Greenpeace France “greenwash” an AirFrance plane at Charles de Gaulle airport

Greenpeace France activists got onto the tarmac at Paris Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport to denounce the government’s greenwashing of aviation. They painted the side of an AirFrance plane green – greenwashing it. They say we need to reduce air travel, in order to be compatible the Paris Agreement targets.  This comes a few days before the start of parliamentary debates on the “Climate and Resilience” bill. Greenpeace says airport expansion must be stopped – several French airports have such plans at present. They say now only should flights be replaced by rail journeys if the train time is under 2hours 30 minutes, but when the trip is under 6 hours.  Greenpeace is not against novel technologies, but they say these will not be enough to make a sufficient difference, in the necessary timescale. The proposed technical solutions are a risk, as they delay real action. They explain why biofuels, hydrogen planes, or electric planes are not going to cut aviation emissions any time soon, if ever.  Synthetic fuels made from surplus renewably generated electricity offer a small potential, but they will be expensive and only produced in small amounts. So air travel needs to be regulated and reduced.



The green plane will not save the climate

Greenpeace France – Action
March 5, 2021

Translation into English. See the original French 

Greenpeace stunt as aircraft painted green in protest over France's climate crisis response

And see links to some videos of the activists painting the plane at

This morning, Greenpeace activists entered the tarmac at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport to denounce the government’s greenwashing on air transport. Faced with the climate crisis, it is necessary to regulate and reduce air traffic so that it is compatible with the Paris Agreement, while anticipating the reconversion of this sector and the social consequences that this would have for all workers. and affected workers.

A few days before the start of parliamentary debates on the “Climate and Resilience” bill, we would like to firmly remind you that the technological innovations so much praised by the Minister for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, will not be enough to stem the climate crisis. The regulation and reduction of air traffic are essential. At present, the measures proposed in the bill on this subject are far from up to the mark. Especially :

Airport extensions : they would still be possible, while these climatic aberrations must be abandoned. In France, more than ten such projects are already planned at the moment and would not be affected by the current bill!

Abolition of short flights : they would only take place when an alternative by train of 2h30 maximum exists. For a real benefit for the climate, flights for which an alternative train of 6 hours maximum exists must be canceled.

Development of rail alternatives : there is simply nothing new on this subject in the bill, while we need to speed up the relaunch of the rail offer, so that the train is a solid and accessible alternative everyone.

The bill is also very insufficient on the issues of taxation of the aviation sector and gives pride of place to the logic of carbon offsetting which provides a loophole for the aviation sector, while all sectors must in fact reduce their emissions in the air transport sector. absolute.

To find out more, read our note: Climate: greening planes will not be enough .

Why is the green plane not enough?

Let’s agree: we are not against technological innovations, contrary to what some people try to make believe. We are simply saying that they will not be enough to solve the climate crisis. Some false solutions even represent an additional risk for the climate. We tell you why.

There are different types of “green” planes. We have listed below the most frequently highlighted technological innovations as well as the main reasons why they cannot be presented as miracle solutions.

The plane that runs on agrofuels

First generation agrofuels, made from agricultural raw materials, are the only ones that can be produced today in sufficient quantities to meet the growing demand from different sectors. However, biodiesel, the most widely used biofuel in Europe, is produced with vegetable oils (palm, soybean, rapeseed, etc.), which exerts intolerable pressure on agricultural land and precious ecosystems . This demand is the main driver of deforestation in Southeast Asia and aggravates the climate crisis. Moreover, by grabbing agricultural land, the production of agrofuels comes into direct competition with that of food, which represents an aggravating factor for food insecurity and inequalities at the global level.

So-called “advanced” technologies (to produce agrofuels from organic or municipal waste, for example) are now a myth. They are not up to date and do not in any way make it possible to produce the volumes necessary to take over from conventional fuels and meet the demand of all the sectors concerned.

The hydrogen plane

This option, strongly put forward in the public debate by the government and part of the aeronautics industry, may raise questions: if in theory it can be produced from renewable electricity, hydrogen is today mainly manufactured at from fossil materials, and its production currently emits a lot of greenhouse gases.

This option also comes up against significant technical challenges such as the storage of hydrogen in airplanes and in airports, which would take up much more space than that of kerosene.

In addition, hydrogen would for the moment be studied only for the replacement of the A320 and for short / medium-haul flights and would not be considered at this stage for long-haul flights, which nevertheless represent the majority. greenhouse gas emissions …

The electric plane

According to the BL evolution report , the deployment of the electric aircraft is hampered in particular by the weight of the batteries “which greatly increase the weight of the aircraft and therefore reduce the distances that can be traveled with the same amount of energy.”

The plane that runs on synthetic fuels

Two points of vigilance are highlighted in particular in the BL evolution report : the low overall energy yield of the complex process for producing these synthetic fuels, and the still very limited manufacture of synthetic fuels from “green” hydrogen ( same problem as for the hydrogen airplane mentioned above).

The development and deployment of a “green” aircraft, in particular because of the uncertainties and technical difficulties mentioned above, cannot therefore be taken for granted and will, in all cases, take time. Regarding the hydrogen aircraft, the Airbus group has committed to marketing by 2035 (at best). However, the climate crisis is now playing out, and it is now that the various sectors must reduce their emissions to avoid a climatic runaway.

In addition, whatever “green” aircraft we are offered, it will not provide a miracle solution to absorb the volume and growth in air traffic that we experienced before the Covid crisis, due in particular to the issues of resource availability (land, biomass, renewable electricity, etc.) and competition with other uses and sectors.


See earlier:


Air France’s bailout ‘climate conditions’ and possible future aviation taxes

The state bail out of Air France by the French government earlier in the year got a lot of publicity. Some of the conditions looked as if they could be effective in cutting emissions. Now the restrictions on air travel look set to continue for many more months, airline finances and state help need to be reassessed. The pandemic has been a unique opportunity to shrink the sector, and insist that it takes effective action in future to significantly cut its carbon emissions. The NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) have assessed the potential effectiveness of the conditions, and are not impressed.  They say the Air France conditions included improving fuel efficiency (which it will do anyway, to save money); also removing the shortest flights (which will have minimal impact on the airline’s overall emissions). And use of low carbon novel fuels, but if first generation biofuels were used, this would increase – not cut – CO2 emissions. Last T&E says the climate conditions attached to the bailout are not legally binding, leaving it to the good will of Air France. Each condition should be made mandatory, with clear financial penalties for failure to comply. The French government has now proposed reasonably high taxes on flights, of €30 for economy short haul, and €60 economy long haul (>2,000km) but this has to be approved by the political process.

“The climate crisis can’t be solved by ‘net-zero’ carbon accounting tricks” like offsets

We are all being encouraged to put our faith in pledges to become “net zero” by 2050, or some other date. Or “carbon neutral.”  But that does not mean zero carbon. It just means every sector of every country in the world needs to be, on average, zero emissions. For some sectors, including air travel and some agricultural emissions, there is no prospect of getting to zero emissions in the near future.  Prof Simon Lewis explains why the current “net zero” claims often involve very dubious claims and practices: “the new politics swirling around net zero targets is rapidly becoming a confusing and dangerous mix of pragmatism, self-delusion and weapons-grade greenwash.” What is needed is actual removal of carbon from the air. Not just hoping to stop some future emission.  But there is far too little land to plant enough trees to counter today’s emissions, and large-scale hi-tech methods do not yet exist. He says: “Emitting carbon at the same time as building solar capability does not equal zero emissions overall. Offsetting needs to be used to remove CO2 from the atmosphere to counter difficult-to-remove emissions, and not just be an enabler of business-as-nearly-usual.” Read the full, very important, article.

Click here to view full story…


Fuels made from renewably sourced electricity the ONLY way to keep flying in future

Two experts from New Zealand have written about the future of low carbon air travel. Aviation is a problem for NZ due to its geographic position. But the experts say “the global 1.5C target allows no room for fossil fuelled commercial aviation by 2050. So the public, the aviation and tourism industries, and the government must turn their attention to first capping and then reducing emissions.” They consider the only viable option for air travel is fuels made from surplus electricity. NZ has plentiful wind and sun (most countries do not have as much) to make this potentially possible – though huge amounts of electricity would be needed, competing with other increasing uses. The other key tool is to greatly increase the cost of carbon.  This is currently around $ NZ 39 per tonne CO2, and the Air New Zealand offset price is just $23. The price needs to rise to at least $ NZ 140/tCO2 by 2030. Even that would have little impact on air travel demand. The NZ Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) recommends a distance-based departure charge like the UK’s APD. They say hopes of electric planes, or hydrogen, “will not arrive fast enough nor scale up quickly enough, and mainly serve to delay action now.”

Click here to view full story…

Airport expansion plans show that local planning decisions on airports must be aligned with national carbon targets

Aviation CO2 accounted for 7% of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, but this figure will inevitably grow if demand for air travel is allowed to increase. Allowing more demand means it would be even harder to meet UK carbon targets, as there are no realistic ways to reduce aviation emissions, other than by tiny amounts several decades ahead. Better infrastructure planning is needed in the UK, with local decisions aligned towards meeting national climate targets; currently they are not.  France has blocked the building of a 4th terminal at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, on grounds of carbon emissions. But UK airport expansion plans contradict its climate commitments, with expansion plans pushing ahead fast – while there is still no coherent UK policy on aviation carbon.  Plans for new building at Leeds Bradford, Southampton, Bristol, Luton, Stansted, Gatwick and Heathrow would mean far, far more carbon being emitted by the extra flights and passengers generated than the UK aviation passenger limit – advised by the Committee on Climate Change.  Demand needs to be reduced.  The government should align its national policy statements, used to guide planning, with its net zero target, to compel local authorities to factor climate change into their infrastructure decisions.

Click here to view full story…



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Greenpeace Netherlands is going to court to force the Dutch government to discontinue their bailout for KLM

Greenpeace Netherlands is going to court to force the Dutch government to discontinue their bailout for airline KLM, because climate conditions are lacking. As a first step, Greenpeace formally informed the government. This lawsuit could potentially have important consequences for other airline bailouts. Just in Europe alone, governments have supported the airlines with €32.5 billion so far.  A spokesperson said the Dutch bailout “fuels the climate crisis, breaking the duty of the Dutch government to protect its citizens.”  KLM does not have a solid climate action plan and the environmental policy for aviation from the Dutch government is inadequate. The bailout is not even definitely saving many jobs in the airline. Vague hopes that in future electrical planes or planes that fly with sustainably sourced fuel, will not be available before too long are unrealistic. Therefore the number of flights needs to reduce substantially, and Greenpeace says this should start with revoking short-distance flights under a thousand kilometres. KLM was responsible for 8.6 MtCO2 emissions in 2018.



By Greenpeace Nederlands

14th september, 2020

Greenpeace: ‘Bailout without climate conditions needs to be revoked’

Amsterdam, – Greenpeace Netherlands is going to court to force the Dutch government to discontinue their bailout for airline KLM, because climate conditions are lacking. As a first step, Greenpeace formally informed the government today. “The government neglects to make strict agreements for KLM to reduce pollution,” said Dewi Zloch, climate and energy expert at Greenpeace Netherlands.

This lawsuit could potentially have important consequences for other airline bailouts. Just in Europe alone, governments have supported the airlines with 32.5 billion euros so far. Zloch: “We want a green and just recovery from this crisis. The ongoing bailout for major polluter KLM is at odds with this. This is unacceptable for everyone who works hard towards the transition to a sustainable future. This bailout fuels the climate crisis, breaking the duty of the Dutch government to protect its citizens.”

KLM lacks a climate action plan

KLM operates without a solid climate action plan and the environmental policy for aviation from the Dutch government is inadequate. “Meanwhile we are flooded with flights, driving ticket prices to the rock-bottom.. This cannot be sustained. Though this bailout is supposed to ensure job security, that is exactly what our government does not achieve. Even though KLM is propped up for now, the major polluter is not made future-proof and thousands of jobs are lost. And that is not only bad news for the climate, the environment, and public health, but also for KLM’s employees who will not have job security in the long run”, said Zloch.

Greenpeace wants the government to implement a CO2 emissions cap for KLM. “This emission cap has to be reduced yearly, in order for the major polluter to emit less every year,” said Zloch: “More sustainable aviation will not be accomplished with the slow measures that are currently in place. Electrical planes or planes that fly with sustainably sourced fuel, for example, will not be available in time. So the number of flights needs to reduce substantially, starting with revoking short-distance flights under a thousand kilometers. It is unnecessary to fly multiple planes between Amsterdam and Brussels or Paris everyday.” The Dutch government has formally until 1 October to respond and enter into discussion with Greenpeace about whether they will meet these demands.

Protest on Schiphol Airport runway in May


Activists cycle on the runway of Schiphol Airport where KLM parked its fleet – FOTO MARTEN VAN DIJL / GREENPEACE

Greenpeace has already protested against the KLM billions. In May, protesters biked on a runway at Schiphol Airport between parked planes of KLM. They revealed a banner saying “Back to normal = back to climate crisis”.



For more information:

Bram Karst, Press Officer Greenpeace Netherlands,, +31 621 29 68 95

Images of the protest in May are published in the Greenpeace Media Library

Background information

The summons letter (in Dutch)

KLM was responsible for 8,6 megaton of CO2-emissions in 2018. Source: CE Delft





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Bristol protests against the airport appealing against North Somerset Council rejection of expansion plans

Extinction Rebellion and local groups held a number of protest on Saturday 29th August, at UK airports. A large event was held at Bristol Airport, in protest against the decision by the airport to appeal against the rejection of their expansion plans, by North Somerset Council. Extinction Rebellion held a “mourning procession” and hundreds of people marched to the airport, observing Covid social distancing, and in silence, to follow a death theme. One of the protest organisers commented: “When the refusal of Bristol International Airport (BIA) expansion plans became international news in February this year, everyone thought we’d seen the death of the terrifying fantasy of an expanded airport in this time of ecological and climate emergency. We were wrong.” Another said the “democratic process, underpinned by massive public objection, is being threatened, whilst lies about economic benefits and carbon-neutrality are spread with flagrant disregard to the truth.” And it is crazy that precious council funds have to be wasted on this unnecessary appeal, when the money is need to deal with Covid-related issues, among many others.


More photos at



Extinction Rebellion protesters at Bristol Airport


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Extinction Rebellion protestors say mass ‘lie-in’ at Heathrow is ‘warning shot’ and vow to get arrested at future protests if 3rd runway goes ahead

Extinction Rebellion have blocked a road outside Heathrow Airport by lying in front of a bulldozer.  Protesters descended on the airport en masse, cycling in convoy down the M4 from Hyde Park Corner, with cyclists joining along the route, halting several lanes of traffic. Dozens of environmental activists lay down on the tarmac outside the roundabout where the Emirates plane model is located.  Part of Bath Road, above Tunnel Road roundabout, was closed as the protesters got a full-size pink tractor with a “bulldozer” shovel at the front, adorned with newspaper headlines on air pollution. They lay in front of it, as a reminder to Boris Johnson, that he had said he “would lie down in front of the bulldozers” to block the building of a 3rd Heathrow runway (and has since gone very quiet on the matter…) The protest was part of Extinction Rebellion’s Christmas “12 Days of Crisis” campaign pressuring party leaders to take effective action on climate, in the run up to the election on 12th December. The Metropolitan Police said a Section 14 order was imposed allowing the protest until 3.30pm, after which time activists “run the risk of being arrested and prosecuted.” 

Extinction Rebellion Heathrow protest: Activists stage ‘lie in’ in front of pink ‘bulldozer’

By EWAN SOMERVILLE    (Evening Standard)

8th November 2019

Extinction Rebellion have blocked a road outside Heathrow Airport by lying in front of a bulldozer.

Dozens of environmental activists lay down on the tarmac outside the transport hub on Sunday afternoon amid high police presence, blocking two lanes.

Part of Bath Road, above Tunnel Road roundabout, was closed as they assembled a full-size pink tractor with a “bulldozer” shovel at the front, strewn with newspaper headlines on air pollution.

Protesters descended on the airport earlier en masse, cycling in convoy down the M4 with a makeshift “bulldozer” tricycle, halting several lanes of traffic.

The activists staged a ‘lie in’ on a busy dual carriageway next to Heathrow Airport (Extinction Rebellion London)

They are protesting plans to build a third runway at Heathrow next year, forming part of XR’s 12 Days of Crisis campaign pressuring party leaders before the country goes to the polls.

Posting a video of the activists cycling down the arterial road, Extinction Rebellion London tweeted: “We made an actual cycle superhighway on M4 to bring @BorisJohnson a message: Keep your word – scrap Heathrow expansion. For the people of Uxbridge, for life.”

Earlier they set off from Hyde Park corner at 10.30am, planning to block the Cromwell Road junction in Earls Court at 11am, Hammersmith at 11.30am, Gunnersbury roundabout under the M4 flyover at 12 noon.

A Section 14 order was imposed allowing the protest until 3.30pm on Sunday, after which time activists “run the risk of being arrested and prosecuted,” the Metropolitan Police said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and other politicians were invited to the “lie in”, which XR said was designed to “act out the future destruction” of a third Heathrow runway.

The controversial runway, given the green light last year, has faced repeated criticism by environmental campaigners and MPs, amid concern over financial and environmental issues.

The ‘bulldozer’ shovel was emblazoned with newspaper headlines on air pollution (Extinction Rebellion London)

The Extinction Rebellion “12 days of crisis” campaign is piling pressure on politicians of all parties to make “climate and ecological emergency the defining issue of this general election”.

Members have been instructed to launch an “election rebellion”, including staging “mock emergencies”. Earlier this week a demonstrator “glued” himself to the Lib Dems’ campaign battle bus.

They are urging politicians to sign a “Three Demands Bill”, demanding that those in power “tell the truth”, “act now” and take the fight “beyond politics”. Action will continue until the election eve.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest and agree with the need to act on climate change, but we do not agree with any activity which impacts the operation of the airport.

“We are working closely with the authorities to ensure no impact is experienced.”



A local resident, who faces the possible destruction of their village and compulsory purchase of their home, if the runway was built, was overjoyed to see the arrival of the protest:

“Hundreds turned up in our village today!  Wow!  It was an absolutely fantastic protest on the bridge at Heathrow! I can’t believe how many people cycled here from London! All law abiding, peaceful, good natured, fun – caterers fed everyone, there was music, press, banners, handouts, a Bulldozer was escorted there by the police, they had their lie-in photos, speeches, dancing … and then they left.  What a credit to Extinction Rebellion!”

Extinction Rebellion protestors say mass ‘lie-in’ at Heathrow is ‘warning shot’ and vow to get arrested at next protest if third runway goes ahead

  • Protestors descended on Heathrow today to protest controversial Third Runway
  • Boris Johnson pledged to lie in front of the bulldozers when elected MP in 2015
  • The climate activists asked him to join their protest but he did not take them up
  • Referencing his comments, the demonstrators lay down in front of a bulldozer

By JACK NEWMAN (Mail online)

8th December 2019


Extinction Rebellion protestors have performed a mass lie-in in front of a bulldozer at Heathrow after cycling there to protest the controversial Third Runway.

The climate activists are both demonstrating the future damage which will be caused by the project and making reference to Boris Johnson who said upon his election in 2015 that he would lie down in front of a bulldozer with John McDonnell to protest the expansion.

A spokesperson said it was a ‘gentle warning shot’ against the Third Runway, saying their actions will be more extreme if it goes ahead.

Earlier, footage taken by one of the participants of the demonstration of the cycle ride towards the airport showed the large group passing through red lights.

Police cyclists can be seen escorting the protestors and one warns the jogger to get off the road, saying: ‘You’re gonna have to be careful mate, you’re going to get hit.’

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion performed a 'Bulldozer lie-in' on Bath Road, above the Tunnel Road roundabout

Protestors from Extinction Rebellion performed a ‘Bulldozer lie-in’ on Bath Road, above the Tunnel Road roundabout

They acted out the 'future destruction' that bulldozers will cause

They are protesting the controversial Third Runway

They acted out the ‘future destruction’ that bulldozers will cause, when they begin building the controversial Third Runway

One of the bikes was even designed to look like a bulldozer for today’s protest.

When the cyclists arrived at the airport, they performed a ‘bulldozer lie-in’ and acted out the future destruction bulldozers will cause when they begin building the controversial Third Runway.

Johnson and McDonnell were invited to attend today’s protest by the eco activists.

Many of the protestors had the signature Extinction Rebellion symbols on flags and their clothing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited to today's protest after previously making a promise he would lie in front of a bulldozer to stop the Heathrow expansion

Prime Minister Boris Johnson was invited to today’s protest after previously making a promise he would lie in front of a bulldozer to stop the Heathrow expansion

An impromptu dance took place after the lie-in so the participants of the protest could warm up


An impromptu dance took place after the lie-in so the participants of the protest could warm up.






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300th Frankfurt Monday demo against aircraft noise – 1,000 people -.  “Only when no one comes, is it over!”

Back in October 2011 the Frankfurt airport 3rd runway opened. It was greeted with huge anger, because residents had not been informed how much new noise there would be, and that there would be noise where there previously was none. Huge protests started on Monday evenings (airports are public property in Germany, so protests can happen). These carried on with often as many as 1,000 people each week. People were devastated by the noise battering they were being subjected to. Now, 8 years later, the protesters have had their 300th protest, again with perhaps almost 1,000 people present. They say they will not give up, until there are no more protesters. “Only when no one comes, is it over.” Their complaints have not been addressed, about noise or particulate air pollution, or the health issues people are suffering – including depression. The airport is continuing to expand, with a new terminal. Its opponents now hope the increasing awareness of carbon emissions from aviation, with campaigns like Fridays for Future, will help put pressure on Frankfurt airport. There is a new campaign against domestic flights. 



Slightly odd Google Translate version of this German story:

300th Frankfurt Monday demonstration against aircraft noise.  “Only when no one comes, it is over!”


“Deutschland fliegt nicht” means  “Germany does not fly”

Giving up is out of the question for the aircraft noise opponents: About eight years after the first protest, their 300th Monday demonstration took place at Frankfurt Airport. There are plenty of unfulfilled demands.

The participants would like to have spared the anniversary: Monday, people are coming to the Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport with posters for about eight years. They protest against the aircraft noise, ultrafine dust and the further expansion of the airport. Now the aircraft noise opponents demonstrated for the 300th time. Around 550 people counted the police. Thomas Scheffler, spokesman for the Alliance of Citizens’ Initiatives (BBI), spoke of more than 1,000 participants.

Frankfurt Airport is located in the center of the Rhine-Main conurbation, with hundreds of aircraft taking off and landing daily. This is felt by many people in the surrounding area whose houses are located in particular in the entry lanes. The circle of those concerned extends far beyond Frankfurt and Offenbach out to the neighboring Rhineland-Palatinate around Mainz. From there, cabaret artist Lars Reichow traveled to the demo on Monday evening and addressed the participants.

Demo was already bigger

At the end of 2011, when the new northwest runway went into operation, resistance had “increased explosively,” says Scheffler. At times even several thousand people came to the demos. Then it was a little quieter. The recently started construction of Terminal 3 caused new displeasure , the opponents fear thereby a further increase of the aircraft noise.

Lately, according to Scheffler, around 250 people have regularly come to the airport for the Monday demonstration. The demonstrators outraged because the new runway had led to an even greater aircraft noise. Not only the ultrafine dust endangers the health , but also the noise. He could cause cardiovascular problems and even depression.

More than a demand

For years, the BBI has called for a stop to the expansion of the airport and an extension of the no-fly ban. Currently, this is between 23.00 and 5.00 clock, which was then set in the construction of the Northwest runway. In addition, the Alliance wants the flight movements to be reduced every year and the Northwest runway to be shut down. The aircraft noise opponents are now hoping for an upswing through the climate debate. A new action, which was presented in the evening, is aimed at short-haul flights.

The initiators of the “Germany-flies-not” campaign are calling on people to refrain from private and professional domestic flights during the week from 10 to 16 February 2020. A photo campaign in Terminal 1 is planned – on a “do-nothing-do” sofa. A photo will be displayed on one of the world’s largest screens in Times Square, New York. Afterwards, the sofa, which is over two meters wide, travels through Germany. At the beginning of December there will be a sofa concert at Frankfurt Airport.

Minister is impressed

The operator of the Frankfurt airport does not disturb actions like these. “We take our responsibility for passive and active noise control in the vicinity of the airport very seriously,” said a Fraport spokesman. Hesse Transport Minister Tarek Al-Wazir (Greens) is impressed by the persistent commitment of the activists. “We’re ultimately pursuing the same goal,” he said. Hesse was able to do a lot within its capabilities – for example, with the seven-hour noise break, during which individual railways are temporarily not used, thus temporarily relieving neighboring municipalities of noise or the upper limit of noise.

For critics like Scheffler that’s not enough. The years of resistance had not been in vain, even if the construction of the new terminal, for instance, was a shadow over Monday’s demos. The most important success was that the subject of aircraft noise and particulate matter pollution is firmly anchored in public discourse today. And climate change movements such as “Fridays for Future” rekindled the debate surrounding the effects of air traffic. And the Monday demos? “Only when no one comes, it’s over.”,fluglaerm-demo-frankfurt-100.html


Video:  video of part of the protest.



There was also the launch of the “Germany does not fly” …”Deutschland fliegt nicht” campaign



Germany does not fly?

Photo: © Gegenwind 2011 Rhein-Main eV / PR Newswire New York

Photo: © Gegenwind 2011 Rhein-Main eV / PR Newswire New York
With the new campaign “Germany does not fly”, a nationwide campaign to waive domestic flights will be launched in February 2020. Campaign start is already next Monday at the Frankfurt airport.

“Germany Grounded”, freely translated “Germany does not fly”, “Deutschland fliegt nicht” was the message that flickered in New York’s Times Square on October 31 in big letters on the Reuters scoreboard and was seen by thousands of people in the world metropolis. This was the highly ambitious starting signal for the initiative launched by aviation noise opponents from the Rhine-Main area “Germany is not flying”, which will cause a sensation nationwide from February 2020. The aim of the campaign is to get as many people as possible to refrain from flying.

At least since the world-wide Fridays for Future protests, a debate about travel behaviour in Germany has flared up. Frequent flying is becoming more and more in the focus, because air travel damages the climate much more than bus or train travel. Although only about ten percent of the earth’s population has access to the luxury of flying, it accounts for five percent of global CO2 emissions. At nitrogen and water vapour emissions, the proportion is even higher. Germany’s largest airport also plays an important role: it handles 35 percent of domestic flights. Overall, Frankfurt Airport is one of the 15 largest airports in the world, transporting around 70 million passengers a year. Before the construction of Terminal 3 began, the last big step towards the airport extension was the opening of the Northwest Runway in 2011.

He also called the initiators of the campaign “Germany does not fly” on the plan, eight years ago the non-profit associations Stop-Fluglä, headwind 2011 Rhein-Main and the initiative climate, environmental and noise protection in aviation founded and since then demonstrating with great perseverance on Monday evenings at Frankfurt Airport. After demonstrating 6,000 participants on 4 February 2012, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) tested to what extent higher departure angles for noise avoidance are possible and made an adjustment from 3 to 3.2 degrees.

Next Monday the 11.11. the aviation noise opponents propose a new chapter. During the 300th Monday demonstration in Terminal 1 of Frankfurt Airport, as part of the “Germany does not fly” “Deutschland fliegt nicht”  campaign, flying people are to be convinced that they will be able to forego their private and business domestic flights at the latest in the action week in February.

Furthermore, it will be presented on Monday evening “when, where and how the action will reach Germany’s airports and cities by February 2020,” said Rolf Fritsch von Gegenwind 2011. In order to generate as much attention as possible, not only companies, associations, institutions and politics but also prominent “opinion leaders” should be convinced.

Thus television presenter Joko Winterscheidt and former Olympic champion Britta Steffen have publicly commented on their flight renouncement. On 11.11. The Monday demo also receives support from cabaret artist Lars Reichow, whose performance rounds off the program.

Unlike, for example, Extinction Rebellion, which was planning to block the airspace at Heathrow Airport in London with a drone blockade, [it never happened] the aviation noise activists resort to more lenient persuasive methods: “Our appeal is directed to human reason, it should encourage thought and help “Habits change,” it says in the call.

“Flying sustainably does not mean flying,” says Hans-Peter Huppert von Gegenwind in 2011, and sees himself strengthened in Chinese philosophy: “Since Confucius, “do-nothing-together “has been a strong, non-partisan and well-tested instrument.” the “Do-Nothing-together” sofa will be revealed on which the first non-fliers will be presented. This will be photographed in January 2020, among others, before the Chancellery. The initiators are expressing their disappointment at the (not yet) made changes by the politicians. Their concept: putting responsibility in the hands of individuals rather than waiting for prohibitions, ordinances and laws.

>> Official campaign start, 11.11., Frankfurt Airport, Terminal 1, from 18 o’clock Demonstration, from 18.15 Performance cabaret artist Lars Reichow, 18.40 Presentation of the campaign and online-circuit of

See earlier:

The 200th Frankfurt airport Monday Demo (Montagsdemo) against the noise will be on 30th January

The 4th runway at Frankfurt was opened in October 2011. Due to re-alignment of flight paths, with thousands of people either newly overflown, or with more flights than before, there was uproar. The airport had not felt it necessary to warn people, or consult about the noise. Several thousand people started to congregate in the airport terminal every Monday evening, for a protest demo. (The airport buildings are public property, so the airport cannot prevent people gathering.). The 100th Monday demo was on 20th May 2014, when a group from the UK attended. Now the 200th Monday demo will take place on Monday 30th January, and a large crowd is expected. Politicians from the local area and from the region, as well as for Berlin, will be attending. The demands of the protesters are ultimately that the runway is closed down (though that is an ambitious, or unrealistic hope….) but they want no night flights from 10pm to 6am, no further airport expansion, and no 3rd terminal. Work to build the 3rd terminal started in October 2015, and the airport hopes it will open (first phase) in 2022. It is an astonishing achievement that Frankfurt residents have organised 200 Monday protests, all attended by many hundreds of people – sometimes several thousand. The demos are possible because people are so upset and angry about the noise burden that has been inflicted on them, reducing their quality of life.

Click here to view full story…

The 3rd terminal

In 2009, the German government decided to create third terminals for both Frankfurt Airport and Munich Airport, in order to handle expected passenger flows of 90 million in Frankfurt by 2020 and 50 million in Munich by 2017.

The new terminal is scheduled to be built by Fraport, south of the existing terminals on the grounds of the former Rhein-Main Air Base. The new Terminal 3 is to accommodate up to 25 million passengers and will feature 75 new aircraft positions when completely constructed. An extension of the SkyLine people mover system is planned to connect the new terminal to Terminals 1 and 2 and the airport train stations.

In August 2014, the city of Frankfurt granted building permission for the first phase of Terminal 3. The groundbreaking for the new Terminal took place on 5 October 2015. Its first phase, consisting of the main building and two of the planned four piers, is planned to open by 2022 and will be able to handle 15 million additional passengers per year. Total costs are estimated at €3 billion.

Residents around Frankfurt hold their 150th huge Monday evening protest against aircraft noise

On Monday 28th September, the 150th Monday evening protest against aircraft noise, due to the new runway, took place at Frankfurt airport. The new 4th runway was opened in October 2011, to the north west of the airport, and caused not only new flight paths but changes to existing flight paths. People had not been expecting the noise problem to be so bad. As soon as the runway opened, residents starting protesting against the noise – that was stopping them sleeping, reducing their quality of life, preventing them enjoying relaxing outside under flight paths, and reducing the prices of their homes. They started protests in the airport Terminal 1 (almost) every Monday evening. These are attended by between about 600 and 3,000 people. That is an astonishing achievement, and manifestation of real anger and determination by the thousands affected by plane noise. They are concerned now that the protests are seen to be becoming routine, and there is some appetite for more radical action, especially now that work is due to start very soon on a deeply opposed 3rd airport terminal. The style of protesting may perhaps now change. In German airport buildings are public property, so protesters are entitled to congregate in the terminal.

Click here to view full story…





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Greenpeace bring bulldozer to Uxbridge – reminding Boris of his 2015 “lying in front of a bulldozer” comment

On 26th November, Greenpeace brought a big yellow bulldozer to Uxbridge tube station, on the High Street, together with a very comfortable chaise longue, to give the Prime Minister the opportunity to make good on his 2015 promise to ‘lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that 3rd runway’. Rival local candidates were invited to do likewise; the LibDem and Labour candidates came to show their opposition to Heathrow’s plans. Boris, of course, did not.  Greenpeace activists delivered leaflets around the constituency, suggesting that they ask all election candidates what they would do about the runway, and vote accordingly.  Boris is thought to be be generally against the runway, but has been notable by his absence of comment on the issue lately.  Greenpeace said: “Since Boris Johnson pledged to lie in front of bulldozers to stop Heathrow’s third runway, a lot has changed. The Amazon is burning, Greenland is melting, Yorkshire has flooded and people have been spotted sunbathing in the UK in February…. we are in a climate emergency”. The 3rd runway is so obviously the sort of development the UK should NOT be building now.

Greenpeace bring bulldozer to Boris in Uxbridge

Tuesday 26th November, 2019, London.

26.11.2019  (Greenpeace UK)

This morning Greenpeace have brought a bulldozer to Uxbridge tube station, on the High Street, together with a very comfortable chaise longue, to give the Prime Minister the opportunity to make good on his 2015 promise to ‘lie down in front of those bulldozers and stop the construction of that third runway’. Rival local candidates have been invited, and the LibDem and Labour candidates have agreed to come and show their opposition to Heathrow’s plans.

The Lib Dem candidate, lying in front of the bulldozer

Greenpeace activists delivered leaflets around the constituency, and will be helping Uxbridge locals to register to vote, and letting them have their own pictures taken lying in front of the bulldozer.

Paul Morozzo, a climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said –

“We’re here to help people in Uxbridge, and across the UK, to get some clarity on an issue which affects all of us. When Heathrow starts to build a new runway, bulldozing through people’s homes and our climate targets, will the Prime Minister be lying in front of the bulldozer, or driving it?

“Since Boris Johnson pledged to lie in front of bulldozers to stop Heathrow’s third runway, a lot has changed. The Amazon is burning, Greenland is melting, Yorkshire has flooded and people have been spotted sunbathing in the UK in February.

“It’s becoming more and more obvious that we are in a climate emergency and the government must cancel Heathrow’s carbon bomb. If the PM doesn’t want to explain his position here, perhaps he can explain on the party leaders’ climate debate?”

Greenpeace hope to leaflet every household in the constituency with advice to register to vote, check candidates’ position on the proposed third runway, and only vote for candidates who are clearly opposed.



Greenpeace UK Press Office – or 020 7865 8255

Press Officer on site – 07801 212 960

Photos and video of the Greenpeace ‘bullingdozer’ and activists in Uxbridge, updated throughout the morning –


PM Johnson on video pledging ‘I will lie down with you in front of those bulldozers and stop construction of that third runway.’ –

Greenpeace ‘vote no third runway’ leaflet (folds out into a poster) –

Greenpeace are party to an appeal of a Judicial Review (JR) of the government’s Aviation National Policy Statement, together with Hillingdon, Wandsworth, Hammersmith and Fulham, Richmond upon Thames and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, joined by the Mayor of London. Other JRs have been brought by Friends of the Earth, Plan B, and Heathrow Hub Ltd.


See also Mirror article at

See earlier:


Boris to fight (“undeliverable”) 3rd Heathrow runway; he won’t resign over it – but would fight from within Parliament

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who is now also MP for Uxbridge & South Ruislip, has said he would not resign as an MP if the Conservative government approved a Heathrow 3rd runway. He believes he would be better able to fight it by remaining in Parliament. Boris will now be attending the Cabinet – but he does not have a ministerial role, so he can devote his attention to his final year as Mayor. Boris has, for many years, been an outspoken opponent of a new Heathrow runway because of the highly negative impacts of noise and air pollution on Londoners.  He has now said that if there was a Heathrow runway, with meeting air quality standards a very difficult challenge, there would have to be a new congestion charge zone around it. That would be the only way to tackle the traffic congestion and air pollution caused by so many extra road vehicles (as well as planes and airport vehicles). Boris said in his MP acceptance speech that he would join Zac Goldsmith and lie down “in front of those bulldozers and stop the building, stop the construction of that 3rd runway” at Heathrow. He said a 3rd Heathrow runway was “undeliverable” and that if the Airports Commission recommended it, he hoped their report would be “filed vertically [shelved]” as others had been.







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Bristol Airport expansion cycle protesters halt A38 traffic near airport entrance

The new local group, opposed to expansion of Bristol Airport, partly on grounds of carbon emissions but also due to noise and other local impacts, has held a protest cycle ride.  The group of about 70 cyclists met up close to the airport and then cycled in convoy along the busy A38. They temporarily brought roads around the airport to a halt in a protest against expansion plans, by riding in convoy to the airport and then repeatedly cycled around a roundabout close to the entrance. The lunchtime protest caused queues of between two and three miles in both directions.  Unbelievably, the airport tries to claim its expansion to 12 million annual passengers by the mid 2020 will cut CO2 – as slightly fewer people would drive to London airports, if they fly from Bristol. They would in fact just fly more.  The group support taking the “flight free  pledge” not to fly in 2020, as a way to get people to think more carefully about travel and their lifestyle choices.  The airport has submitted plans for the expansion and North Somerset Council is expected to decide on the expansion later this year.



Bristol Airport expansion protesters halt A38 traffic

  • 14 September 2019
  • Protest

The group met up close to the airport and then cycled in convoy along the busy A38

Cyclists temporarily brought roads around Bristol Airport to a halt in a protest against expansion plans.

About 70 people rode in convoy to the airport and then repeatedly cycled around a roundabout close to the entrance.

The lunchtime protest caused queues of between two and three miles in both directions.

The airport said its “sustainable development” would mean fewer car journeys to London airports,.

Organiser Oz Osbourne said the group wanted to show the opposition to plans for the airport to cater for 12m passengers by the mid-2020s.

He said he had not flown for 20 years and was urging other to take the “flight-free pledge” for 2020.

“If you join the flight-free pledge then it changes the way you think about who you are… and [you’ll] have a greener lifestyle.



Once there protesters repeatedly pedalled around the roundabout outside the terminal entrance

An airport spokesman said flights “were operating as normal” but advised passengers to allow extra time for their journeys.

It has submitted plans for the expansion and North Somerset Council is expected to decide on the expansion later this year.


Local group:
Stop Bristol Airport Expansion

The Canadian owners of Bristol Airport want to increase passenger numbers by 50%, from 8 million to 12 million passengers per annum. Further growth to 20 million passengers is in the pipeline.

Airport expansion will lead to:

  • Increased greenhouse gas emissions that exceed other carbon savings
  • Gridlock on congested approach roads
  • Noise pollution day and night affecting health and well-being
  • Green belt destruction and other environmental harm
  • Parking sprawl as on-site and illegal field parking spreads
  • Airport expansion does not provide significant benefits to the region. Only the overseas owners will profit.



See earlier:

Crowdfunding appeal: Bristol Airport is Big Enough – Help Stop Further Expansion

Bristol Airport plans to significantly increase its passenger numbers, to grow eventually to 20 million passengers per year from a current level of 8.6 million.  A group of environmental campaigners and local residents are raising money – through crowdfunding – to fund an important legal challenge to the airport’s planning application, that is being dealt with by North Somerset Council.  The group hopes to employ a well respected barrister, Estelle Dehon, who is expert in environment and planning law (with particular expertise in climate change matters). She would be able to legally analyse the 400 plus planning documents on the application, on the Council’s planning website, and offer campaigners and the committee expert evidence for refusal. Estelle has previously worked on the Plan B fight against Heathrow’s third runway.  The coming decade is absolutely critical in averting the climate crisis that is upon us. Yet, that same decade is to be used by Bristol Airport to increase the carbon emissions of flights using the airport, by over 500,000 tonnes per year.  In addition to the carbon issue, many people in Bristol would be exposed to a range of air pollution substances, including NO2 and black carbon – as well as increased noise nuisance.

Click here to view full story…





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Judges reject judicial review challenges against DfT’s Heathrow 3rd runway NPS

The judges at the High Court have handed down their judgement, which was to reject all the legal challenges against the DfT and the Secretary of State for Transport, on the government decision to approve a 3rd Heathrow runway, through the Airports NPS (National Policy Statement). The judges chose to make their ruling exclusively on the legality, and “rationality” of the DfT decision, ignoring the facts and details of the Heathrow scheme and the NPS process – or the areas where relevant information was ignored by the DfT.  In the view of the judges, the process had been conducted legally. They threw out challenges on air pollution, surface access, noise and habitats – as well as carbon emissions. The latter being on the grounds that the Paris Agreement, though ratified by the UK government, has not been incorporated into UK law, so the DfT did not have to consider it. The Paris Agreement requires countries to aim for only a global 1.5C rise in temperature, not 2 degrees (as in the current UK Climate Change Act). Read comments by Neil Spurrier, one of those making a legal challenge.  There are now likely to be appeals, perhaps even direct to the Supreme Court. 



1st May 2019  (From Teddington Action Group, TAG)Result of the Judicial Review of the Airports National Policy Statement – Observations of Neil Spurrier, one of the claimantsRegrettably all the claimants in the Heathrow Judicial review lost their claims in the High Court.

Basically, the Court decided that it was not going to consider the merits of the Airports National Policy Statement, but only whether any rules of law were broken. Although some would have different opinions, the Judges were of the view that none of the rules had yet been broken.

Full text of the judgment and the press statement are available at

The main judgement on the environmental challenges (184 pages) is at

While the decision is very disappointing, the Judges did emphasise that they were not commenting on the merits of the National Policy Statement. The judgment is long, stretching to over 650 paragraphs and 250 pages.

The postscript of the judgment stated that :

“There was a tendency for the substance of parties’ positions to take more of a centre stage than perhaps it should have done, in a hearing that was concerned only with the legality (and not the merits) of the ANPS”.

Similarly the press statement just issued by the Court states that:

It must be emphasised that the court was not concerned with the merits of increasing airport capacity or of satisfying any need by way of a third runway at Heathrow“. 

That is, at least, something that we can push back at Heathrow and the Government, if and when either suggests that Heathrow expansion is going full steam ahead – which it is not, without further and extensive examination in the Development Consent Order (DCO) process, from which the expansion scheme may yet fail.

It is yet to be seen whether any of the claimants will appeal.

There is the possibility of an appeal to the Court of Appeal and then on to the Supreme Court. There is some discussion of a possible “leapfrog appeal” direct to the Supreme Court, which bearing in mind that the case is of national importance and relates to the construction of the Planning Act 2008, is a possibility.

The central focus of the Government’s defence was that the National Policy Statement was only required to show that potentially the Heathrow expansion scheme was deliverable and that, in showing this possibility, the Government were only required to show that they had considered the relevant matters set out in the legislation.

Due to the considerable publicity and thought that had gone into the National Policy Statement, it was not possible (so said the Government) to say that the decision was so irrational or unreasonable that no reasonable person would have come to it – the so-called Wednesbury rules (named after the case of Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation (1948)). Ultimately the Court agreed with this.  [The DfT probably was aware of the likelihood of legal challenge, and did all it could to protect itself from future challenges all through the NPS process. AW comment]

There is still much to be argued about at the Development Consent Order stage (the National Policy Statement is just a policy and not a planning consent). Clearly, air quality can only potentially be compliant, and many people think that the likelihood is that it will not be compliant, and consent should not be granted on that ground alone.

The Court declined to get involved in whether noise was unbearable now or would be unbearable in the future. The Court’s view was that to have a decibel level of 54dB LAeq did not fall foul of the Wednesbury rules, even if it was claimed that the level did breach WHO guidance.

I spent a lot of time arguing about the difference between the WHO Night-Time Noise Guidelines of 2009 and the SoNA (2014 Survey of Noise Attitudes) report of the CAA. The Court did not consider that the forum of judicial review of the National Policy Statement was the appropriate place for that discussion.

Similarly, the Court showed reluctance to become involved in air quality, particularly the claimed error in the forecast emissions from aircraft themselves. The Boroughs had argued that there was an 80% chance that the emissions near the airport would be above the permitted amount, as defined in the Appraisal of Sustainability as “High”.

The Government countered that by saying that the definitions in the Appraisal of Sustainability meant that they would be within the 10% of the limit. Either way the risk is substantial that expansion will not comply with the Air Quality Regulations.

I had argued extensively that three studies, all specially referred to by the Air Quality Expert Group of DEFRA, show that harmful ultrafine particulates and NOx from aircraft can travel for more than 20 kilometres downwind from the point of emission, rather than the 2 kilometres stated by the Government.

The amount of emissions could be 4 to 5 fold the norm under the flight paths up to 10 kilometres and even 20% above the norm at 40 kilometres from the airport. One of the surveys was at Los Angeles Airport, in which the report stated that:

“We measured at least a 2-fold increase in PN concentrations over unimpacted baseline PN concentrations during most hours of the day in an area of about 60 km2 that extended to 16 km (10 miles) downwind and a 4- to 5-fold increase to 8−10 km (5−6 miles) downwind. Locations of maximum PN concentrations were aligned to eastern, downwind jet trajectories during prevailing westerly winds and to 8 km downwind concentrations exceeded 75 000 particles/cm3, more than the average freeway PN concentration in Los Angeles.”

Evidence from Queen Mary’s University hospital was produced showing the damage caused by ultrafine particulates going deep into the blood stream and being passed down to the next generation by entering the placenta surrounding an unborn foetus. Unfortunately, the judges were having none of it at this stage. That is not to say that it cannot be raised later, but it does seem that an opportunity has been missed by the court.

Climate Change featured prominently in all the environmental arguments. Perhaps one of the more remarkable features was the defence of the Government to the claim of Plan B Earth that global warming should be kept to 1.5⁰C above pre-industrial levels contained in the Paris Agreement and as set out in the special report of 2018 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The Government argued (successfully) that as the Paris Agreement had not been adopted into domestic law, there could be no complaint that it had not been observed – the law remained as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008 providing for an 80% reduction of CO2 emissions by 2050, and no more.

As has been made evident by the recent demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion and the speeches of Greta Thunberg from Sweden, this may well be nothing like enough. Although this defence was successful, it may come back to haunt the Government as showing just how irresponsible it is being over climate change.

In addition, the concept of the UK signing an international treaty such as the Paris Agreement, and then dishonouring it because the government has failed to pass the treaty into domestic law, will leave a very sour taste in the mouths of many people.

This Government has criticised Donald Trump for walking away from climate change. Perhaps our government should consider the gospel according to St. Matthew chapter 7 verse 4 “How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye?”

The Committee on Climate Change is responding on May 2nd to the Government with its advice on what level of greenhouse gas emissions reduction is required to combat climate change. It will be interesting to see how the Government reacts to that.

I had argued that climate change had not been taken into consideration sufficiently because no apportionment between airport expansion across the Country had been considered. If Heathrow expands, how can other airports expand (as they are doing and planning to do) when all the quota of greenhouse gas emissions has been taken up by Heathrow?

This cut no ice with the Judges who considered that at the National Policy stage, it was sufficient to show that climate change had been considered and that a possibility of Heathrow expansion within the greenhouse gas emissions limits had been considered (which, of course it had, since the Airports Commission had considered it, however warped one might consider the extent of the consideration).

All this does not mean that climate change will not be considered again at the Development Consent Order stage – and it almost certainly will be and the expansion scheme may well fail on that point. Extinction Rebellion may see to that.

At the end of the day the madness of expanding airport capacity in the south-east, which is already so over-crowded may have to be left to the good offices of the various campaign groups and a 16 year old school girl from Sweden. Perhaps soon, this Government with its mad transport policies, will be elected out of office and we will have some sanity brought back into life.


Commenting on the judgement:

Paul McGuinness, Chair of the No 3rd Runway Coalition, said:

“This is not a win – but not a loss.

“The judges were constrained by the legislation, stating that all these contentious matters need to be considered at the planning stage.

But the fact remains that Heathrow expansion is a bad policy – economically, as well as environmentally. It should not go ahead and won’t go ahead. It will be challenged until defeated”


John McDonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington, who was at the High Court for the judgment said:

“The Government has got off the hook because they are not willing to recognise Paris Agreement in law. Obviously, there will now be appeals, as it is matter of common sense that Paris Agreement must be taken into account in full.”


The group, Hammersmith & Fulham No 3rd Runway said:

Campaigners’ resolve has only been strengthened following the disappointing Court judgements on the judicial reviews today.

There will be appeals against these judgements. This will create delay which is always helpful to our cause.

Importantly, the whole debate round climate change has sharpened even in the few weeks since this case was heard. Government will be under pressure to enact the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which would change the legal landscape.


See also

Comment by Plan B Earth and Extinction Rebellion, on Judges’ rejection of Heathrow legal challenges

The High Court dismissed all the legal challenges to the Government’s plans to expand Heathrow, including the claims brought by Friends of the Earth and Plan B on the grounds of inconsistency with the Paris Agreement on climate change. Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B and a legal adviser to Extinction Rebellion, said: “…it is increasingly difficult to see how the Government’s reckless plans to expand Heathrow Airport can proceed. Following the recent Extinction Rebellion protests there is widespread recognition that we are in a state of climate and ecological emergency. The Court has upheld Chris Grayling’s surprising contention that the Paris Agreement is “irrelevant” to Government policy on climate change. It ignored the fact that the Government stated in May last year that it planned to decarbonise the economy by 2050. Instead it accepted Grayling’s argument that the CCC considers the current target of 80% emissions reductions by 2050 to be consistent with the Paris Agreement. Tomorrow the CCC is expected to expose the fallacy of that position by recommending that the Government implement a target of net zero by 2050,… Since that recommendation is obviously inconsistent with the expansion of Heathrow, presumably the plans will now need to be reviewed.”

Click here to view full story…

See also

Heathrow ruling: High Court approves third runway despite escalating climate change crisis

‘Government is kicking our children in the teeth over climate’, say campaigners following defeat

By Harry Cockburn (Independent)

The High Court has rejected a legal challenge against a controversial third runway at Heathrow Airport, despite growing alarm at the climate crisis.

Judges delivered their ruling on Wednesday following separate judicial reviews of the government’s decision to approve the plans, brought by a group of councils, residents, environmental charities and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

Ahead of the ruling, Nigel Pleming QC, who was representing five London boroughs, Greenpeace and Mr Khan, said the plans could see the number of passengers using the airport rise to an estimated 132 million, an increase of 60 per cent.

The case had been brought against transport secretary Chris Grayling by local authorities and residents in London affected by the expansion and charities including Greenpeace, Friends Of The Earth and Plan B.

Under current laws, the government has a legal obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent, compared with 1990 levels, by 2050.

But the release of the Climate Change Committee’s report on Thursday will call for emissions to be reduced to net zero by 2050.

Key parts of the legal challenge against the government argued the third runway is not compatible with climate change targets in UK domestic law, and also those agreed under international obligations in the Paris agreement in 2015.

The House of Commons overwhelmingly voted in favour of the £18bn third runway plans at Heathrow last year, approving Mr Grayling’s plans by 415 votes to 119.

Responding to the airport being given the go-ahead from the High Court, Greenpeace said while the campaigners may have lost this judgment, the government is losing the argument on whether such expansion is “morally justifiable”.

John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK said: “Chris Grayling has won a court case over whether the third runway is legally permissible, but he’s lost the argument over whether it’s morally justifiable.

“This verdict will not reduce the impact on local communities from increased noise and air pollution, nor will it resolve Heathrow Ltd’s financial difficulties or the economic weakness in their expansion plans.

“But our main concern is allowing Heathrow, the UK’s biggest carbon emitter, to expand in the middle of a climate emergency.

“For as long as climate change remains an afterthought in government decisions they are kicking our children in the teeth.”

Speaking after the ruling, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the decision let the government “off the hook”.

Mr McDonnell said: “What I find extraordinary in the judgment is that, on the issues with regard to climate change, the government gets off the hook simply because it has not adopted the Paris agreement into UK law.

“So, even though our belief is that [the expansion] completely undermines the ability to abide by the climate change targets of the Paris agreement, because the Paris agreement is not in UK law as yet the government gets off the hook.”

Caroline Russell, the chair of the London Assembly environment committee, described the High Court decision as “devastating news”.

“Have any of the judges noticed what David Attenborough, Mark Carney, Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion have been saying?” she wrote on Twitter.

In a statement she said: “Although the government’s policy on Heathrow has survived this court hearing, it is still not the right course for London or the environment.

“The government’s own figures show that the extra traffic caused by expansion will worsen air pollution widely across London, shortening Londoners’ lives. At the same time, 200,000 more people will be affected by noise from an expanded Heathrow.”

The chair of the London Assembly transport committee, Caroline Pidgeon added: “It is bitterly disappointing that the High Court has made this decision. The London Assembly has long been opposed to the expansion of Heathrow – all advice from the Assembly, protestors and experts seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

“This committee has consistently raised the issue of the government’s lack of planning for improving surface transport access to Heathrow Airport, yet the situation remains largely unchanged.

“The government has persisted with this decision without proper preparation for the influx of people that would be travelling to and from Heathrow by car, train and many other means.”

Friends of the Earth today appeared to be considering a further challenge to the court judgement, and said the decision was “out of step with the world”.

“Parliament’s decision to green-light Heathrow was morally wrong, but today we believe the courts have got it legally wrong too. We are examining the judgement in detail and will consider all options,” they said.

The organisation added: “Heathrow airport is already the single biggest climate polluter in the UK, expansion will only exacerbate the problem.”

Gareth Redmond-King, head of climate change at WWF, said: “The climate emergency is here, and yet we are acting as if we have time to waste. When the Committee on Climate Change report is published tomorrow, politicians will say that they are committed to tackling climate change. But how can they be taken seriously if they press ahead with expanding airports?”

Chris Grayling responded to the court’s judgement saying the new runway would “benefit every corner of the United Kingdom”.

He said: “The expansion of Heathrow is vital and will provide a massive economic boost to businesses and communities across the length and breadth of Britain, all at no cost to the taxpayer and within our environmental obligations.

“I welcome the court’s judgment today. It makes clear we followed a robust and legally sound process throughout.

“I now call on all public bodies not to waste any more taxpayers’ money or seek to further delay this vital project which will benefit every corner of the United Kingdom.”

In a statement a Heathrow spokesperson said: “We are delighted with today’s ruling which is a further demonstration that the debate on Heathrow expansion has been had and won, not only in Parliament, but in the courts also. We are getting on with delivering the once-in-a-generation project that will connect Britain to global growth, providing thousands of new jobs and an economic boost for this country and its future generations.”

The High Court findings come on the same day Mr Grayling said he was terminating contracts with three ferry companies which were too expand lorry freight capacity in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

He decided to terminate the agreements after the deadline for the UK’s departure was extended until the end of October, but the Department for Transport will still have to pay £50m for part of the value of the contracts.

The £50m bill comes on top of a £33m payment to Eurotunnel, earlier this year, to settle its legal case over the cross-Channel contracts.

Shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald responded to Mr Grayling’s announcement saying: “His career as a minister has left a trail of scorched earth and billions of pounds of public money wasted.

“This country cannot afford Chris Grayling.”






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No 3rd Runway Coalition’s message loud and clear at London Climate March

At the Climate Change march in London on 1st December, to mark the start of the COP24 climate talks in Katovice, Poland, the No 3rd Runway Coalition was out in force.  Many hundred people marched – 700 or more? – with a large input from anti-fracking activists, and many from Extinction Rebelling. After rallying outside the Polish Embassy for speeches, including Neil Keveren from Stop Heathrow Expansion, the march set off down Regents Street and Piccadilly to Whitehall. The key concern was that in the UK, from fracking to a Heathrow third runway, our government is failing to face up to the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming. We need action now to move to a Zero Carbon Britain, with climate jobs to build the future we need. Instead of rapidly committing to effective action to cut CO2, the UK government is actively backing measures to make CO2 emissions higher or cut funding for initiatives that would cut burning of fossil fuels.  The No 3rd Runway Coalition banner took up pride of place at the start of the march.  There were many Coalition members present, many placards on show, the huge Chatr black plane clearly stating “No 3rd Runway”, and a good turnout by Stop Heathrow Expansion.


No 3rd Runway Coalition presence at the London Climate March


Heatwaves, hurricanes and wildfires make it clear: it’s time to act on climate change. As crucial UN climate talks kick off in kick off in Katowice, Poland, join us to show solidarity with environmental activists there; with those in the Global South in particular in the frontline of climate change; and with all those standing up for the future of our planet over short-term profit, against the rise of the far right and climate denial.

Here in the UK, from fracking to a Heathrow third runway, our government is failing to face up to the climate crisis. The recent IPCC report is a landmark for our planet, setting out just what is at stake if we breach 1.5C warming. We need action now to move to a Zero Carbon Britain, with climate jobs to build the future we need.

The march sent a message to activists in Katowice, marching on 8 December

The march assembled from 12 noon outsider the Polish Embassy on Portland Place. There was a rally with speeches from 12.30 to 1.30pm. There were speeches by:

Clive Lewis MP, Labour Party
Sian Berry, co-leader, Green Party
Richard Roberts, fracking direct action campaigner whose recent prison sentence was overturned
Paul Allen, Zero Carbon Britain
Beatriz Ratton, Brazilian Women Against Fascism
Nita Sanghera, Vice President, UCU
Asad Rehman, War on Want
Anna Gretton, Extinction Rebellion
Neil Keveren, No 3rd Runway Coalition

The rally chanted in Polish,  “Razem dla Klimatu” – outside the Polish Embassy. It means “Together for Climate”.

The No 3rd Runway Coalition banner took up pride of place at the start of the march.  There were many Coalition members present, many placards on show, the huge Chatr black plane clearly stating “No 3rd Runway”, and a good turnout by Stop Heathrow Expansion. Sadly the huge model plane, made by the irrepressible Neil Keveren, had a bit of a mishap during the pouring rain all morning …. but will be fixed and will makes its debut appearance at another event soon …

The march then set off, down Regents Street, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square to Whitehall. Police held up the traffic for the marchers to pass, and shoppers watched with interest (taking thousands of photos and videos) as the marchers streamed past. There were chants, while going past the BBC in Portland Place, of “BBC, BBC, tell the truth about climate change”. Also chants of  “What do we want? Climate Action.  When do we want it? Now.  What do we want? Climate Justice.  When do we want it? Now”.

And also many times:   “No ifs, no buts – No 3rd Runway”.

Some shoppers abandoned their shopping to join the march for a while. Some car drivers honked their horns in support as the march passed.

The Extinction Rebellion activists were there in force, but there was no direct action and absolutely no breaking of any laws or civil disobedience.

At the rally in Whitehall, opposite Downing Street, there were speeches by

Barry Gardiner MP, Labour Party
Liz Hutchins, Friends of the Earth
Peter Allen, Frack Free United
Claire James, Campaign against Climate Change

After the protest, the Frack Free United Declaration against fracking was handed in, to 10 Downing Street.





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Launch of “Stay Grounded” network – organisations around the world opposing unsustainable aviation/airport expansion

The Stay Grounded network has been officially launched. It now has over 130 signatories (including the No 3rd Runway Coalition, and others in the UK) and more than 80 member organisations. Stay Grounded aims to reduce the environmentally and socially damaging impact of aviation, by stopping its fast rate of expansion across the world. The industry has privileged status in many ways, including its out-of-control increasing carbon emissions. The Stay Grounded network has published a position paper outlining 13 steps for a transition towards a transport system that is more socially just and ecologically sustainable. Many non-violent actions took place in countries around the world, in a recent week of action. These were directed against airport infrastructure projects, many of them leading not only to rising CO2 emissions, but also noise and health issues, loss of homes, biodiversity and fertile lands.  Around the world there are about 1200 airports planned to be built or being expanded. Stay grounded will also highlight the industry’s inadequate “greenwashing” strategies, which will lead to increasing pressure on ecosystems, local farming communities, and indigenous peoples, particularly in the Global South.


In the week of action, a total of 27 actions took place in 11 countries (3 continents) to counter airport expansion and to demand a just transport system. There is a video here  and more on  FacebookTwitter
There are photos of the actions here.   Stay Grounded is working to spread information and understanding about the illusion of “green growth” for the aviation sector.  The movement needs to build pressure on our politicians, across countries, to cut the privileges of the aviation industry.

Press Release: Stay Grounded international network launched to counter aviation

1st-12th October – 2 weeks of protest events to be held around the world

Magdalena Heuwieser & Mira Kapfinger / coordinators of Stay Grounded
Phone: 0043/6503773102

1st October 2018 – This week marks the official launch of Stay Grounded, a global network of organisations and activist groups working to curb the unrestrained expansion of the aviation sector that is causing ever increasing damage to the climate and local residents. Supported by more than 100 civil society organisations, like Friends of the Earth International, the network has published a position paper outlining 13 steps for a transition towards a transport system that is more socially just and ecologically sustainable.

The Stay Grounded network will organise protest events around the world in the coming two weeks to raise awareness of the ongoing massive wave of airport infrastructure expansion: They will take place in Denmark, the UK, Mexico, the Netherlands, Austria, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand, Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Brazil, France and New Zealand.

The actions are directed against airport infrastructure projects, many of them leading to noise and health issues, loss of homes, biodiversity and fertile lands”, explains Mira Kapfinger from Stay Grounded, pointing out a map of airport conflicts. Around the world, about 1200 airports are planned to be built or being expanded. The protests will also throw a spotlight on the industry’s inadequate “greenwashing” strategies, which will lead to increasing pressure on ecosystems, peasant communities, and indigenous peoples, particularly in the Global South.

Aviation Emissions and Greenwashed Climate Strategies
The protests are just in time: At the end of October, International Aviation will decide on its climate strategy called CORSIA (Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation). It proclaims the goal to achieve “carbon neutral growth” after 2020 by buying cheap and ineffective carbon credits from offset projects in the Global South. These supposedly “green” projects have a record of fuelling land grabbing and human rights violations.

Instead of assuming responsibility for the harmful impact of its reckless growth path, the industry is trying to buy its way out at the expense of vulnerable populations who are at risk of losing their livelihoods due to these offsetting projects”, Mira Kapfinger adds.

“CORSIA is not only a greenwashed cloth attempting to polish aviation. It is also being used as a diversion tactic to block any effective regulation of the sector”, explains Magdalena Heuwieser from Stay Grounded. The European aviation industry is recently trying to lobby EU officials to abolish existing regulation of aviation emissions, like the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and ticket taxes, by pointing to an alleged overlap with CORSIA.

Mira Kapfinger from Stay Grounded said: “This year’s summer of record temperatures, droughts and forest fires, has been another warning sign that it is now most urgent for us all to resist the growing greenhouse gas emissions from aviation.” Aviation is by far the mode of transport with the biggest climate impact, as well as being one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.

Stay Grounded demands effective regulations on aviation

Stay Grounded rejects greenwashed aviation strategies like CORSIA, carbon trading and tanked biofuels and instead fosters effective solutions to the climate crisis and rising aviation emissions. “For decades, the aviation industry has enjoyed many privileges. For example, flight tickets and kerosene still remain untaxed, in contrast to car fuel or train tickets. Now is the time to wake up. “Techno-fixes” and offsets are illusions. Rather than fueling further expansion, air traffic urgently needs to be controlled and reduced, before we get locked in to their unaffordable emissions. This process needs to be socially just,” Mira Kapfinger concludes.


Further information:



Stay Grounded will send their position paper together with an introductory letter to the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) on October 26th, just before the start of their next Council meeting. In this meeting they will decide on the criteria for carbon offsets and biofuels – the main pillars of the international climate strategy CORSIA, and hugely dangerous because they don’t help fight climate change and push land grabbing. Find more information on the current international policy debates and problems involved in this article and in the study “The Illusion of Green Flying” (GE, EN, FR). 

Stay Grounded is encouraging people and organisations to write to their environment, climate change and transport ministries, asking that they make public their reservations about the ICAO CORSIA scheme, (which is a token scheme to give the impression of cutting aviation carbon emissions, while in reality doing the least possible, and not having an effective impact on aviation CO2 for decades).  Letters should be sent before 1st December. Though it is unlikely that the CORSIA scheme will be stopped, or made effective, it is important that EU states express their concerns about CORSIA so it does not lead to the EU ETS regulation being stopped, and replaced by the (ineffective) CORSIA.  Find here the contact details of EU ministers and a new CORSIA briefing by Transport & Environment, and find here some bullet points that can be used for your letter.





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