Plane Stupid wants police spies out of our lives!

Crowdjustice appeal launched by social justice campaigner/ Plane Stupid member Tilly Gifford


The Home Office has failed to extend the Undercover Policing Inquiry into Scotland and the Scottish Government has failed to order its own public inquiry into #spycops. I am taking them to Court to make sure an Inquiry is held into Undercover Political Policing in Scotland. 

On 16th July 2015 Theresa May, then Home Secretary, announced a public inquiry into undercover policing. This announcement followed revelations that police officers involved in spying on political campaigners had used the names of dead children to create their new identities. They had long term, intimate relationships with women, fathered children, and in some cases acted as agent provocateurs.

We know that these activities were also carried out in Scotland.

For example,  during the G8 Summit at Gleneagles in 2005 the Metropolitan Police sent undercover police officers across the border.  
In addition, English undercover officers also had intimate relations with a number of women they targeted in Scotland, a repeated human rights violation made by the Metropolitan Police Service that they have publicly apologised for.
Extending the Pitchford Inquiry to Scotland

Despite dozens of activists having been verified as being spied upon in Scotland,[2] the public inquiry into these violations has been limited only to England and to Wales.[3] 

The Home Office failed to extend the Undercover Policing Inquiry into Scotland. The Scottish Government also failed to order its own public inquiry into these issues. As a result, I am taking them to Court to make sure an Inquiry is held.

Through the Pitchford inquiry, communities in Wales and England who have suffered extreme abuses of their Right to Private Life, have the chance to have light shed on such violations carried out by the State. As it stands now, people in Scotland have no such recourse to truth or accountability.

This court case is not just to highlight one person who was spied on, but to highlight the case of hundreds of people who deserve a public inquiry into this abuse of police power in Scotland also. We seek truth and justice.

Targeted as an Informant

In 2009 I was targeted to be an informant. I had been campaigning and working with communities for many years on environmental issues.

There was an attempt by police officers to recruit me through threats and coercion - they detained me, intimidated me and kept the keys to my home. I was asked to spy on behalf of the police. In an on-going “business arrangement”, I was asked to betray my friends, my beliefs and the communities in Scotland we were supporting. In the course of three meetings, police officers indicated that they would give me cash payments in exchange for information. I was lucky in that I was able to record these exchanges and expose the Police and their tactics in the media.  They can be heard on The Guardian website.[4] Mixed with these promises was a threat that if I did not co-operate I might later find myself in jail.

To date we don't know who these people were - they claimed to be from Strathclyde police - although that has since been denied. How long had they been following me? Which official decided that I should be targeted? And on what basis? I, and as yet unknown number of people like me, deserve answers. We deserve the same opportunities for truth, justice and resultant safeguards that is not allowed to happen again.

Through the undercover police stories emerging over the last few years, we've seen just the tip of the state policing which has been put in motion to undermine social movements across the UK. The scope and scale is not fully understood, but we do know that over 1000 campaign groups were spied on. Undercover political policing is targeting trade unionists, socialist parties, justice campaigners, anti-racist activists, and environmentalists.

At a later date I came into contact with Mark Kennedy who was working under the control of the National Police Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU). Police officers from the Metropolitan Police operated in Scotland possibly without the -permission of the Scottish authorities. It is known that Mark Kennedy, who has played a central role in the undercover policing scandal related to Scotland, also violated human rights here. [5]

I got off lightly, I wasn't targeted for a sexual relationship, nor deep friendship, nor trusted relationship. However many people in England, Wales and Scotland were, and we demand to know the truth.

Legal Action – Scotland

On 24th October 2016 the Public Interest Law Unit[6] through solicitors in Scotland launched Judicial Review proceedings against the Home Office and the Scottish government. The proceedings filed in Edinburgh seek to challenge the following:

  1. the decision of the UK Government to refuse to extend the terms of reference of the Undercover Policing Inquiry into undercover policing to cover Scotland; and separately
  2. the decision of the Scottish Ministers to refuse to set up a Scottish Inquiry under and in terms of the Inquiries Act 2005 with terms of reference equivalent to those of the Inquiry but covering Scotland.

Why no Legal Aid?

Despite this being a strong case, with good facts, supported by clear domestic and human rights law, the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) have refused my legal aid application in March 2017.

I hope to initially raise £5,000 in order to take this case forward and to get the Court to grant permission for it to proceed to a full Judicial Review. Please support this case, it is important to me, but is just as important to hundreds of others.




[4] ; ; and


[6] The Public Interest Law Unit is a project that specialises in challenges to decision made by public bodies. It specialises in judicial review, human rights and public inquiries. It is currently representing core participants in the Undercover Policing Inquiry ( which has a remit to look at undercover policing in England & Wales.



Yes Yes Yes

Environmental activists find themselves answering the same questions again and again, and one of these most frequently asked questions is “You’re saying no to coal power fire stations, no to airport expansion, and no to nuclear, but what do you want?

I often find it hard to put into words what it is that I do want, especially when the things that we are fighting against appear more immediate. However last weekend’s Camp for Climate Action outside RBS headquarters in Edinburgh reminded me what I would like to see in the future.

Sustainability. Relying on sources that won’t dry up or run out. When I see a wind farm from a train window I feel like I’m looking at the future, and it’s safe and clean and far from the eyesore it’s made out to be.

Community. Climate camp has a strong sense of interdependence and a genuine sense of community. People look out for and support each other, which we saw at Edinburgh when protestors stuck together in stressful situations and made quick decisions as a collective.

Empowerment and self reliance. So many people are disempowered, and feel like they are unable to do something unless they have trained in a particular area. Climate camp is a space where people learn by doing, and within hours you will find yourself putting up a giant marquee or cooking for a hundred people.

I say yes to compost toilets, yes to recycling, yes to grey water systems, yes to reusing everything and anything you can, yes to educating yourself, yes to including everyone, yes to mucking in, yes to vegan food, freegan food and local organic produce.

Yes to consensus decision making, to being cooperative, to taking the initiative and not waiting for someone to give you permission to do what needs doing.

Yes to helping out your neighbour, and yes to helping out someone who lives on the other side of the world to you. Yes to active participation, yes to creativity and yes to fun.

Yes for all of these and for taking action to bring the institutions which threaten this future for my generation and for generations to come to their knees.

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."

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 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.

They destroy the planet. We get locked up for talking about it

4 men and 1 woman were arrested and charged on Wednesday 31st March for speaking in public about the climate effects of aviation at the reopening of Glasgow Airport Terminal 2. The group from Stop Expansion at Scottish Airports (SESA), including a legal observer and two photographers, were leaving the airport after holding a banner for a photograph outside Terminal 1 when a police van and police car pulled up and arrested 4 of the group.

Late into the night, riot police later went to the homes of the arrested without warrants. On Thursday the 5 were charged with obstructing normal airport business. All of the accused deny the charges. The group believes that those arrested were targetted because SESA is calling for a public non-violent peaceful protest at the airport on October 10.

Amelia Birrell, had riot police at her door after midnight saying that they wanted to question her son, Robbie. She said: "I think that this justice system is a joke when it locks up peaceful individuals until 6pm the next day when they are talking about such serious measures as climate change. We were made to feel like criminals when riot police searched around the whole of our house in the middle of the night. I know that the airport is a sensitive place but they are all passionate individuals worried about the future of our country and they were doing nothing to cause any disturbance. I am proud of my son, we are supposed to have freedom of speech in this country and such heavy handed policing is disproportionate and hypocritical."

This is not the first time that Scottish anti-airport expansion campaigners have been subject to heavy-handed policing tactics. In January 2009 Geoff Lamb, a pensioner from Aberdeen was been held in a cell overnight for innocently writing 'you fly, we die' in the snow in food dye. Later in 2009, Plane Stupid exposed a massive police operation to bribe and infiltrate peaceful protest groups.

The disproportionate tactics we have seen by Strathclyde police mirror those infamously used by the Metropolitan police. Arrested for voicing concerns about the aviation industry’s massive and growing contribution to climate change? Who are the real criminals here?

Call out for public shut down of Glasgow airport on October 10

For several years now we've sat by and listened as MP after MSP pledged to do something about climate change. So far, they've achieved sod all, and time is running out. It's crunch time: if the authorities won't make climate change policy work, we need to, openly and together. But how, you ask? Well, we're going to start by shutting down Glasgow airport on October 10.

We've formed a new coalition, Stop Expansion at Scottish Airports, and we're calling on anyone who believes in a sustainable future to join us. There have been a number of public actions against climate change in England, but this is the first in Scotland.

We've got to do something about flying. The Air Transport White Paper and the Scottish Climate Change Bill go in opposite directions. One forecasts a massive increase in passengers and the other demands a 42% reduction in greenhouse gases. It's the politics of the madhouse.

An increasing number of people will not stand by and watch airports blast more and more emissions into the atmosphere. We will not let the airlines and the aviation industry destroy any hope of reaching targets defined in the "world leading" Climate Change Bill.

We're targeting Glasgow airport because it's the perfect example of expansion plans gone mad. Over two-thirds of flights are to airports within the UK and half of those are to London. It's right next to a major population centre, with thousands of flights over already-deprived communities. But our problem is with the industry, not passengers, which is why we've given everyone so much notice.

So form a group, get dreaming, and get advice on safe ways to plan effective action. We'll see you on October 10.

Why is BAA taking over Edinburgh tourism?

Last week the managing director of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar, became chairman of the Edinburgh Tourism Action Group (ETAG). Dewar talks interchangeably about the needs of the airport and tourist industry. Surely increasing tourism means expanding the airport to allow more passengers to fly here from abroad?

It's not quite as simple as that. Firstly, British people fly twice as much as anyone else in the world. We do this because we're an island, but also because the aviation industry is such a powerful lobbyist. The impact on our tourism industry is dire: each year we spend £20 billion more abroad than foriegn tourists spend here. Visitors from overseas only make up 28% of the passengers flying to Edinburgh. The rest are Brits returning home.

This aviation-driven tourism strategy is unsustainable and embarassing. Remember the Homecoming campaign? Instead of empowering the managing director of the City’s airport we should be encouraging British people to holiday at home. Putting Dewar in charge of tourism is like leaving the fox in charge of the chicken coop.

The appointment puts BAA in an incredibly strong position to fight any increase in passenger duty or tourism taxes. It will allow the airport free reign to promote its expansion plans, which would lead to more noise and carbon emissions. And by equating itself with tourism, you can be sure that they won't be short of cash for expansion. Roll over while we rub your belly BAA.

Scottish airports draining local economies

Last week we heard that there is going to be an emergency economic review of Glasgow Airport in the coming year to assess the level of economic importance of the airport. Passenger numbers have fallen 20% in the last two years and BAA have to sell off one of Edinburgh or Glasgow. But Gerry McCartney and Airport Watch Scotland just finished an economic report into the airport. Why not just look at that?

Could it be because the report wasn't complementary about the aviation industry? Gerry showed that Glasgow airport has a tourism deficit of £1.36 billion (which is also in line with the UK deficit of £17 billion) and is a drain on the local economy. This flies in the face of the Government's airport policy: expansion, expansion, expansion. The paper rightly noted that no one has examined what would happen if the airport didn't expand. Would the country go into shock? The fabric of our economic system break down? Not likely.

Halting the expansion of Glasgow airport means fewer sleepless nights for local residents, fewer greenhouse gas emissions and would move us towards our Climate Change Act targets. More people would chose to travel by more sustainable methods of transport, and it would reduce the airport's negative impact on the economy.

When Gerry’s report was launched in the Scottish Parliament after its release in December 2008, apart from the organiser not one single MSP showed up. It seems the politicians are only interested if reports about the aviation industry come from the aviation industry. It’s time for that to change.

Gerry concluded that "An informed way forward would be to plan a staged disinvestment in air travel alongside investment in sustainable industries and travel modes. This Just Transition would create a sustainable economy and more secure employment." Wake up Hollyrood, it’s time to plan for our future.

Residents get peace and quiet as BAA cuts Glasgow winter services

British Airports Authority wants to close Glasgow Airport overnight and moth-ball Terminal 2 to save itself some money during the winter. Built only 5 years ago, Terminal 2 has been predominantly used by budget airlines specialising in short haul flights. It's a symbol of how the industry's unrelenting growth model has fallen apart with the recession.

Local residents had feared that the airport with passenger numbers could balloon from around 8 million to 24 million over the next 20 years. Now they're looking forward to getting a few decent nights sleep without the roar of planes overhead.

Activists visiting the local community over the past couple of years have noted increasing circumstantial evidence of serious illness and cancer clusters in the vicinity of the airport. We're trying to get progressive voices within the scientific and medical community to study the connections between airport noise and pollution, and ill-health and disease.

Of course not everyone is rejoicing at these plans, and Plane Stupid Scotland vehemently opposes any job losses arising from BAA's closure plans, or any changes to shift patterns that aren't made in full consultation and agreement with workers. It's not their fault that BAA over-reached and built more capacity than it needed. The responsibility lies squarely with the ever-greedy airport operator and its unwavering belief that the growth would never end.