direct action

Manchester Plane Stupid disrupts industry greenwash conference

Campaigners disrupted an airport industry conference today using rape alarms tied to helium balloons. The protesters from the group Manchester Plane Stupid entered the Manchester Central conference venue and sent the helium balloons reading 'Happy Retirement' to the top of the ceiling where they remained with the alarms ringing.

This occurred just as the industry delegates were posing for a photo shoot for the launch of a new carbon reduction scheme at European airports - which will not include emissions from aircraft. Meanwhile, other protesters held a banner outside the entrance reading, 'Aviation Industry Conference – Climate Criminals Inside'.

Check out the photos on our Flickr photostream.

The group were protesting against the aviation's growing contribution to climate change. Megan Sims from Manchester Plane Stupid said, "The airport industry is recklessly pushing ahead with expansion plans across the UK and Europe despite all the warnings about climate change. We cannot pursue this growth agenda if we are serious about tackling global warming."

"Their latest back-patting exercise is yet more greenwash from the airport industry. They provide the growth of the facilities for aircraft to operate and encourage more flights, more emissions and more climate change."

The three day conference was being hosted by Airports Council International. The conference was suspended whilst house staff struggled to remove the floating alarms from the ceiling.

Plane Stupid stage corporate takeover of London City Airport

5 eco activists have shut down operations at London City Airport. The group, who are wearing pinstriped suits and bowler hats entered at 2.30 am today. They cut through the perimeter fence and formed a human wheel clamp around one of the airport’s business jet fleet at the west end of the runway. The need to avoid sparks around highly flamable aviation fuel could mean that the normal process of cutting them out of their armtubes could be severely hampered.

Check out the photos on our Flickr photostream.

The ‘eco-takeover’ puts the spotlight on the selfishness of private jet use:

Because of their low passenger capacity, small jets emit between five and 10 times more carbon per passenger than commercial flights,” said spokeswoman Nancy Birch. “In an age where we face potentially catastrophic climate change, this is no longer an acceptable form of transport. It’s time that private jets were grounded for good.

Until the downturn, the private jet business was the fastest growing segment of the aviation sector. Over the last ten years it has expanded by almost 50%.

This is yet another example of the insane rush towards massive airport and flight expansion,” Birch concludes. “The aviation industry seems to think it can pollute its way out of climate change. But anyone with half a brain will know that this is just plane stupid.

London City airport blights the lives of some of the poorest people in London. Newham experiences air pollution levels which regularly exceed EU safety limits for hightly toxic chemicals such as nitrus oxide and has the highest levels of mortality in under 30s in the UK from asthma, a matter that AsthmaUK are currently investigating.

While it seems the group have successfully shut down the private jet centre, locals are reporting that public flights started running from City from 7am.

Photos by Phil Ball.

Plane Stupid Scotland: four arrested over peaceful banner drop

Four activists from Plane Stupid Scotland were arrested after a peaceful banner drop near Edinburgh airport. After dropping a banner reading 'Airport expansion is stupid' from the fourth story of a car park opposite the terminal building they were taken to St Leonard’s police station and charged with Breach of the Peace. The four were to appear in court on Friday, but the case was thrown out moments before the court opened.

The action was highlighting the double standards of the Scottish government committing to an 80% reduction in greenhouse gas emission by 2050 whole planning to expand all of Scotland’s airports. The group also questioned the logic of 60% of flights from Edinburgh airport being to UK destination.

One of the protestors, Natalie, said "Ordinary people like us must realise that if we don't take action to save ourselves then no one else will. Overwhelming Scientific evidence points to the fact that we have very little time left before our emissions take us to the point of no return and aviation is the fastest growing cause of carbon emissions in the UK. Yes, Climate science is complex but some things seem very clear cut; expanding airports at a time when we need to be dramatically curbing our emissions is stupid."

After causing no alarm and agreeing to peacefully take the banner down, the protesters were unexpectedly taken to St Leonard's police station in Edinburgh, along with a friend who was simply taking a photo of the stunt. It became apparent the real reason for their sudden arrest was for CID to aggressively interrogate the four, part of their on-going efforts to find informers from within the group. Laughably, the CID men compared the group's "leaders" to Hitler and warned the protesters that dogs could easily have been set on them!

This is yet another heavy handed arrest by police treating protestors in the UK on the same level as criminals and terrorists. After recent reports from last year’s Climate Camp showing police included confiscation of soap "because protesters might use it to make themselves slippery and evade the grip of police" more and more protestors are denied their freedom of expression and ending up in custody for speaking out against Government policy.

Johnny Agnew, a spokesman for Plane Stupid Scotland said “It feels as if this country is becoming a police state. The police are so nervous about public protest that they will arrest and charge us over anything possible. Every day we are confronted by endless advertising from powerful corporations and yet normal people cannot make their voices heard.

Plane Stupid slimes Peter Mandelson

6th March - Early this morning a Plane Stupid activist covered Peter Mandelson in green custard to protest his involvement in the dodgy decision on a third Heathrow runway, as he arrived at a government summit on low-carbon technology.

Leila Deen, 29, said:

"That such a clearly corrupt human being is still in government, despite being unelected, is an affront to democracy and a threat to any hope we have of stopping the impact that climate change is already beginning to have on our lives. We have a tiny window left to stop climate change. I want to tell my children that I did not stand back and applaud as Mandelson ruined our last chance."

Photos available on Plane Stupid's Flickr photostream. All photos licensed under Creative Commons.

Play Leila Deen - Custard Queen here...

"The only thing green about Peter Mandelson is the slime coursing through his veins. That Mandelson is today trying to make political capital out of climate change just days after reports that he met BAA's top lobbyist several times in the run up to the Heathrow decision is an insult to our intelligence and to our whole generation that will suffer from climate change."

"We know that Mandelson is best buddies with BAA's top lobbyist Roland Rudd, and reports suggest it was him who bullied Ed Miliband into accepting a third runway. We can't let the Prince of Darkness cast his shadow over West London."

Plane Stupid Scotland shuts Aberdeen airport

Nine young protesters from the climate action group Plane Stupid Scotland have this morning shut down Aberdeen airport by setting up a golf course on the taxiway. They have surrounded themselves with fortified security fencing whilst another group are occupying the roof of the terminal building and have unfurled a banner reading, “Nae Trump Games with Climate Change”.

The peaceful protest began at 02.15am this morning whilst the runway was closed. Plane Stupid aims to prevent the scheduled reopening of the runway at 5am. The group intends to maintain its blockade for as long as possible to prevent the release of thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Photos available for download and media on our Flickr site:

The activists entered the runway by cutting the fence and scaled the roof climbing ladders. Dressed as Donald Trump, sporting wigs and golfing attire, with crazy golf clubs and balls, the group are ‘putting’ on the tarmac. The banner on the fencing erected by the group reads “Plane Stupid Scotland Golf Open 2009”.

Donald Trump is supporting the expansion of Aberdeen airport where his super-rich friends will arrive to play golf on his controversial golf course. BAA Aberdeen said they welcome Donald Trump's Golf Course. Like Alex Salmond, Trump wants to bulldoze over democratic opposition to environmentally damaging projects like airport expansion. Both Trump and BAA’s plans face fierce local opposition.

One of the activists on the taxiway, Jonny Agnew, 22, from Edinburgh, said:

We have been failed by the generation of Donald Trump and Alex Salmond. Despite a catalogue of scientific reports warning them that they can’t keep on with aviation growth – even if that hinders their ability to jet in for a weekend of golf – they continue with disregard for all of us, who will end up dealing with the impacts of the climate crisis.

He added:

The reality is that our generation’s future is vanishing so that people like Donald Trump and his super-rich friends can jet into Aberdeen for a round of golf. The expansion of this airport just cannot go ahead."

Another, 24 year old Tilly Gifford, a social worker from Glasgow, said:

Alex Salmond wants to let the Spanish shareholders of BAA, Donald Trump and his super-rich American friends concrete over Scotland and its efforts to stop runaway climate change.

She added:

Arctic ice is melting, the sea is already rising and experts warn the world’s rainforests could collapse. Our generation is already starting to feel these impacts as the warming kicks in so it’s obvious that it’s going to need to be us that urgently puts the brakes on expanding unnecessary airports.

The campaigners chose to close Aberdeen after the Scottish government gave its backing to the expansion of capacity at the airport by 1.5 million passengers by 2015. Aviation is Britain's fastest growing source of emissions, already amounting to at least 13% of the UK's climate emissions.

With plans in the Scottish government’s ‘National Planning Framework’ for growth at Scottish airports including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen - as well as Heathrow and Stansted - experts from the Tyndall Centre for climate research say aviation policy alone will scupper any chance the UK has of hitting its climate targets.

25 year old Dan Glass, a community worker from Glasgow, said:

We’re here to say it cannot happen, and our generation won’t let it happen. The scientists tell us we've got seven years to make emissions peak then drop, and if we fail, the people on this runway and their entire generation, and our children, willl live with the consequences. That's why we’re doing this.

Plane Stupid turns Southampton Airport into climate refugee camp

A group of activists from local anti-aviation group Plane Stupid Southampton have just chained themselves to the entrance of Southampton airport and erected tents at the main entrance in a bid turn the regional airport into a climate refugee camp. In addition to setting up camp today, activists have formally submitted a planning application with Eastleigh Borough Council to turn the airport into refugee housing.

The planned expansion of Southampton airport, along with 34 other regional airports in the UK, will do enough damage to the climate to force an estimated 1.3 million people in impoverished parts of the world to flee raising sea levels, flooding, drought and famine.

Increased flying is one of the main culprits of climate change. While the government has committed the UK to reducing CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050, the expanding aviation industry alone would destroy any hope of hitting this target. BAA hopes to increase passenger traffic for Southampton Airport form 1.5 million passengers a year to 3 million by 2015.

In order to get flying under control, the government needs to halt all airport expansion, and encourage people to take the train. Train journeys are ten times less damaging to the climate, and Southampton has excellent rail links to the rest of the UK, making flying unnecessary.

People in the UK fly more per capita than anyone else, so the UK aviation industry has the greatest responsibility for the consequences of climate change. It makes perfect sense for Southampton to take on the burden of housing some of the world's climate refugees”, said Pete Barker of Plane Stupid. “It's crazy to imagine that we can tackle the serious threat posed by runaway climate change whilst still allowing airports to expand.

Activists accuse Climate Change Secretary of 'hypocracy'

Miliband 2

Plane Stupid Brighton activists have interrupted a public meeting during a speech by Ed Miliband MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. They unveiled a banner accusing the government of becoming a "hypocracy" - a government of hypocrites.

The Plane Stupid activists dressed in t-shirts reading 'Ed's Popular Mobilisation Team' in reference to Miliband's call late last year for popular mobilisation on climate change. They handed out flyers listing the 34 airports planned for expansion within the UK to the audience, demonstrating the apparent lack of government resolve for tackling the environmental issues that are crucial for safe-guarding our future. Demonstrating their disapproval of the government's pandering to corporate interests, many of the audience made paper aeroplanes, which took flight towards the Secretary of State.

"It is all very well for Ed Miliband to request the public to take action but it is time for the government to provide real leadership in tackling climate change," said Larry from Plane Stupid, "passing the buck is not an option if we are to avoid the chaos and loss of life Climate Change is predicted to bring." The activists feel that their actions demonstrate their willingness to help mobilise around climate change and expect the government to follow suit by accompanying their rhetoric with strong action.

"The government's farcical plans for airport expansion are incompatible with meeting the required targets for preventing runaway climate change. We are engaging with the democratic process in every way we know how, but at the same time the government keeps hypocritically supporting never ending airport expansion," said another activist called Clare.

Last year Ed Miliband championed the Climate Change Bill, yet in January he undermined this by supporting a third runway at Heathrow. Plane Stupid's actions at this meeting were to highlight the incompatibility of these two positions, and challenge not only Ed Miliband but the Labour government in general to be held accountable for their commitments. Their actions similarly challenge Nancy Platt, Labour Party candidate, who runs the risk of perpetuate this style of government: so full of promises, and yet so devoid of conviction. The democratic structures have been worryingly bypassed not only during the government's decision on Heathrow, but also on Stansted's second runway, where BAA has had more say than both local councils and respected scientific organizations, who oppose the planned expansions.

Brighton Plane Stupid activist Lucy stated "Anyone with as much access to climate science as Ed Miliband knows that the aviation industry cannot continue to expand. Miliband and a host of other MP's have failed us on Heathrow, proving their words to be as reliable as quicksand. The global environmental situation does not allow us enough time for us to let their deceit and hypocrisy keep on growing."

Plane Stupid shuts Stansted Airport

Over fifty young protesters from the climate action group Plane Stupid have this morning shut down Stansted Airport by camping on the runway and surrounding themselves with fortified security fencing.

The peaceful protest began at 3.15am this morning whilst the runway was temporarily closed for maintenance work. Plane Stupid aims to prevent the scheduled reopening of the runway at 5am. The group intends to maintain its blockade for as long as possible, preventing the release of thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

10:50pm update: All 57 protesters have been released, mostly charged with Aggravated Trespass.

10:20am update: The Press Association reports that 57 people have been arrested, and 56 Ryanair flights cancelled. That's one flight per protester, meaning each personally stopped 41.58 tonnes of greenhouse gas equivalent.

8:10am update: At least 39 people have been arrested and the runway re-opened. BAA are claiming that 21 flights have been cancelled. Every minute the airport emits around 4 tonnes of CO2.

6:00am update: BAA have confirmed that the first flights out of the airport have been delayed. The average flight out of Stansted has a climate impact equivalent to 41.58 tonnes of CO2.

Photos available from our Flickr photostream.

One young woman, Lily, aged 21 said:

"We're here because our parents' generation has failed us and its now down to young people to stop climate change by whatever peaceful means we have left. We're afraid of what the police might do to us, we're afraid of going to jail but nothing scares us as much as the threat of runaway climate change. We've thought through the consequences of what we're doing here but we're determined to stop as many tonnes of CO2 as we can."

The young campaigners have raised a banner reading 'CLIMATE EMERGENCY'. Wearing high visibility vests which have the message "Please DO something" printed on them, they chose this day for the peaceful trespass as they knew the runway was closed for maintenance works and no flights were due to take off or land for two hours after they arrived.

Tilly, 21, said:

"We all grew up listening to Blair and Brown talking about the urgent need to slash emissions, but nothing ever happened. Even now politicians from our parents' generation are in Poland holding talks about talks, but still nobody's actually doing anything. The scientists tell us we've got about seven years to make emissions peak then drop, and if we fail it will be the people on this runway, and our children, who'll live with the consequences. That's why I'm doing this."

The campaigners chose to close Stansted after the government approved the expansion of capacity at the airport by ten million passengers a year. Aviation is Britain's fastest growing source of emissions, already amounting to at least 13% of our country's climate impact. With plans for new runways across the UK, including at Heathrow and Stansted, experts from the Tyndall Centre for climate research say Labour's aviation policy alone will scupper any chance the UK has of hitting its climate targets.

Daniel, 24, said:

"We fully appreciate the scale of what we've done here today and we know many people will struggle to understand why we've done it, but the Arctic ice cap is disappearing, the seas are rising and our last chance to save our future is vanishing. With people taking more flights in Britain than anywhere else on earth, we have a unique responsibility to tackle emissions from flying."

Scottish climate activists target Scottish First Minister

Salmond house

At 4am this morning, residents from Clydebank, Paisley, Kirkliston and Cramond peacefully set up a stereo and blasted aeroplane noise through the entrance of the First Minister's private residency in Edinburgh. The action stands as a protest 'dawn chorus' to highlight the experience of living life in the shadow of a growing airport. Ironically, the stereo caused 110 decibels of noise - the equivalent of a jumbo jet taking off.

For half an hour about ten residents surrounded the building dressed in bright pajamas, night caps, clutching teddybears, with ear defenders to display the dangerous levels of noise pollution endured by their families and communities. Their placards stated "It's time to wake up to the impacts of aviation" and "have a taste of your own medicine".

The residents took these extraordinary steps to state loud and clear to the First Minister, who holds ultimate say over the fate of the expansion plans, that he cannot ignore any of the effects of airport expansion. These impacts include dangerous noise levels, rising air pollution, climate change and increasing economic uncertainty during the current credit crunch.

Jimmy Kerr, 33, a community worker from Paisley said:

"For us it is a continuous descent into depression. Most mornings I am woken at 4am by the first flights. A sense of frustration with the anti-democratic so-called consultation process has galvanised me into taking action."

Anne, 29, a teacher from Kirkliston said:

"We have taken our issue to the top to say that we cannot remain passive on airport expansion plans anymore. For years we have had to endure environmental injustices perpetrated by the government and BAA and today we are taking a stand."

Today's action marks the first in a new phase of direct action against airport expansion in Scotland. Today's direct action is the first to arise from the 'Plane Speaking' tour of communities, where residents joined Plane Stupid to plan their response to airport expansion plans and sign an 'airports action pledge'.

Activists do not believe that the Scottish Government's plans for sustainable economy and a strong Climate Change Bill are compatible with expanding airports. Aviation is the fastest growing cause of climate change and excessive noise and local pollution means that communities around Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are calling for BAA to be slapped with an Anti Social Behavior Order.

The World Health Organisation has expressed concern about the impact of aviation on human health. Long term (5-30 years) exposure to air traffic noise levels averaging 65 to 75 decibels increases blood pressure and the risk of hypertension. Sleep disturbance leads to fatigue, hypertension, greater risk of heart and respiratory problems, poor concentration in work and school, increased risk of accidents, depression, anxiety and higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse.

Today's action is particularly appropriate as Scotland's planning system is undergoing its most extreme overhaul in 60 years and both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports are due for expansion directed through the National Planning Framework 2 (NPF2).

Plane Stupid leaves Camp for Climate Action for protest at Gatwick

Gatwick demo

Nine protestors from the anti-aviation group ‘Plane Stupid’ have left the Kingsnorth Climate Camp to mount a protest against short-haul flights from the nearby Gatwick Airport. The nine climate activists had been planning to protest against the government’s plans to expand Kingsnorth coal fire power station. However continual police intimidation and violence forced them to leave the camp, choosing instead to protest against the popularity of short-haul flights, especially during the Edinburgh Festival, from Gatwick airport.

The nine activists arrived at the airport at 7.50am. They then split into three groups. The first group scaled the wall next to the escalator above the train station, occupying the roof structure and dropping a banner: ‘Short-haul flight? Let the train take the strain'. The second group mounted the mezzanine above the arrivals lounge, handcuffed themselves to a railing and dropped a banner: ‘Stop short-haul’. The third group, dressed as information points, with t-shirts asking, ‘Can I hinder?', leafleted the surprised crowd with information about the ecological cost of aviation and the irresponsibility of those who fly short-haul.

Lotti Rutter, one of those handcuffed to the railing, said:

"It’s terrifying – we’re approaching a climate catastrophe yet the Department for Transport do absolutely nothing to provide us with a low carbon transport policy – there are a total of 139 flights from London to Edinburgh as opposed to just 22 trains. We’re here today to protest against short-haul flights. We’re well aware that a lot of people will be choosing to go to the Edinburgh Festival and we’re here to ask them to make the right decision – to take the train. In a time of climate crisis anything else is more than irresponsible: it’s Plane Stupid."

Gatwick flies 26 times daily to Edinburgh. The same route is covered by a four hour train ride from London King’s Cross. However there are only 22 trains per day. The route from London to Edinburgh (by air) is also covered by Heathrow (66 flights), Stansted (31 flights), Luton (12 flights) and London City Airport (4 flights).

The activists are presently at Gatwick continuing their protest, after which those not arrested will return to the Climate Camp to continue their environmental action.