Activists who blocked Heathrow tunnel plead not guilty – further hearing some time in 2016
On 23rd December, there was a brief court hearing for the 3 activists who blocked a main Heathrow entrance tunnel on 26th November. The hearing was at Uxbridge Magistrates Court, and they pleaded not guilty. Another hearing will therefore be arranged in 2016. Many supporters of the activists attended the hearing and gathered outside the court beforehand. After the court hearing, a large group Heathrow-3rd-Runway-opponents including many local residents who face destruction of their homes and communities if a runway is built, met outside the Magistrates court. Wearing Santa hats, they sang a few Christmas carols and jingles (with two or three accompanying policemen) before dispersing. The next court date for Plane Stupid airport activists will be Monday 18 January 2016 at 9am at Willesden Magistrates’ Court, when the 13 activists who occupied Heathrow Airport in July 2015 have their trial -due to last 6 days. All 13 activists are asserting their right to defend the climate and the communities negatively impacted by Heathrow, and are pleading not guilty. Plane Stupid invites people who sympathise with the actions taken by the activists, and want to support them in court, to come along. They say: “Bring cake and banners, or just yourselves!”
Some of the supporters outside the Uxbridge Magistrates court before going in for the hearing
The 3 defendants, who blocked the main entrance tunnel to Heathrow terminals on 26th November, attended a Hearing at Uxbridge Magistrates Court on the afternoon of Wed 23rd December.
They pleaded not guilty, and so the Magistrates postponed the hearing. The magistrates will meet on January the 6th (without the defendants being present) for a meeting amongst themselves to arrange a date for the next hearing.
After court a very large group of anti-3rd-Runway-supporters met outside the Magistrates court again and as it was a clear but chilly afternoon, we put on Santa hats and sung a few Christmas carols and jingles with the support of two or three policemen before dispersing.
The next court date for Plane Stupid airport activists will be Monday 18 January 2016 9am Willesden Magistrates’ Court. The 13 activists who occupied Heathrow Airport in July 2015 have their trial. The trial will last 6 days. All 13 activists are asserting their right to defend the climate and the communities negatively impacted by Heathrow, and are pleading not guilty.
Plane Stupid invites people who sympathise with the actions taken by the activists, and want to support them in court, to come along. They say: “Bring cake and banners, or just yourselves!”
See: http://www.planestupid.com/blogs/2015/07/13/plane-stupid-activists-heathrow-runway-climate-protest for details of their action
The Airports Commission failed to address climate change adequately in its report. Use of fossil fuels is destablising the climate and the life support systems upon which life depends, so we need to rapidly transition to a fossil free future. This means that we cannot have more carbon-intense mega-infrastructure projects like a new runway, in fact we need to reduce fossil fuel use dramatically from where we are now. It’s up to people acting collectively to bring about a sustainable, just and fossil free world, since the government is taking us in the opposite direction.
The “Heathrow 13” activists also have strong support amongst the long suffering community around Heathrow.
5 arrests after Plane Stupid block Heathrow tunnel for 3 hours using a van + activists locked onto it
The main road entrance tunnel to Heathrow’s Terminals 1 and 2 was blocked by climate change activists from Plane Stupid, for about 3 hours, from 7.40 this morning. Three activists parked a vehicle across both lanes of the entrance tunnel and locked themselves to it, unfurling a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise in 2010: “No Ifs, No Buts: No Third Runway”. Five people were arrested, and the tunnel was finally cleared and the road re-opened by 1.30pm Some travellers may have been delayed or could have missed flights. Local resident Neil Keveren, a builder from Harmondsworth, whose house would be bulldozed for the 3rd runway, was fined after blocking the same tunnel with his van for half an hour on 2nd July, the day after the Airports Commission announcement. Neil said: “No one wants to do this. They feel they have to. People feel they have no choice. After we campaigned for years, David Cameron was elected promising ‘no ifs, no buts: no third runway’. …. We have tried every other option. We have been forced to be disobedient just to be heard. To save our homes and our planet.” There is already airport capacity for families taking a couple of trips per year, or wealthy foreign visitors to the UK, but a new runway would be for the most wealthy to take multiple leisure trips each year. Plane Stupid apologised for causing inconvenience, but believe the strong arguments against a Heathrow runway must be heard.
The last time the tunnel was blocked:
Protester whose Harmondsworth home would be destroyed by 3rd runway, blocks Heathrow tunnel for half an hour
A blockade of Heathrow’s road access tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3 brought traffic to a halt for more than half an hour at 12.45pm today. The protest follows yesterday’s announcement that the Airports Commission report recommends the building of 3rd runway at Heathrow. This would require the destruction of over 1,000 homes in Harmondsworth, Longford and Sipson with a further 3,000 homes made uninhabitable due to excessive noise and pollution. Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, used a large white van to block both lanes to incoming traffic. He then unfurled a banner that covered the side of his vehicle to face the stationary traffic saying, “Residents Against Expansion – No ifs, no buts, no third runway”. The banner refers to David Cameron’s pledge prior to the 2010 election. His entirely peaceful protest was only ever intended to last 20 minutes, to avoid disruption to the airport. His co-operation enabled the police to avoid an evacuation procedure that would have caused further disruption to traffic. Neil Keveren made it clear his action was a personal protest, and was not part of his role as Chair of the Stop Heathrow Expansion (SHE) campaign group. However, his action were supported by many local residents and the local MP, John McDonnell.
Full story at https://www.airportwatch.org.uk/2015/07/26823/
13 Plane Stupid activists who invaded Heathrow plead not guilty – trial in January
Thirteen members of Plane Stupid, who invaded part of Heathrow on 13th July as a protest about a possible 3rd runway, were charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security restricted area of an aerodrome. At Uxbridge magistrates’ court on 19th August, they all pleaded not guilty to both charges. Dressed in polar bear costumes or wearing David Cameron masks, and carrying placards – they were surrounded by supporters and arrived to chants of “no ifs, no buts, no third runway!” Many of the 40 or so supporters could not get into the public gallery. One of the accused, Sheila Menon, said people are already negatively impacted by Heathrow, and the UK already has enough runway capacity. An extra runway would largely cater for leisure travel by a minority. She believed the government was failing to act responsibly, and: “It is against this background and the failure of democratic processes, we believe our actions were reasonable, justifiable and necessary.” The 13 were released on bail on the condition not to enter Heathrow or the area considered to be its perimeter. A trial date was set for 18th January. It is thought the case will last two weeks, with each defendant expecting to give evidence.