Eco-protest by Plane Stupid hits Gatwick

7.8.2008     (Evening Standard, and Plane   Stupid)

Robert Mendick, Chief Reporter


Eco-activists breached security at Gatwick airport today in a protest against
short-haul flights.

In a separate action, another group blocked deliveries from a biofuel depot.

The campaign of disruption coincides with a protest camp near Kingsnorth power
station in Kent, which will culminate in a day of action on Saturday.

At Gatwick, two campaigners clambered on to the roof rafters in the arrivals
lounge, unfurling a banner urging travellers to use trains rather than planes.
Two more activists handcuffed themselves to railings on a mezzanine floor.

Eco-protest at Gatwick

Security breach: the protesters unfurl banners in the arrivals hall at Gatwick
urging travellers to use trains rather than planes

Three more handed out leaflets attacking Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly.

The stunt was organised by Plane Stupid, the anti-aviation group which mounted
a rooftop protest on the Palace of Westminster in February.

One of the group’s leaders Tamsin Omond, on police bail for the Parliament protest,
said she and fellow activists infiltrated the airport at 7.50am.   She named the
activists in the roof as Elizabeth Baines, 23, a student at University College
London, and a 38-year-old man known only as Mike.

The two chained to the railings were identified as Lotti Rutter, 20, who works
for an environmental charity, and a man called Jake, 27. The group pointed to
the large number of daily flights from London to Edinburgh compared with just
22 trains on the same journey.

Ms Rutter said: “A lot of people will be going to the Edinburgh Festival and
we’re here to ask them to make the right decision – to take the train.”

At the Vopak depot in Thurrock, Essex, which supplies Tesco and Morrisons, three
men and a woman climbed onto a container and unfurled a banner protesting-against
the use of biofuels, which campaigners claim have caused rainforest destruction
and even starvation. Eight other protesters chained themselves together at the
depot’s entrance and staged a sit-down protest. Eight people are thought to have
been arrested.

link to story


see also Plane Stupid’s report:


Plane Stupid leaves Camp for Climate Action for protest at Gatwick

7th August 2008 – Nine protestors from the anti-aviation group ‘Plane Stupid’
have left the Kingsnorth Climate Camp to mount a protest against short-haul flights
from the nearby Gatwick Airport. The nine climate activists had been planning
to protest against the government’s plans to expand Kingsnorth coal fire power
station. However continual police intimidation and violence forced them to leave
the camp, choosing instead to protest against the popularity of short-haul flights,
especially during the Edinburgh Festival, from Gatwick airport.

The nine activists arrived at the airport at 7.50am. They then split into three
groups. The first group scaled the wall next to the escalator above the train
station, occupying the roof structure and dropping a banner: ‘Short-haul flight?
Let the train take the strain’. The second group mounted the mezzanine above the
arrivals lounge, handcuffed themselves to a railing and dropped a banner: ‘Stop
short-haul’. The third group, dressed as information points, with t-shirts asking,
Can I hinder?‘, leafleted the surprised crowd with information about the ecological cost of
aviation and the irresponsibility of those who fly short-haul.

Lotti Rutter, one of those handcuffed to the railing, said:

It’s terrifying – we’re approaching a climate catastrophe yet the Department
for Transport do absolutely nothing to provide us with a low carbon transport
policy – there are a total of 139 flights from London to Edinburgh as opposed
to just 22 trains. We’re here today to protest against short-haul flights. We’re
well aware that a lot of people will be choosing to go to the Edinburgh Festival
and we’re here to ask them to make the right decision – to take the train. In
a time of climate crisis anything else is more than irresponsible: it’s Plane

Gatwick flies 26 times daily to Edinburgh. The same route is covered by a four
hour train ride from London King’s Cross. However there are only 22 trains per
day. The route from London to Edinburgh (by air) is also covered by Heathrow (66
flights), Stansted (31 flights), Luton (12 flights) and London City Airport (4

The activists are presently at Gatwick continuing their protest, after which
those not arrested will return to the Climate Camp to continue their environmental

link to Plane Stupid