Women climate activists blockade DfT

(7.12.2007     Plane Stupid press release)

Women  blockaded the Department for Transport preventing staff from getting to
work and carrying out their policies which are catapulting us towards dangerous
run-away climate change.   This action comes in response to the     Transport Secretary
Ruth Kelly confirming the government’s intentions to build a third runway and
a sixth terminal at Heathrow and co-incides with the opening of their first ‘consultation’


This protest is part of a growing direct action movement against climate change
inspired by the Camp for Climate Action (1). On Wednesday over 30 climate activists
including the columnist George Monbiot invaded and occupied Britain’s biggest
ever open-cast coal mine at Ffos-y-fran in South Wales. On 28th November, protesters
from climate action group Plane Stupid disrupted the proceedings of the Transport
Select Committee who were hearing evidence from BAA boss, Steven Nelson and Aviation
Minister, Jim Fitzpatrick in protest at the Heathrow expansion plans.     This weekend
thousands of people will march on the streets of London to protest about climate
change.   This protest is a call to all to stand up and take action against the
governments and corporations who are fueling climate chaos.


Why the DfT?

Transport is the fastest growing source of climate change gases in the UK, now
accounting for 26% of emissions (2). In a time when we desperately need to reduce
emissions, the DfT plans to build more roads and more airports encouraging us
to drive and fly more.     The DfT was targetted during the Camp for Climate Action
in August, and women have returned today to re-emphasise the role of our government
in dangerous transport expansion plans. Groups will continue to return to the
DfT until the government reviews its policies.


Why women?

Women have acted today in solidarity with the residents of Sipson, especially
the women who continue to campaign to protect their homes, despite bullying and
pressure from BAA, and the women all over the world who fight everyday to survive
in the face of increasing climate chaos.


NO 3rd runway at Heathrow

Aviation is already the fastest growing source of UK carbon dioxide emissions
(3), and these emissions are released high in the atmosphere meaning we feel their
effects immediately. Heathrow is already the busiest airport in the world. Building
a third runway will lead to even more flights and more pollution. Oxford University
recently concluded that it will be impossible to meet the government’s own target
for a 60 per cent carbon reduction by 2050 without curbing aviation growth (4)


NO M1 Widening

The DfT is building a £5 billion 115 mile long expansion of the M1 with an increase
of 186,092 tonnes of CO2 every year (5).     Is this taking climate change seriously?
We call for a scrapping of the current and proposed schemes up and down the length
of the M1.


NO green wash

We call for a reduction in transport, and reject dangerous green wash such as
‘biofuels’ and carbon offsetting.     We cannot continue with relentless growth
on a finite planet.     We all need to reduce consumption, and our carbon emissions.


Jane Wilson, on the protest says, “The government does not like to admit it ,
but we cannot sustain our current levels of consumption or the growth economy
and stop climate change.     Its time to stop tinkering at the edges and wake up
to the reality of the threat & take serious and drastic action.   We have to
create a society that is less dependent on energy, and that is more locally self-sufficient.”



Notes for Editors:

1. The Camp for Climate Action 2007 ( www.climatecamp.org.uk) was a large protest and educational event at Heathrow this year, highlighting
the link between the aviation industry and climate change.

2. The Campaign for Better Transport ( www.bettertransport.org.uk/)

3. Campaign for Better Transport       http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/campaigns/climate_change

4. Campaign for Better Transport       http://www.bettertransport.org.uk/aviation_blog/climate_change_bill_ignores_aviation

5.   Biofuelwatch (www.biofuelwatch.org.uk )