Reclaim the Power announce #StayGrounded action will take place at Heathrow

Reclaim the Power have recently announced that the #Staygrounded international day of action against airport expansion will be going to Heathrow Airport on the 1st of October!

There will be two blocs: a flashmob (a family friendly creative action) and a critical mass-style bike ride, both meeting separately around midday.

Exact meeting details will be revealed to those who have pledged to take part in the action on - so if you haven't already, make sure you add your email address and join nearly 600 others who have pledged so far.

NOW is the time to tell the aviation industry #StayGrounded in climate science and #StopAirportExpansion !

More info is here:

... please share the Facebook event page too:

... and together we can make this a truly epic day of global resistance against the social injustice of airport expansion and climate change!

Protests by Plane Stupid and Transition Heathrow in unity against aviation expansion

Early this morning protesters from Plane Stupid and Transition Heathrow scaled the Heathrow Park Inn Hotel and dropped banners saying “Any new runway would be Plane Stupid” and “Runner beans not runways” in order to show resistance to the Davies Commission’s consultation proposing a future runway at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

If Heathrow Airport’s proposal for a third runway went ahead, much of the village of Harmondsworth would be demolished, with the neighbouring villages of Sipson and Harlington also under threat. Over a million people living in London could be affected by long term noise and air pollution caused by this aggressive expansion. Heathrow are already exceeding EU air pollution limits, this is likely to increase not decrease with a new runway.

The Davies’ commission argues that an expanded aviation industry would still allow the possibility of the UK staying within its 2050 climate targets of an 80% reduction of CO2 (1), which is needed to prevent a climate catastrophe. This estimate relies on predicted technological change and the use of bio-fuels. Both are unproven and allow aviation to remain a special case, absolving the industry of any climate responsibility. We find this unacceptable.

Plane Stupid campaigner Charlie Smith said:

“The Davies Commission is a farce, it has not allowed for the possibility that the best option for the country and the planet is to avoid any further aviation expansion and seek investment in alternative means of transport. The Commission has prohibited a real debate about our transport future and as such encourages any future government to expand its aviation infrastructure thus sending us further along the road to climate chaos”

Plane Stupid adverts mocking Gatwick Airport appear on the tube

Plane Stupid posters mocking Gatwick's new "obviously" advertising campaign (see below) have started appearing on the tube network across London this morning.

Plane Stupid members were out from the early hours of this morning placing at least 300 posters across the London Underground train network.

The poster reads:

"I used to be an aviation advert. But that was Plane Stupid. Obviously".

This mornings subvertising effort was done in opposition to a recent Gatwick advertising campaign called "Gatwick Obviously" which is desperately trying to make the case for expansion of Gatwick Airport instead of at Heathrow or the Thames Estuary.

Barry Jones, 27, a Plane Stupid activist who took part in the protest said:

"Airport expansion is not the right answer in a time of climate crisis; at Gatwick, Heathrow or anywhere else. What the aviation industry has managed to do, partly through it's excessive spending on advertising, is to hijack the debate to make it appear that the only thing up for debate is where a new runway will go.

He added:

"When actually, the facts show that we cannot have any airport expansion if we want to meet our climate change reduction targets at the same time. When you add in the noise problems, air pollution and community blight caused by airport expansion then the case for expansion falls apart as it did before in 2010".

If you spot any of the posters on the tube please take a picture and email them to or you could tweet it to @planestupid

Gatwick bidders are too skint to buy airport

After a week in which we learnt that all the Gatwick bidders wanted a second runway we learn that none of them can even afford to buy the airport. Gatwick has turned into a 2-bed flat in Streatham, with buyers lying to get a mortgage and the owner hinting at conservatories and loft extensions.

Which presumably makes the credit rating agency, Standards and Poor's, a bit like the credit crunch in this over-stretched metaphor, shaking the property ladder and laughing as your chain collapses under the weight of its own bluster. They've refused to give any of the bidders an appropriate credit rating if they borrow more than £800 million - half of the airport's already reduced cost. Just last summer Gatwick was meant to cost £2 billion, but it's now down to £1.6 billion; today's news means it's likely to sell for even less.

BAA is clearly unhappy and trying to talk up the value; hence last week's scare stories about more runway potential. Returning to our metaphor, BAA wants buyers to think that Gatwick is a real fixer-upper, despite being poorly served by transport links and probably suffering from subsidence. An airport which can expand is worth more than one which can't, but it's worth nothing if your buyers can't afford it. S&P doesn't think much of these bids: one was described as "an aggressive financial risk profile characterised by relatively high debt leverage as demonstrated by an opening debt/RAB ratio of 54pc". I have no idea what that means, but it doesn't sound very good.

Perhaps now is a good time to remind BAA that Plane Stupid is happy to buy the airport, and that we'll close it and turn it into a newt sanctuary. Stopping all those flights is worth a fortune in carbon credits, and we'll give all the airport's staff jobs looking after our amphibian friends. BAA, if you're listening, just give us a call. Newts are cute and deserve a new home.

Plane Stupid to turn Gatwick into newt sanctuary

Gatwick newt farm

The uber-capitalists at the Competition Commission have given their final verdict: BAA is to be forced to sell Gatwick, Edinburgh and Stansted. The Commission wants to see more competition, by which it means more expansion at every airport. But how will the credit crunch impact on potential buyers? Who cares: Plane Stupid is offering to buy the airport and turn it into a newt sanctuary.

You might think that we don't have anything like the money needed to buy an airport - and on the surface of it you'd be right. But thanks to the wonders of venture capitalism and carbon trading, we've been able to concoct a marvellous scheme which should bring in the bucks. Gatwick emits millions of tonnes of CO2: 5 million annually, to be precise. Each tonne retails for $20 dollars or so, if it hits the Government's 'gold standard', so that's one hundred million dollars a year.

But we're not stopping Gatwick for just one year: we're closing it permanently. That unlocks decades worth of credits, and we can sell them now. 25 years would bring us in $2.5 billion; £1.6 billion in devalued sterling.  But why stop there: if we claim we had plans to build eight new runways and terminals all over the place (but can be paid not to) then we get to sell those credits as well. That's easily going to bring in the last £400 million. Who says market-based initiatives are rubbish then? Certainly not the newts...

Competition Commission condemns BAA for not expanding enough


Isn't free-market capitalism great? Just when BAA was enjoying a few months of rest, after an annus horribilus which saw protestors against Heathrow's expansion sitting on planes, squatting their car park and prancing about on Parliament, along comes the Competition Commission demanding the airport operator sell two London airports ASAP.

Normally I'd be rolling about laughing, except that I made sure to read the fine print. One of the reasons the Commission wants BAA to split up is... it didn't expand airports fast enough. Apparently BAA should have issued a legal challenge against the cap on Gatwick expanding, as well as been more aggressive at Stansted.

Breaking (BAA) up is hard to do


Another day, another blow for BAA. After months of speculation, the Competition Commission has indicated that BAA might have to sell off Gatwick to break up their monopoly over London's airports. While the papers are taking great delight in kicking BAA while it's down, I'm getting worried. Could splitting up the monopoly lead to more airport expansion?

According to the Evening Standard, the Commission condemned "A 'short-term and reactive' approach to airport expansion. Major decisions about infrastructure have 'generally been too late to meet demand'." If that wasn't enough to worry you, try this accusation: "BAA managers have also too easily given commitments not to expand further at an airport and abdicated responsibility to government for strategic planning."