Naked trio fined for Birmingham Airport protest against biofuel
Back in October 2011, three protesters stripped off at Birmingham Airport, to draw attention to the “bare faced” publicity stunt by Thomson Airways, in putting on a few flights with one engine using 50% biofuel from used cooking oil, brought 5,000 miles from a refinery in Louisiana. They have now been fined £150 each, and ordered to pay costs of £80 and a victim surcharge of £15. Thompson said they know the available volumes of used cooking oil are limited and that it can never replace total fossil kerosene consumption, and neither can vegetable oils.
14.3.2012 (Birmingham Post)
THREE environmental campaigners have been fined for stripping off at Birmingham Airport.
The protesters wore nothing but red body paint when Thomson Airways promoted the UK’s first commercial flight fuelled by recycled vegetable oil last October.
Appearing at Solihull Magistrates Court this week, the members of anti-aviation group Plane Stupid pleaded guilty to contravening an airport bylaw.
Rosa Van Kesteren, 25, Paul Wilkinson, 28, and Liz Snook, 34, all of Chelsea Road, Bristol, were each fined £150 and ordered to pay costs of £80 and a victim surcharge of £15.
After the case they labelled Thomson’s claim that biofuels were green as “bare faced cheek”.
Liz Snook said: “Recycling veg oil is a great thing to do, but we don’t eat enough chips to cover even one per cent of land based vehicle needs, let alone flying.
“Biofuels in aviation are often grown on land stolen from some of the world’s poorest people.”
Thomson is among a growing number of airlines to trial biofuels, made from living things such as plants and their by-products.
Most come from agricultural crops, leading to criticism that growing and transporting them can create a bigger environmental footprint than using fossil fuels.
But scientists are now working on “second generation” biofuels, using food waste, sewage and algae.
One of the two engines on the October Thomson flight was powered with a 50/50 mix of conventional jet fuel and recycled vegetable oil, brought 5,000 miles from a refinery in Louisiana.
Thomson later ditched plans for a six-week trial of daily biofuel flights, saying one of their project partners was unable to continue, but it hopes to revisit the idea in the future.
Deirdre Kotze, Thomson Airways airline environmental manager, said: “We know the available volumes are limited and that it can never replace total fossil kerosene consumption, and neither can vegetable oils.
“We see current options as a first step in the right direction and we are exploring and supporting future alternatives.”
The only way to fry? First commercial British flight fuelled by used chip fat is met by naked protesters
7.10.2011 In response to the Thomson biofuel flight, using 50% used cooking oil in one engine, three Plane Stupid activists staged a naked protest – showing that biofuels are not green, and the Thomson PR exercise is bare faced cheek. Thomson intends, after a 6 week gap, to have many more biofuel flights in 2012. They hope to use used cooking oil, but the airline may have to use other fuels, as it is not likely to get enough of the oil – which is already much in demand. http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=4613
Out of the Deep Fat Fryer … Thomson Airways and its first biofuel flight
Date added: September 30, 2011
With Thomson Airways re-launching their attempts to get regular biofuels flights from Birmingham Airport, green campaigners are raising concerns that new “Sustainable Aviation Biofuels” are actually likely to be more damaging for the environment. After dropping plans to fuel flights with used cooking oil due to insufficient supply, Thomson are now going to be using virgin plant oil from a number of sources, none of which should properly be classified as sustainable. Click here to view full story…
Thomson Airways’ test biofuels flight from Birmingham to Lanzarote is a hollow PR stunt
Date added: October 6, 2011
Thomson Airways’ test biofuels flight from Birmingham to Lanzarote is a hollow PR stunt that paves the way for rainforest destruction. Thomson today launches the 1st UK commercial flight run on biofuels. The biofuels Thomson will now use include virgin plant oil from the US and babassu nuts from Brazil. Both are in short supply so Thomson is likely to use unsustainable alternatives. Their publicity aims to persuade the travelling public and government, erroneously, that these biofuel flights produce less CO2 and are “greener” than usual. Click here to view full story…