The blockaded tunnel to Heathrow airport this morning, 21st February 2017. Photo: Rising Up!
Rising Up! protest blockades Heathrow airport
21st February 2017
A direct action protest by Rising Up! today blocked access to three Heathrow terminals to press their demand for no third runway at the UK's biggest airport. The activists included both climate campaigners and local people fearful of increased pollution, loss of homes and green space and entire villages destroyed.
Heathrow airport would be the biggest single source of carbon dioxide in the UK. The government's U-turn on the third runway shows democracy has failed us. But we won't give up, we'll keep fighting to protect our homes. There will be no third runway.
Three Rising Up! activists thius morning blockading the main access road into Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, chaining themselves to a vehicle in protest against the proposed third runway.
The protest comes during the four-month long public consultation on its decision to expand Britain's biggest airport.
In a statement the Metropolitan Police said officers attended the scene at 8.25am and arrested two people for obstructing a highway. Three protesters were locked to one of the vehicles and the drivers of two of the cars were apprehended.
Long tailbacks were caused to traffic trying to reach the airport on the M4 and other roads. Rising Up! Spokesperson Laura Bedford explained the motivations for the disruption:
"Rising Up! has taken this action today to show solidarity with those people worst affected by Heathrow expansion. Thousands of local residents are set to lose their homes and 300,000 people a year lose their lives due to effects of climate change, most of these being black, brown and indigenous peoples in the global south."
UK inflicting 'climate disaster' on world's poorest
She continued: "A third runway will be disastrous for the climate: the extra 250,000 flights a year will emit as much carbon dioxide as the entire country of Kenya at a time when we need to be reducing CO2 emissions in line with the 2008 climate change act. It is the responsibility of those people who have the privilege to take action to take a stand with those most affected and prevent climate chaos."
"The leader of the world's dirtiest economy may be a passionate climate change denier, but the decision to expand Heathrow shows that Theresa May is Trump's political ally in enacting this life-destroying extremism. The need to take action is immediate. We must fight this global rise in intolerance and stand up for social, economic and environmental justice."
Local resident Neil Keveren said: "Whilst an Austrian court has just blocked the construction of a new runway at Vienna's airport on climate grounds, the UK blindly continues to pursue this dangerous programme of expansion. The approval of a third runway would mean the absolute triumph of profit over people and reason.
"Heathrow airport would be the biggest single source of carbon dioxide in the UK, bigger than Drax power station. The government's U-turn on the third runway shows democracy has failed us. But it doesn't matter what Theresa May says, we won't give up, we'll keep fighting to protect our homes. There will be no third runway."
'Illegitimate and undemocratic'
Simon Bramwell, one of the activists involved today said: "Heathrow's consultation process is illegitimate and undemocratic, conducted around the assumption that airport expansion is an option. This blockade is our contribution to the consultation: a 3rd runway is a disastrous option that will lead to climate chaos.
"I look upon my niece and nephew, upon the children who will inherit the future we are creating right now and my conscience tells me to act.
"I am breaking conditions imposed on me by the courts, following road blockades in November but the government is not listening to the science or to our concerns. They have left us with no alternative but to keep taking action. We will not stop until plans to build another runway are fully and finally shut down."
Action: Rising Up!, are holding an open public meeting on March 2nd in Hammersmith to discuss ways to fight against Heathrow expansion.
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