Green Party leader Natalie Bennett joined dozens of protesters with banners and signs outside court on Monday morning, the first day of the two-week trial.
There was applause from the public gallery, which was packed with supporters, as the defendants entered the dock at Willesden Magistrates’ Court.
District Judge Deborah Wright warned the public to “behave” or they would be thrown out. “If you start behaving like that I will exclude you. This is a court it isn’t a theatre,” she said.
Speaking outside court, Ms Bennett said: “Our party applauds the determination of the Heathrow 13. We stand up for the activists just as they are standing up for our planet.
“Bigger airports make no climate sense. The UK cannot make its contribution to cutting carbon emissions whilst expanding its airports and increasing emissions from aviation.
“If this Government is in any way serious about delivering climate-sensitive policies then airport expansion plans must be immediately shelved and other measures – including encouraging short-haul flight passengers on to existing rail services and introducing a frequent flyer tax – must be explored.”
The demonstration, at around 3.30am on July 13 2015, caused delays for passengers around the world and 22 flights out of the airport were cancelled.
It came after a long-awaited report recommended a new runway should be built at Heathrow, rather than Gatwick.
After three years of investigation, the Airports Commission said Heathrow was best placed to provide “urgently required” capacity.
But environmentalists warned that building a new runway there will make it harder to reduce air pollution and climate change emissions.
The seven men and six women took turns to stand and give their names and addresses.
They are charged with aggravated trespass and entering a security-restricted area of an aerodrome.
Photo: Jane Mingay/The Telegraph
It is alleged that they entered the northern runway at London Heathrow Airport, having trespassed on the land, and in relation to a lawful activity, namely the operations of landing and departing of aircraft which persons were engaged in on that land, did an act, namely erected a temporary structure and locked themselves to it, or within it, with the intent of disrupting that activity.
The second charge alleges that they entered a security-restricted area of an aerodrome without permission.
The defendants are:
Rebecca Sanderson, 28, of Machynlleth, Powys; Richard Hawkins, 32, and Kara Lauren Moses, 31, both of Machynlleth, Powys; Ella Gilbert, 23, of Norwich; Melanie Strickland, 32, of Waltham Forest, north-east London; Danielle Paffard, 28, of Peckham, south-east London; Graham Thompson, 42, of Hackney, east London; Sheila Menon, 43, of Hackney; Cameron Kaye, 23, Edward Thacker, 26, Alistair Tamlit, 27, and Sam Sender, 23, all of West Drayton, west London; Robert Basto, 67, of Reigate, Surrey.
Prosecutor Philip McGhee said: “It was in the early hours of July 13 last year that, apparently in protest at the prospect of a third runway being built at Heathrow Airport, these 13 defendants passed through part of a perimeter fence that had been cut near to the east end of the northern runway in the airport, breaching airport security.
“They got on to the northern runway and began the demonstration by way of erection of a large tripod of poles and fencing.
“They were either inside the fencing, locked to the outside of the fencing, in one case on top of the scaffolding tripod or in other cases were secured to each other.”
Photo: Jane Mingay/The Telegraph
Some of the defendants laughed or smiled as Mr McGhee described how Kaye was wearing a white polar bear suit and attached himself to the top of the scaffolding.
Police were forced to use “specialist cutting equipment” to free several of the defendants who had connected themselves to each other by their arms using tubes, glue and expanding foam, the court was told.
The trial continues.