Climate campaigners chain themselves to jet at London City airport

10.6.2009   (Telegraph)

Source: Flickr

Climate change campaigners dressed in pin-stripe suits and bowler hats attempted
to disrupt private jet flights at London City airport by locking themselves to
an aircraft.

Plane Stupid said the five activists chained themselves to the wheel of the business
jet at the airport on Wednesday morning.

The group said they broke through the site’s perimeter fence at around 2.30am
to protest at the “selfishness of private jet use”.

Police officers were called, as well as staff with cutting equipment.

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said officers were at the scene and nobody
had yet been arrested.

He added that London City Airport remained open.

In December more than 50 climate change activists from Plane Stupid broke in
to a secure area of Stansted Airport and forced the closure of the runway, resulting
in four people being arrested.

The group were protesting over the Government’s decision to allow the expansion
of Stansted Airport with a second runway.

In March environmental protester Leila Deen, of Plane Stupid, attacked Peter
Mandelson, the Business Secretary, throwing green custard in his face.

After the incident, Lord Mandelson said: “She was so busy throwing what seemed
like green soup or something in my face that she failed to tell me what the protest
was about but, as you can see, thankfully is wasn’t paint and I’ve come through
it intact”.

Describing her motivations, Miss Deen said:     “It is a lighthearted way of making
a very serious point. All of our MPs have let us down.”


see also



Plane Stupid website

10.6.2009        10am.

Plane Stupid stage corporate takeover of London City Airport 

June 10th: 5 eco activists have shut down operations at London City Airport.
The group, who are wearing pinstriped suits and bowler hats entered at 2.30 am
today. They cut through the perimeter fence and formed a human wheel clamp around
one of the airport’s business jet fleet at the west end of the runway. The need
to avoid sparks around highly flamable aviation fuel could meen that the normal
process of cutting them out of their armtubes could be severely hampered.

Check out the photos on our Flickr photostream.

The ‘eco-takeover’ puts the spotlight on the selfishness of private jet use:

"Because of their low passenger capacity, small jets emit between five and 10
times more carbon per passenger than commercial flights,
" said spokeswoman Nancy Birch. "In an age where we face potentially catastrophic climate change, this is no longer
an acceptable form of transport. It’s time that private jets were grounded for

Until the downturn, the private jet business was the fastest growing segment
of the aviation sector. Over the last ten years it has expanded by almost 50%.

"This is yet another example of the insane rush towards massive airport and flight
expansion," Birch concludes. "The aviation industry seems to think it can pollute its way out of climate change.
But anyone with half a brain will know that this is just plane stupid.

London City airport blights the lives of some of the poorest people in London.
Newham has been known to experience air pollution levels which regularly exceed
EU safety limits for hightly toxic chemicals such as Nitrus Oxide and has the
highest levels of mortality in under 30s in the UK from asthma, a matter that
AsthmaUK are currently investigating.

While it seems the group have successfully shut down the private Jet centre part
of the airport, locals are reporting that public flights started running from
City from 7am. No one is claiming that the protesters have yet been arrested or
removed, which suggests that the Airport are breaching health and safety by continuing
operations in this restricted area. If the five are still in position then they
will have been locked on for 7 hours and a half hours now…

Notes to the editor

A total of 27 local and regional airports around the UK are currently seeking
to expand their activities.

London City Airport recently received local authority permission to expand its
commercial flights from 80,000 to 120,000.   The airport aims to increase this
total to 170,000 by 2030.

Activists targeted London City Airport because it is one of the key drivers of
the private jet business.   The airport currently sees an average of 170 movements
(take-offs and landings) per week.   The airport’s Jet Centre predicts this figure
will increase to more than 530 a week by 2030.

London City Airport was closed at the time of the eco-takeover.   Security was
given two hours’ warning before the first flights of the day.

The airport’s Jet Centre comprises a mixture of privately-owned jets and a for-hire
business jet operation run by PrivateJet.


see also BBC


Climate protest over private jets

Handout photo issued by Plane Stupid of climate change campaigners attempting to disrupt private jet flights by breaking into London City Airport   Plane Stupid photo

Climate change campaigners have attempted to disrupt private jet flights at an
airport by locking themselves to an aircraft.

Plane Stupid said five activists donned pinstripe suits and bowler hats before
attaching themselves to the wheel of the jet at London City Airport.

The group said the protest in the early hours of Wednesday morning was against
the “selfishness of private jet use”.

Police said five people have been arrested and the airport remained open.

The four men and one woman have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass
and criminal damage.

see also
Comment from the local community group, “Fight the Flights”
Fight the Flights comment.

10.6.2009     (“Fight the Flights” press release)


Fight the Flights is not a direct action group, but we fully appreciate the frustration
that the climate change activists feel in getting their voices, and concerns heard
on aviation expansion, and how aviation is one of the fastest growing sources
of CO2 emissions.

It is no wonder that some campaigners feel they are being pushed into taking
non violent direct action because the system is failing people of their democratic
rights to protect their communities, futures and their environment from harmful
‘runaway’ airport and flight expansion.

Just under a 100,000 residents in east and south east London will be affected
by the increasing excessive noise levels from London City Airport upon expansion,
and yet less than 10,000 were claimed to have been consulted by the London Borough
of Newham.     Most will not be entitled to any noise insulation.     They will have
to live with the consequences every day of their lives, each time a flight takes
off and lands.     The majority do not have the option to move, and many lived in
the area long before the airport’s creation.


In just over 20 years, the airport has only managed to directly employ 120 Newham
residents out of the 406 directly employed staff the airport claim to employ.

London taxpayers have also paid £24million for the airport’s security provided
by the Metropolitan Police over the past 5 years, which the airport refuse to

In addition the air quality above London City Airport exceeds EU directive levels
by 50% and was termed as ‘toxic’ but this was not acknowledged by the London Borough
of Newham.    In a borough which has the highest level of mortality in under 30s
with asthma in the whole country, Newham should be focussing on improving air
quality, not adding to the pollution by approving further expansion at this residentially
situated airport in the most densely populated area of England.

Eroded Democracy

Residents have been constantly thwarted and ignored by this government and the
London Borough of Newham when providing evidence against the expansion.   Requests
for a public inquiry into the planned 50% expansion of flights at London City
Airport was refused by Hazel Blears, Secretary of State in 2008, whilst the London
Borough of Newham showed no concern that 100s of homes in Greenwich will now be
in the crash zone and failed to address the risk to residents and communities
who live, work or travel through the crash zone in both Newham and Greenwich.    

However in contrast the government and council appear to consistently listen
to the aviation industry at the expense of the communities:   this is expansion
at any cost.

With a government that does not listen to local concerns on the effects of expansion
on third party safety, increasing pollution levels, the effect on residents’ health
and children’s development, and the contribution to climate change, it is no wonder
that we are seeing actions such as this more frequently.



Fight the Flights website and Fight the flights  blogspot