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Activists climb onto BA jet at Heathrow

LONDON, England (CNN) — Four Greenpeace activists climbed on top of a British Airways plane at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday to protest plans to build a third runway, the environmental group said.

The protesters unveiled a banner atop the plane which reads, Climate emergency — no third runway.

I’m standing on this plane because our planet and the people who live on it are in danger, said Anna Jones, 27, one of the Greenpeace protesters. Climate change can be beaten, but not by almost doubling the size of the world’s biggest airport.

Greenpeace said the activists — two men and two women — waited for all the passengers on the Manchester, England to London flight to disembark before they walked through the terminal, crossed the Tarmac, and climbed stairs onto the plane’s fuselage.

British Airways said the plane was an Airbus A320.

A Heathrow spokesman said it was investigating the unlawful protest and called the actions of the group irresponsible.

We may have exposed a hole in security at Heathrow, but it’s not as big as the hole in (Prime Minister) Gordon Brown’s climate change policy, said Sarah Shoraka, 30, another of the protesters.

Shoraka said airport security was using a cherry-picker crane to remove the protesters from the plane.

We will get arrested but obviously we’ve thought about this very carefully, Shoraka said. We’re really, really serious about what we’re doing. We really care, and we don’t want dangerous climate change to happen.

Shoraka said the group chose the Manchester-to-London flight because the train is a viable alternative on the same route.

The push for a third runway is being fueled by totally unnecessary flights like this one, Shoraka said.

Wednesday is the deadline for the government’s public consultation on whether a third runway should be built.

Heathrow is the main airport in Britain and one of the biggest in the world. But despite its size, Heathrow has only two runways, and the government and airlines have for years called for the construction of a third runway.

Opponents complain of the environmental impact, noise, pollution, and destruction to local property a third runway would have.

Shoraka said the protest was the only way to get the group’s message across.

The consultation that the government has set up has been widely derided as a fix, she said. We’re reasonable people but we just felt we had to take this action today because there’s nothing else we can do within our power to stop climate change.

The airport disagreed with the need for the protest.

The government is currently consulting on the future of Heathrow Airport and all parties have the opportunity, through the proper democratic process, to make their views known, said the Heathrow spokesman, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Activists climb onto BA jet at Heathrow – found here.


February 25, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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