He had called himself "a rottweiler" - a market-leader in criminalising otherwise lawful behaviour. Now he looks more like Scooby Doo. The injunction granted was not the Protection from Harrassment sought, but a rather softer injuction under common, not criminal, law.

For the majority of people that will attend the camp (estimates range from 2000 to 4000 people) the injunction does not affect them. However, there are some disturbing consequences for Plane Stupid's members regarding freedom of speech. This is because anyone who breaches the injunction "in concert with Plane Stupid" is also covered.

This means that if anyone from Plane Stupid (that is anyone who has been arrested on Plane Stupid actions and spokespeople) aids, abbets or incites direct action against Heathrow until the 31st August (when the injunction expires), they will be in breach of the injunction.

Plane Stupid has already had to alter one of their workshops at the camp.
Members of Plane Stupid (such as myself) are now having to watch what they say. For example, could acknowledging the importance of direct action to the Chartist and Suffragette movements in a press interview at the camp count as incitement? Our lawyers are unsure.

The Camp for Climate Action will happen at Heathrow from Tuesday 14th- 21st August. Each time Heathrow expands, it is granted permission on the basis that it will not expand further. Terminal 4 was accompanied by a promise there would be no Terminal 5. Terminal 5 was accompanied by a promise there would be no third runway. Terminal 5 is not even open yet, but BAA are already pushing for that third runway and Terminal 6.

For the last thirty years, Heathrow residents have been continuously lied to. Meanwhile, aviation's rapid growth rate threatens to undo all our climate change efforts. The Camp will run a variety of workshops and act as an example of sustainable living. As for the rest, the injunction prevents me from commenting further.

PHA 1997 injunctions are pants


Here at Plane Stupid, we think using the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 - a law designed to keep women safe from stalkers - to protect climate criminals is a bit pants.

So we got some printed up.