Climate protest is big again


Climate protest is big again. Last week hundreds of thousands of people across the world took to the streets in a call for serious action to be taken to combat climate change (map above shows where marches took place). Truly, climate change has become a global movement.

UK politicians won’t be able to ignore climate change when they take the decision on airport expansion, expected about this time next year. It will come just before the COP in Paris where world leaders will gather to look at ways to cut CO2.

It will mean that any decision to build a new runway will be met by huge climate protests. Although the Government of the day will argue that the Committee on Climate Change, the Government’s official advisers, have said that one new runway would be compatible with the country’s CO2 targets, airport expansion on this scale will feel all wrong to climate campaigners. It will jar. It will anger.

And that anger will spill out on to the streets in demonstrations and direct action. If that activity is complemented by anger of local residents at what a new runway will do to their quality of life, the Government could find itself in the same trouble as when the last Labour Government tried to go for expansion:

In recent years the aviation industry has not denied climate change. It has tried to sideline it by saying that technology will deal with it. Technology will improve but to allow the rest of the world at fly as much as the rich world does today. I don’t think so. Remember only 5% of the world’s population has ever flown. For the rest of the planet, our binge flying has to stop. I feel a slogan coming on….ready for the next climate march……..

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

Plane Stupid support UK Uncut legal aid protest

Plane Stupid are supporting UK Uncut's protest on October 5th against the governments dangerous plans to cut legal aid further, to the detriment of many vulnerable people and protest groups.

Here is their call out:

The government is about to launch its biggest attack yet on our rights, freedoms, and equality. They want to completely block access to justice for all but the rich, and they want to do it by the end of the year. Such an historic attack on people’s rights cannot, should not and will not go unchallenged. On 5th October, join UK Uncut as we take mass civil disobedience to show that we won’t take this assault on our equality before the law.

The government have forced through devastating cuts in every area from education to housing, welfare to healthcare, and now they want to stop us challenging their unfair and unnecessary decisions, and to stop us from resisting  injustice.

If these proposals go through they will stop people from disputing unfair evictions from their homes. They will stop babies from having their interests represented in family disputes. And they will stop the families of people killed in custody or detention from fighting for the truth.

This isn’t a cut that we’re talking about. The changes to legal aid won’t save even one penny, in fact they will cost money by causing havoc to the legal system. They are not motivated by a need to save money – these are ideological changes aimed at ruining justice for poor people and handing more contract cash to G4S and Serco.

So join the UK uncut collective in blocking roads outside of courts around the country.  In an act of direct action, we will stand against these dangerous changes that will destroy democracy and ordinary people’s lives.  We know that this will be disruptive. We know that it will stop the traffic. But we know that this kind of direct action works, and that we need to use it to save justice.

We already have the support of DPAC, Defend the Right to protest, Women Against Rape, Plane Stupid, Kent Refugee Help and BARAC UK.  But we need your help to make this huge. Get a group together, meet and come up with some ideas for your own act of creative civil disobedience. Start planning, find your nearest court, list your action on the action section of our website and get in touch if we can help.

Blocking roads has an important and effective history in direct action in the UK, and given the government has ignored petitions and protests, civil disobedience is needed to defend our rights against this attack. By blocking roads outside of courts, we will be symbolically highlighting the devastating effect the changes will have on access to justice. If you’re angry that the government is blocking justice for the poorest and most vulnerable, join us on the 5th.  Tell all your friends, family and colleagues. Shout about it, tweet it, facebook it. 

See you on the streets!

  • More on the legal aid cuts here

Criminal legal aid cuts threaten right to protest

A major threat to political protests of all kinds is currently being consulted on by the government and hardly anyone knows anything about it.

Under new proposals to cut legal aid further, criminal legal aid will become pretty much non-existent. What the proposals mean is that criminal suspects will lose their rights to choose or dismiss a solicitor, and the number of accredited legal aid firms will drop from 1,600 to less than 400 – raising the inevitable outcome of hundreds of small high street firms being replaced by huge contractors like G4S and Eddie Stobart.

The government have labelled this process by the memorable name of 'competitive tendering'. In other words, privatisation by offering contracts to whoever can offer the cheapest rate, ie G4S and co. You would be better off representing yourself then being represented by G4S!

Nearly every lawyer in the country, except those working for companies such as G4S, have come out strongly against the proposals including The Law Society and The Criminal Bar Association. However, most people aren't taking any notice. The lawyers need supporting otherwise by the end of the year the make up and possibility for protests in this country will be seriously undermined.

Alfie Meadows, beaten up by the Police at a student protest would not have been acquitted without criminal legal aid. For Plane Stupid - many of us would probably be in jail by now without proper legal representation.

On Wednesday a demonstration will take place outside Parliament at Old Palace Yard from 10.30am. We urge you to go down there and make your voice heard.

To keep up to date with all the developments and resistance to the plans please visit:

Nantes and the Tracto-Bike


There are many reasons to love the French. Where would we be now without our stripy tops, crème brulées or berets? And now, from the nation which has shown us that it is possible to project sex appeal without the need for soap, comes another unlikely combination. Enter the Tracto-Bike!

Before you jump to conclusions, I can assure you this is not an obscure new bicycle powered tractor invention from our froggy cousins across the Channel. No indeed. This is a case of the French are doing what they're best at – protesting. French stylee.

So, a few days ago, a coalition of tractors and bicycles are took off (slowly!) on their 400km six day journey from Nantes to Paris to protest against plans for a new Nantes airport. The residents of Nantes have good reason to be up in arms. They are fighting off plans for an enormous new airport which, if built, would see the destruction of an area which is highly biodiverse, as well as being a prime dairy producing region, covering around 2,000 hectares.

The most ludicrous thing of all is that Nantes already has an airport which is not even at full capacity. Yet despite this fact, and despite the obvious implications that building a whole new airport complete with fossil fuel spewing aircraft has for an increasingly warming climate, the French authorities seem to think that a massive new airport is justified. Unsurprisingly, the French public are unimpressed.

So if you happen to be free on November 12th then why not grab your bike, or your tractor, and head over to Paris to join the farmers, activists, politicians and local residents as they arrive in style in their protest against a new Nantes airport? The campaign against Nantes airport is already the biggest in Europe and looks set to get bigger. May the politicians ignore the farmers at their peril!

Crude Awakening: holding space 101

As the direct action juggernaught that is the Crude Awakening gathers steam, the lastest in what appears to be a string of teaser films has been released. Last week's film talked about oil, and how we need to kick the habit. This week's steps it up a gear, with a look at what we'll be doing on the day.

We don't know where we're going (somewhere in London, one of 10 possible targets) but we now know what we'll be doing: holding a space. (At least, that's what they want us to think... there's a lovely air of mystery around this action!)

So sit back, have a cup of herbal tea* and prepare for a look back at the past two decades of awe-inspiring action, in the UK and abroad. Warning: video includes some truly awful hippy dancing.

16 October. Somewhere in London. Crude Awakening: come get some!

* Because proper tea is theft, innit?

Time to give oil a Crude Awakening

If there's one thing Plane Stupid likes, it's direct action. If pushed to a second thing, we'd confess a penchant for bad puns. So when we heard about the Crude Awakening, we got rather excited.

So check out the video and make your way to London for October 16th. Whoop whoop!

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."

Nest of oil giants found in central London - let's drum them out!

We all know that the real cost of cheap flights is paid for by the planet. Aviation fuel is not taxed, and so flying gets a free ride. This means more people fly, increasing demand for high-emission transport and undermining low-carbon alternatives. The combination of cheap flights and gung-ho advertising campaigns creates a mindset that we need to be constantly travelling, which leads, inevitably, to catastrophic climate change and the end of the world.

We're seeing the impact of our oil addiction every day as the Gulf of Mexico disappears under brown gunge. Oil is costing us, and the planet, dearly. It's not about taxing it - we need to get off it all together! Trains and buses can be electric, which can be renewable. Planes can't, hence the need to reduce demand for flying.

Problem is, oil companies rule the roost, making sure that we don't get the change we need to save the future. But BP's scandalous cost-cutting, which led to this latest disaster, means that all that could be changing. The tide is turning against Big Oil, and now is the time to rise up agains the oil giants! Time to gatecrash their party.

The World National Oil Companies Congress at Grange St Pauls Hotel in London 21st – 24th June invites you to: “debate and decide the future of the oil business . . . Don’t forget to pack your tuxedos and gowns. Fine wine, exquisite food and the company of some of the greatest minds in the energy business guarantee you fun and networking at the highest level.

Delegates will be arriving on Monday evening, 21 June at the Hotel at 10 Goodliman Street EC4. They "kick off with welcome drinks on a spectacular roof terrace overlooking St. Pauls Cathedral." Plane Stupid is joining the Camp for Climate Action and the UK Tar Sands Network to ruin their evening.

Gather at 6 pm at BP-sponsored Tate Modern, near the bridge across the Thames. Bring your own percussion, banners, slogans and energy.

Join the People’s Court at 7 pm outside the conference venue, where, in co-ordination with ADIEYIEMANFO Movement of Positive Action Networks who are fighting oil exploitation in Ghana, we will put the oil executives on trial for:

  • wholesale wanton destruction by pollution, leaks, and flaring, of land and sea, fish and fowl, human lives and livelihoods, present and future;
  • waging wars for oil;
  • changing the climate to create an uninhabitable planet; And, as oil runs out,
  • pursuing ever more costly and dangerous deposits from the depths of the ocean or from tar sands, instead of developing clean, sustainable forms of energy.

The Ghanese organisers for this event say:

"Oil drilling is being violently forced upon us in West Afrika with huge blood spilling. Our only defence is grassroots community self-empowerment . ... Let us therefore all rise up to the solidarity beat of our unifying peoples’ power across borders and drum out the plundering criminals! ... Neocolonialist and imperialist States and vampire capitalist transnational corporations must never be trusted with control over dangerous fossil fuels such as Oil."

Bring your own experience, and give and hear testimonies from the oil workers and communities who have for decades resisted the curse of black gold in the Tar Sands region of Canada, in the Niger Delta, in Ghana, Iraq, Colombia, Venezuela . . . and from people at the sharp end of the changing climate.

In a ceremony pre-empting Tuesday’s gala dinner and awards ceremony, companies will fight it out for the prestigious Dead Fish Award. BP? Shell? Chevron? Who will walk away with the prize?

Come help reward your favourite oil giant. Meeting at Tate Modern, 6pm, then off to Grange St Pauls Hotel, Goodliman St, London EC4

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.