Plane Stupid activists charged over Heathrow disruption
PUBLISHED: 17:18 14 July 2015 | UPDATED: 17:26 14 July 2015
PA/Press Association Images
Thirteen climate change activists have been charged after they chained themselves together on Heathrow’s northern runway, causing delays and cancellations for passengers.
Graham Edward James Thompson, 42, of Durlston Road, Upper Clapton, and Sheila Menon, 43 of Pellerin Road, Stoke Newington were amongst the demonstrators from direct action group Plane Stupid, who cut through a perimeter fence and entered the northern runway at 3.30am on Monday.
The activists, who have been charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome, wore arm-locks and lay on the runway, where police had to use heavy machinery to cut them free.
Seven hours into the protest, police had arrested nine people after cutting through their armlocks and the remaining four were moved to a ‘safe area’ while officers continued to try to remove their arms from the lock, but were also later arrested.
Heathrow cancelled 22 flights, which a spokesman said was mostly due to protest action.
Plane Stupid said the protesters – one of whom was dressed as a polar bear – were campaigning against plans to build a third runway at the airport, and further protests would follow.
A spokesman said: “The skies above Heathrow are already the busiest in the world, and demand for flights is driven by air fares that are kept artificially low by generous tax exemptions.
“Nine of the top ten most popular routes out of Heathrow are short haul including destinations such as Paris, Manchester and Edinburgh which all have existing rail alternatives.
“We want to say sorry to anyone whose day we’ve ruined, and we’re not saying that everybody who wants to fly is a bad person.”
The group will all appear at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday August 19.
A Met police spokesman said: “The Metropolitan Police Service works closely with Heathrow Airport Limited to keep those who use or work at Heathrow safe and secure.
“The Metropolitan police and Heathrow will jointly review today’s protest incident at the airport and make necessary changes to the security plan.”
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