The opponents of a new Nantes airport and Notre Dame des Landes are still waiting to see if the authorities try to force them off the land. On the 10th November, there was a good gathering (150 tractors and 500 people) who surrounded one of the farms on the ZAD (zone à defendre) to show solidarity against possible evictions. Now another gathering is planned for 2nd December, as they fear the threat of an attempt to start the removal work is even stronger in the days and weeks ahead. They say “We can not accept that the government does not respect the environmental code and the law on water and protected species.” And “it is our duty to prevent the destruction of fertile soils of the ZAD and the expulsion of those who make a living there.” The plan is meet up, speeches etc, and then pot au feu! In another solidarity campaign, there will be a relay of tractors taking good quality hay grown on the ZAD, up to farmers in Normandy, who do not have enough. On 13th to 16th December 3 hay trailers will start from the ZAD at NDDL, led initially by tractors of farmers at NDDL. Every 20 to 30 km, the relay will be passed to other local farmers with their tractors who take the next stage. Held in the squares of towns or villages, the relay stops will be an opportunity to communicate about the struggle against the planned NDDL airport – and national issues. . Tweet
Mobilisation des paysannes et paysans de Copain le 2 décembre 2016
Le rassemblement paysan du 10 novembre pour entourer de nos Tracteurs Vigilants la ferme de Brigitte, Sylvain et Justin Fresneau a été une réussite (150 tracteurs et plus de 500 personnes).
La menace d’une tentative de début de travaux est des plus forte pour les jours et semaines à venir.
Nous ne pouvons accepter que le gouvernement ne respecte pas le code de l’environnement et les loi sur l’eau et les espèces protégées.
Aujourd’hui, construire un aéroport à NDDL est illégal car l’aménagement de l’aéroport actuel est une alternative tout à fait viable au long terme.
Il est de notre devoir d’empêcher la destruction des terres nourricières de la Zad et l’expulsion de ceux qui la font vivre.
Pour nous, paysannes et paysans de Copain, c’est maintenant qu’il faut affirmer notre détermination à empêcher tout début de travaux ou d’expulsion.
Il y a bientôt quatre ans, nous protégions la ferme de Bellevue de la destruction, en occuppant le corps de ferme et les 120 ha.
Depuis, nous entretenons les prairies et les cultures, et la ferme est devenu un lieu de vie, d’échanges, d’émulation et de création.
Nous avons donc décidé:
Un appel à tous les paysannes et paysans et aux comités de soutiens :
Rassemblement le vendredi 02 décembre 2016
à 11h00 à la Ferme de Bellevue
Pour réaffirmer comment nous protègerons la Ferme comme l’ensemble de la Zad
11h00: chantiers de protection
12h00: prises de paroles et conférence de presse
13h00: Pot au feu !
L’ACIPA appelle ses adhérents et sympathisants à accompagner ce rassemblement.
In addition to the protest against a 3rd runway near Heathrow, with two sections of nearby roads closed by activists linked together with arm locks, lying on the ground, there was also an entirely law abiding protest near Heathrow. Earlier in the day there was a large, energetic and very positive rally in Richmond, organised by Zac Goldsmith – as part of his re-election campaign. Zac had always said that if the government backed a 3rd runway, we would resign. As soon as they did, he did – keeping his word to his electorate. The by-election was caused by the Heathrow issue, and that is what Zac intends to be returned to Parliament on. The LibDems want to get a 2nd MP in parliament, and so are hoping the by-election will instead be largely about Brexit. The rally was compered (brilliantly) by Giles Brandreth, and addressed by numerous well informed speakers, including the Leaders of the 4 councils now embarking on legal action against the government on the runway decision, and the ex-President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed, as well as spokespeople from the Richmond Heathrow campaign, Teddington Action Group, Stop Heathrow Expansion, and Chiswick residents. It was made very clear that Zac has the necessary years of political experience as an MP to take this issue back to Parliament, get change, and ensure the runway is opposed – in every way.
Everyone who spoke was utterly determined that, with sufficient work and concerted, united opposition over the coming years, the highly unsustainable and damaging plan for a 3rd runway at Heathrow will be blocked. . Tweet
The rally was very ably, and amusingly, introduced by Giles Brandreth, (if anyone ever needs a rally to be engagingly and effectively compered, Giles is your man). The first speaker, with a range of amazing impersonations (including Boris ….) was Alistair McGowan, who spoke movingly about the devastation to all life on earth, including the natural world, from human impact including climate change. (David Attenborough lives close to Richmond Green).
Some photos, to give a flavour of the rally:
Zac at the rally – hoping to be re-elected as MP for Richmond Park, to continue his determined fight against a Heathrow runway
The 4 councils that will be taking legal action against the government’s decision to approve a Heathrow 3rd runway. (Cllr Simon Dudley, Leader of Windsor & Maidenhead; Cllr Ravi Govindia, Leader of Wandsworth; Councillor Dominic Gilham, standing in for Cllr Ray Puddifoot of Hillingdon; and Lord True, Leader of Richmond council).
Mohammed Nasheed, ex-president of the Maldives (which once held a government meeting under water, for the cameras, to illustrate the danger of climate change
Sheila Taylor (aged 85) speaking about how it had been a battle for residents for years against Heathrow, with decades of uncertainty about their future and the chance of having homes compulsorily purchased and having to move. Sheila has lived in the area since World War 2.
Part of the crowd listening to the speakers – often applauding enthusiastically
Young people who understand the negative impacts that a larger Heathrow would bring, to so many people, in so many different ways.
Lib Dem candidate for Richmond Park Sarah Olney, former climate change secretary Ed Davey and Ukip’s Suzanne Evans were also seen with protesters, many of whom were holding placards and posters.
Neil Keveren, whose house would be yards from the boundary fence of an expanded Heathrow, in Harmondsworth, spoke passionately about the fight. He ended by this memorable chant:
“Theresa May, Theresa May,
what would your father say?
No ifs, No buts, No 3rd runway.”
Stronger together – with the logos of many of the groups united together to fight a Heathrow runway
Warning about how much the necessary work to improve surface access would cost taxpayers, if there is a Heathrow 3rd runway
Reminder, from a Stop Heathrow Expansion banner, of Theresa May’s comment in 2010: “I strongly welcome the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow”.
In addition to a rally held on Richmond Green, organised by Zac Goldsmith, against the planned 3rd Heathrow runway there were two other protests near Heathrow. Zac’s rally had a host of speakers, including the leaders of the four councils bringing a legal challenge to the government, and the ex-President of the Maldives – with the aim of ensuring Zac is returned to Parliament in the by-election on 1st December. A short while later, there was an action by climate protesters, organised by RisingUp! close to Heathrow itself. They got onto the M4 spur road to the airport at a traffic lights when the traffic had stopped. Within seconds five had locked themselves together with arm locks, blocking the road. Another Heathrow road, the East Ramp, was also blocked, for a short time, with some road trips slightly delayed, but no flights were affected. Fifteen arrests were made for obstructing the highway or public order offences. Many others protested, though without blocking a road. A spokesman for Rising Up! said: “The government’s decisions to expand Heathrow, despite mass opposition from local residents and the fact that doing so is incompatible with the UK’s own laws on climate change, leaves us with no morally acceptable option but to resist.” One of the protesters taking part in the demonstration, Genny Scherer, 70, said: “It’s one or the other: new runways or a safe climate. I want my nephews and nieces to grow up in a safe climate, just like I was able to.” . Tweet
Fifteen arrests were made for obstructing the highway or public order offences.
Traffic was disrupted but there was no reported impact on flights.
Protesters from the environmental organisation Rising Up! also locked themselves together as they blocked the East Ramp road near the airport.
Other campaigners gathered on the flyover to chant “No ifs, no buts, no third runway” and “No more runways”.
A Heathrow spokesman warned passengers to allow extra time to travel or to use public transport where possible.
A spokesman for Rising Up! said: “The government’s decisions to expand Heathrow, despite mass opposition from local residents and the fact that doing so is incompatible with the UK’s own laws on climate change, leaves us with no morally acceptable option but to resist.”
Neil Keveren, a resident of nearby Harmondsworth, said: “Democracy has failed us.
“As a direct result, the quality of life and life expectancy of the population here will be shorter.
“This is against our human rights and must be defended. Who is left to correct this injustice when our politicians will not?
“The answer is us – you and me.”
A spokeswoman for Heathrow said: “Independent analysis by the Airports Commission has found that building and operating an additional runway at Heathrow is compatible with the UK meeting its long-term climate change reduction targets.
“The Independent Committee on Climate Change has also shown that a 60% growth in passenger numbers in the United Kingdom can be achieved within the UK’s Climate Change Targets.”
Heathrow Protest: Police arrest 15 people during protests over airport’s expansion
19.11.2016 (Get West London)
BY ALEXANDER BALLINGER
A pre-planned protest at Heathrow Airport has resulted in 15 arrests for suspected blocking of a public highway and for public order offences
There have been 15 arrests during a planned protest near Heathrow Airport by environmental campaigners demonstrating against the expansion of the west London hub on Saturday (November 19).
Campaign group RiseUp! organised the rally after the Government approved plans to build a third runway at the airport last month.
The 15 arrests were on suspicion of obstructing a public highway and for public order offences.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “A planned protest is ongoing at Heathrow Airport on Saturday. “A proportionate policing plan is in place. There have been 15 arrests for obstructing the highway and public order offences. Officers remain at the scene.”
One of the protesters taking part in the demonstration, Genny Scherer, 70, said: “It’s one or the other: new runways or a safe climate.
“I want my nephews and nieces to grow up in a safe climate, just like I was able to.”
We are part of countless resistances against aviation expansion. Some that are still going…and some that have just begun! #riseup
A spokesman for RisingUp! said: “The government’s decisions to expand Heathrow, despite mass opposition from local residents and the fact that doing so is incompatible with the UK’s own laws on climate change, leaves us with no morally acceptable option but to resist.”
Passengers using the airport have been advised to allow extra time to travel to the airport and use public transport where possible.
A law abiding protest took place, within sight of one of the road blockages, just outside Heathrow, against the 3rd runway
Bath Road, Heathrow
The second event of the day saw Heathrow Villagers and local environmental activists join up on the Bath Road near The Three Magpies Pub to hear speeches and show banners to highlight the issues to people passing through to the airport
HACAN’s John Stewart addresses the gathering
At least 15 arrested at massive ‘die-in’ protest at Heathrow over airport expansion
Sofia Petkar for Metro.co.uk
Saturday 19 Nov 2016
Former MP Zac Goldsmith was also seen speaking to campaigners at a separate demonstration in Richmond.
They could also be heard chanting: ‘No ifs, no buts, no third runway’.
Grassroots organisation RisingUp! held the protest after it was announced that the Government would be backing the £16 billion plan to expand Europe’s busiest airport with a third runway.
At least 15 people have been arrested at a major demonstration against a third runway at Heathrow.
Announcing the massive ‘die-in’ on the M4 spur road before the protest, the group said: ‘The Government’s decision to expand Heathrow, despite mass opposition from local residents and the fact that doing so is incompatible with the UK’s own laws on climate change, leaves us with no morally acceptable option but to resist.
‘Only 15% of the British public is responsible for 70% of international flights taken in the UK, and Heathrow largely serves international passengers who have a mean income of £57,000 per year.
‘This expansion is being driven by the very rich at the expense of some of the poorest people in the world.
‘By 2050 there will be 200 million climate refugees worldwide. Agricultural land in the global south will turn to desert, depriving millions of their right to economic development and driving them into hunger and malnutrition.’
Campaigners help up signs which read ‘protect the planet, no more runways’ and ‘residents against aircraft noise’.
One local resident, Neil Keveren from Harmondsworth, said: ‘Democracy has failed us. Elected leaders have totally reversed the will of the people.
‘As a direct result the quality of life and life expectancy of the population here will be shorter. This is against our human rights and must be defended.
‘Who is left to correct this injustice when our politicians won’t? The answer is us, you and me.’
Why are people protesting the third runway at Heathrow?
In their own words, RisingUp are demonstrating against the planned expansion of Heathrow because:
Out of control climate change will put the lives of hundreds of millions at risk, especially in the global south, and has already destroyed the lives of millions through increased incidence of extreme weather events.
Expansion at Heathrow will cause the UK to break its own national laws to reduce emissions, as well as undermining the international climate commitments agreed only a year ago in Paris.
Nationally, aviation emissions are already dangerously high and will be responsible for 1/4 of UK carbon emissions by 2050 even without the expansion of existing infrastructure.
If Heathrow expands, it would be responsible for more emissions than any other single site in the UK, including the UK’s largest power station (Drax).
At a local level, the new runway will devastate local communities. Families will lose their homes. They will suffer dangerous levels of air pollution, which will be responsible for trebling deaths directly caused by Heathrow aviation emissions, and contribute to the 4000 annual deaths from air pollution in London.
His resignation has triggered an emergency by-election, which will be held on December 1.
Goldsmith plans to stand again in the constituency as an independent.
The Airports Commission (that cost almost £20 million) looked -in theory – at everything in great detail, and its (allegedly) incontrovertible recommendations have now been followed by government. It talked about the M25 needing to be tunnelled under the runway. It did not mention any sort of bridge. But Heathrow was asked by government to cut the cost of its scheme (in order not to raise costs to passengers, to keep demand for flights high) so it came up recently with the idea of a bridge over the motorway. There is a bridge for one of the runways (+ taxiways) at Schiphol, so it is possible. However, there are enormous questions, not the least of which being that nobody has seen any details (cost, practicality, level of disruption, safety, terrorism danger etc) let alone been consulted. The section of motorway that might be bridged is the busiest on the M25, one of the busiest (it might be the busiest) in Europe, and the busiest in the UK. DfT figures show around 263,000 vehicles per day on the Junction 14-15 stretch in 2014. The runway would need to be raised about 8 metres in order to get over the motorway. Heathrow has only said it would spend a total of £1.1 billion for surface access infrastructure. The cost of tunnelling was estimated by the Airports Commission at £3.2 billion. Chris Grayling said absolutely nothing in his announcement, or in Parliament, about how much of the TfL estimate of £18 bn for surface access work the taxpayer would have to fund. . Tweet
How do you build a runway over a motorway?
By Who, What Why. The Magazine answers the questions behind the news
Heathrow’s third runway could involve planes taking off from a “ramp” over a motorway. How would this work, asks Harry Low.
There’s an obstacle in the way of the proposed runway – the M25. An initial idea of constructing a road tunnel beneath the runway has been put aside. Building a “ramp” instead would be “a cheaper and quicker way of doing it”, said Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
Heathrow is situated near the the M25’s busiest section, between junctions 14 and 15. Nearly 100 million vehicles flow through this stretch each year, according to Department for Transport figures.
Some on Twitter have joked that this ramp might resemble the front of some aircraft carriers that have a steep incline, known as a ski jump. “I can assure you it’s nothing like that,” says Chris Chalk, who’s on the transport expert panel for the Institution of Civil Engineers.
“In fact, you wouldn’t actually be able to see it with your eye. If you were on an aircraft you wouldn’t know about it.” [Note – this comment is only from the perspective of air passengers, not motorway users underneath. AW note].
The gradient would be less than 1%, as required by the European Aviation Safety Agency. What impact would this have on a plane? “It doesn’t affect the performance of an aircraft or provide any problems whatsoever,” says Chalk.
“When an aircraft comes in to land, it’s coming in at a gradient of about 5% so less than 1% is a very small difference. In fact, it’s quite normal to have a runway with some gradient on.” [That is incorrect. Planes approach Heathrow, and almost all other airports, at 3 degrees. Link Heathrow said: “The international standard approach for most airports in the world is set at 3 degrees,” AW note].
Other UK airports that would have a greater gradient than that proposed at Heathrow include Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham.
Designers are required to allow a large amount of space either side of the runway in case there is an incident on the airfield. Strategically placed slats and the right lighting will be factors in preventing drivers from losing concentration due to planes overhead, explains Chalk, who works for the civil engineering firm Mott McDonald.
“You tend to have a number of visual buffers because you don’t want to distract the drivers. At that distance you won’t actually be seeing the aircraft that easily. It hasn’t created any issues elsewhere at other busy airports.”
So those thinking the boredom of being stuck in traffic on Britain’s busiest motorway might be relieved by the sight of a large aeroplane crossing the road will be disappointed.
The Airports Commission only ever mentioned tunnelling the M25
Its Final Report said:
“8.18 In addition, a range of works would be needed on the road network to accommodate the expanded airfield site including, for both schemes, the tunnelling of a section of the M25 to the west of the airport.”
PLANE CRAZY – Heathrow Airport’s third runway could see jumbo jets taking off from a ‘ramp’ over the M25
The Government’s decision to choose Heathrow for expansion has caused deep rifts in the Tory Party
BY ROBERT FISK (The Sun)
26th October 2016
HEATHROW Airport’s third runway could be built on a “ramp” over the top of the M25 motorway, according to the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.
He said this would be “cheaper and quicker” than tunnelling the road underneath it and so would cause less disruption to drivers.
Having planes take off from a “ramp” over the M25 is one idea that Heathrow Airport is looking at
Chris Grayling says he wants to minimise disruption to the M25 during the building of the third runway at Heathrow. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme earlier he said this was the norm for many other airports around the world. [ Not really – there are many taxiways. But not a lot of exceptionally busy runways …. AW note].
Grayling said: “One of the things that Heathrow has been looking at is doing what many other airports have done around the world which is to build their runway over the top of the road rather than tunnelling the road underneath it.
“It’s a cheaper and quicker way of doing it and I’m of course very concerned to make sure that as this runway is built it doesn’t cause massive disruption on the M25 so I think this a sensible way.
“It’s a gentle slope – it’s a hill, a very gentle hill up which the planes would take off rather than a flat surface and it’s what happens at very many other airports around the world.”
has a bridge for taxiways and a bit of runway. See map
Times said 27.10.2016 :
Heathrow confirmed yesterday that it would sign initial contracts with engineers, architects and planning consultants “within days” to start the third runway after being given the government’s approval, insisting that 95 per cent of spending would go to British suppliers. Link
BALPA say the slope of the runway – even 1 degree, affects how planes land and take off
The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) said that other runways around the world operated on gradients, usually as a result of being built on sloping ground. However, it said there was a chance that an aircraft’s autolanding system — usually used to bring the plane down in fog — may not work on some slopes.
At least one other runway — at Fort Lauderdale in Florida — is built on a man-made slope. It is almost 16m higher at one end to accommodate a goods railway underneath.
Stephen Landells, Balpa’s flight safety specialist, said: “Putting a slope on a runway isn’t a problem. But any change to the runway has a significant impact on the performance of the aircraft. So before take-off or landing, one of the things you have to consider is the slope of the runway.
“On take-off, you will work out the power you need. If you have got quite a steep slope it is going to take longer to accelerate and more power. On landing, it has an effect if you land downhill because it is going to increase your landing roll.”
He added that there was a risk the autolanding feature may not work.
“The use of autoland is also limited,” he said. “The limit on most aircraft will be around two degrees, and if it is greater than a two degree slope you can’t use the autoland. Not having autoland at Heathrow would not be a good situation to be in because any fog would cause problems. You can’t just close a major international airport.”
Putting Heathrow runway over M25 will be ‘cheaper and quicker’ Transport Secretary Chris Grayling says
The plan is for the runway to span the 12-lane highway
By Jon Stone, Political Correspondent (Independent) 26.10.2016
The Transport Secretary has defended the Government’s plan for Heathrow’s new runway to span the M25 using a ramp, arguing that the solution will be “cheaper and quicker” than alternatives.
Chris Grayling said that the new runway had to be “affordable for passengers” and that the ramp over the 12-lane motorway would only be a “gentle slope”.
Ministers yesterday gave their backing for the new runway, the design of which suggests using an 8m ramp to span Britain’s widest motorway at its widest point.
Mr Grayling said the proposal was “sensible”, seeking to assuage safety and security concerns of having sensitive infrastructure just metres in the air over a busy road.
“We’ve been very clear not just to [Heathrow] but to the other promoters of the schemes is that what they do has to be affordable for passengers as well. It’s not simply about landing extra costs on the shoulders of passengers,” Mr Grayling told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme
“One of the things that Heathrow has been looking at is doing what many airports have done around the world and building their runway over the top of the road rather than tunnelling the road underneath it.
“It’s a cheaper and quicker way of doing it and I’m of course very concerned to make sure that whilst this runway is built it doesn’t cause massive disruption on the M25.
“I think this is a sensible way, it’s a gentle slope. It’s a hill, a very gentle hill upwards that the planes would take off rather than a flat service and it’s what happens at very many other airports around the world.”
Other proposals considered include putting the M25 into a tunnel, building the runway at a different alignment, or building it elsewhere.
MPs will vote on the new runway in 2017-18 following a public consultation.
The third runway is expected to be operational not before 2025, with construction slated for 2020-2021, barring any further roadblocks.
Heathrow conceded on Tuesday night that it may have to re-examine its plans for an extension under the M25, possibly replacing the tunnel with an elevated bridge, after it emerged that Highways England, the body in charge of Britain’s major roads, considered the scheme a major risk.
Highways England warned there was a “significant risk of cost overruns” in the M25 tunnel scheme, the bill for which it estimated would be between £476m and £1.1bn. Correspondence released by the Department for Transport showed that the roads authority described the scheme as “high risk”, warning of a “a substantial risk of excessive customer frustration about what might be prolonged period of disruption”.
Leo Murray, who was one of the founders of the activist group, Plane Stupid, has written eloquently in the Independent, about the opposition – for climate change reasons – to a Heathrow 3rd runway. Leo himself took part in numerous actions, against aviation expansion because the UK government had no effective way of limiting the sector’s CO2 growth. Now he says, “Here we go again.” Heathrow expansion is back, “rising remorselessly like a zombie from the grave. …Why won’t it stay buried?” Heathrow and Gatwick have reportedly spent over £30m each on PR and lobbying, to conjure up an “airport capacity crisis” for London, for their own ends – making out that a new runway is in the national interest. To meet carbon targets, UK aviation cannot increase its CO2 to more than its 37.5MtCO2 cap. Leo says: “The solution is clear, but horrifies politicians: we will have to have policy to manage the growth in demand. There is simply no other way.” Government will have to grasp the nettle of demand management for air travel. In the meantime, people will just have to rise up once more against the green light – if that is given next week. “Heathrow is set to become a lightning rod for radical climate activists all over the country and the old networks from the former alliance are starting to light up again for the first time in years. Once more, dear friends, once more – but let’s make sure it’s really dead this time.” . Tweet
If you think climate change activists like me will take the decision over airport expansion lying down, you’ve got another thing coming
Stansted’s runway slots are half empty. The direct contribution of the aviation sector to the British economy is less than the combined value of the annual tax subsidy it enjoys and the UK’s gaping tourism deficit
Ten years ago last month, I joined 24 other brave souls and a Baptist Minister to cut through the fence at Nottingham East Midlands airport, where we held a sermon on the runway. This was Plane Stupid’s first ever runway occupation, in defiance of government policy backing a trebling of passenger numbers and massive expansion at dozens of British airports. The UK did not yet have a Climate Change Act, but it was already clear that aviation was now the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and that government policy pushing this could not be squared with effective action on global warming.
I went on to be taken to the High Court by BAA, scale the House of Commons, take part in a mass occupation of the runway at Stansted and help my comrades to superglue themselves to Gordon Brown and slime Peter Mandelson. But all these (and many more) direct actions were themselves just one small part of an unprecedentedly broad and diverse movement that mobilised against a third runway at Heathrow. Environmental NGOs and development charities, local MPs and councils of every hue, grassroots noise campaigners and the Mayor of London all took up the cause. At the centre of everything were the members of the communities that would disappear beneath the tarmac if the third runway went ahead.
The sheer force of our collective will eventually brought the weight of public opinion behind us, and the fate of the third runway was sealed – “no ifs, no buts”. David Cameron even planted a tree on the site to commemorate its passing.
The tree died. But the third runway lived on, in the hopes and dreams of Britain’s aviation lobby. Today, it is rising remorselessly like a zombie from the grave, clawing its way to the top of the political agenda once again. Why won’t it stay buried?
Former MP Chris Mullin gives some clues in his account of his time as Aviation Minister: “I learnt two things. First, that the demands of the aviation industry are insatiable. Second, that successive governments have usually given way to them.” The excessively cosy relationship between the Department for Transport and the aviation industry was laid bare in 2008, when officials were reported found to have been colluding with Heathrow to engineer the outcome of air quality assessments needed to approve expansion.
Heathrow and Gatwick have reportedly spent over £30m each on PR and lobbying since the elaborate political long-grassing exercise that was the Airports Commission began its deliberations over where to put new airport capacity in the South East. This was the wrong question (of which, more in a moment) but the framing of the Commission has conspired with the huge marketing budgets of the rival airports to conjure up an “airport capacity crisis” for London.
This is now the new common sense – our airports are full, and delaying new runways is doing irreparable harm to the British economy. This hysteria climaxed in the summer with the comical claim that these delays are costing us £6m a day. But it seems to have worked. Labour’s Shadow Aviation Minister Andy MacDonald sums up the new paradigm thus: “It is beyond doubt that additional capacity is needed. The imperative is overwhelming.”
Neither is true. Stansted’s runway slots are half empty. The direct contribution of the aviation sector to the British economy (£18bn) is less than the combined value of the annual tax subsidy it enjoys (£11bn) and the UK’s gaping tourism deficit (£17bn and rising). Only one in ten international flights by UK residents are now business flights, and the proportion goes down a little more every year. The latest incarnation of the runways debate has been almost magically effective at conflating the financial interests of the big airport owners with the national economic interest.
Airport capacity, it faces a profound challenge in the shape of climate change. Aviation has a uniquely generous target under the Climate Change Act: absolutely no reduction in emissions, while the rest of the economy must make up the shortfall with extra cuts. Yet the aviation sector is still set to break the budget. The problem is that annual growth in demand for flights greatly outstrips efficiency improvements – by a rate of about five to one, globally.
Heathrow third runway decision needed ‘as soon as possible’ after Brexit says Simon Calder
In the UK, the Committee on Climate Change have advised that for aviation to comply with the Act, demand growth must be limited to around 60% per cent to 2050. But the Department for Transport expects demand to grow over this period by 93 per cent; this is the extra demand which a new runway is clamouring to cater for. The solution is clear, but horrifies politicians: we will have to have policy to manage the growth in demand. There is simply no other way.
Eventually, if the UK stands by its commitment to tackle climate change, some government must grasp the nettle of demand management. When they do, we will be ready. Demand growth for air travel is driven by lavish tax breaks on fuel duty and VAT which keep air fares artificially low. A frequent flyer levy that shifts tax off ordinary holidaymakers and on to frequent flyers would benefit the large majority of UK residents. Those who would have to pay more are those who can most afford to. Modelling shows that it could keep aviation emissions within safe limits at the same time as distributing flights more evenly across the income spectrum, and raising more money to support alternatives.
In the meantime, people will just have to rise up once more against the green light next week. Heathrow is set to become a lightning rod for radical climate activists all over the country, and the old networks from the former alliance are starting to light up again for the first time in years.
Once more, dear friends, once more – but let’s make sure it’s really dead this time.
Leo Murray is a co-founder and former activist with Plane Stupid. He is currently campaigning for a fairer tax on air travel at afreeride.org.
Levy on frequent leisure flyers proposed to make airport expansion unnecessary
June 21, 2015
Plans for a “frequent flyer” tax to curb demand for leisure flights and make a new runway in south-east England unnecessary have been unveiled by an influential group of transport campaigners, environmentalists and tax experts. These include the Campaign for Better Transport, the New Economics Foundation, the Tax Justice Network, Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth among others. In a letter to the Observer – in order to remove the alleged “need” for a new south east runway – they put forward the concept of allowing each person one tax-free flight per year, but increasing the rate of tax for people who fly frequently. The levy would rise with each successive flight. This would mean that instead of APD (£13 per return flight to Europe) there would be a higher rate of tax for frequent fliers. Their analysis shows that 15% of the UK population take 70% of all the flights, while half of us don’t fly at all in any given year. Rather than a new runway being vital for business, the reality is that it would be used for the better off to take more leisure flights (holidays or visiting friends and family). The proposed levy would mean the number of flights would be cut to a level that would make a new runway unnecessary. The authors of the scheme have also shown that this change to the taxation of air travel would also ensure the UK could comply with its obligations under the Climate Change Act.
With a decision by government expected shortly, and the likelihood of a Heathrow runway being approved, 3 Heathrow campaigners went to join in one of the massive (almost) weekly demos at Frankfurt airport. Back in October 2011 a 3rd Frankfurt runway was opened. The local residents had not been informed just how much worse the plane noise they suffer would become, with new routes and alterations to old routes. About a million people in the area are affected. Since then they have held hundreds of protests, almost every Monday evening, against this reduction in their quality of life, the noise intrusion they suffer, and the drop in the prices of their homes. The Frankfurt area residents say they will never give up. The Heathrow campaigners said something very similar would happen to noise, with a 3rd Heathrow runway. Speaking to the crowd of many hundreds of protesters in the terminal, John Stewart said: “What you are showing to the airport authorities and to government is that if they build a runway that people don’t want, people will not go away. We will say that we will protest like the people of Frankfurt have protested for 5 years.” Neil Keveren, a Harmondsworth resident, said: “When the people of Chiswick, Hammersmith, Ealing and Southall realise they are going to be under a flightpath, I am pretty sure they are going to get the same sort of response at home.” . Tweet
Some of the protesters in the airport terminal
The BBC’s Gareth Furbey went out with the three anti-runway protesters from Heathrow, to visit Frankfurt for one of their Monday evening protests.
There have been many hundreds of protests, not quite every Monday (they have a break at Christmas, and at some other times) for 5 years, since the opening of the 3rd runway at Frankfurt in October 2011.
Sometimes several thousand protesters attend the Monday rallies, in the airport terminal. In Germany airport terminals are public property, and the public is at will to enter them. In the UK airport buildings tend to be private.
When the 3rd runway was built, it involved not only new flight paths over new areas but also changes to existing flight paths.
The net effect was for there to be a large number of people newly exposed to plane noise under new, and concentrated, flight paths.
Though the airport had given some information about the new flight paths to some of the local authorities, they had not provided easy to understand information to the public, and there had been no public discussion or consultation.
So when the noise started,people were appalled and up in arms.
They have taken it upon themselves to protest, in huge numbers, for the past 5 years. Different areas or villages take it upon themselves to organised protests, so the task of organisation is shared.
Each Monday people gather at a set time at the terminal, with banners and placards and t-shirts. They listen to speeches, they sing anti runway songs (like “Die landebahn muss weg” – the runway must go), they make a huge amount of noise with drums, whistles etc, and they march round the terminal.
The protesters march round the terminal, banging drums, blowing hooters …
Sir Howard Davies went out one Monday to see what happens, and was impressed by the extent of the organised opposition.
The issue has become very significant in local politics. Further airport expansion is difficult due to the massive opposition.
Three Heathrow campaigners went out to take part in on such Monday protest (others went several years ago to take part in the 100th protest). They were John Stewart, Chair of Hacan; Neil Keveren from Stop Heathrow Expansion, and a builder from Harmondsworth; and Ruth Mayorcas, a resident from Chiswick – which would be directly underneath the arrival flight path from the east for a north-west runway at Heathrow.
The BBC film is not available for more than 24 hours. But on the film, there are clips of the marchers in the terminal, drumming and making loads of noise; comments of residents taking part saying why they do so – they find the noise of the planes unacceptable; one says “We won’t give up.” Another says the noise means “we cannot sleep.”
Speaking to the protest, John Stewart said:
“What you are showing to the airport authorities and to government is that if they build a runway that people don’t want, people will not go away. WE will say that we will protest like the people of Frankfurt have protested for 5 years.”
Neil Keveren said: “When the people of Chiswick, Hammersmith, Ealing and Southall realise they are going to be under a flightpath I am pretty sure they ar going to get the same sort of re spouse at home.”
The BBC film showed clips of a family with two teenage sons, living under a flight path, where the noise is too great to spend much time outdoors in the garden, or to open the windows. One teenager says: “I’d like to open my windows – but I cannot as it is too noisy.”
What some people under the new flight paths at Frankfurt say is that they did not realise how noise it would be until the runway opened.
One of the areas a affected was once one of the most sought after suburbs, and a couple say that the value of their house has fallen by 40% due to the noise. Their home is 10 miles from the runway, and there is a plane overhead about every 90 seconds. He said: “We used to have a paradise here. But now, as Milton said, Paradise is lost.”
Another resident point out a plane flying overhead, and says: “This is what we have about a thousand times per day. This is not a normal way of living.”
Ruth Mayorcas from Chiswick, living also about 10 miles from the runway (if it was built) said she was not worried. Standing in someone’s garden under a flight path – about 10 miles from the Frankfurt runway she said: “I would not be able to listen to the radio or talk to friends. I have lived there so long. I cannot believe this.”
There is some news about Frankfurt airport below:
Residents around Frankfurt hold their 150th huge Monday evening protest against aircraft noise
September 29, 2015
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.
Protesters set up camp in forest due to be cleared for Frankfurt airport 3rd terminal and access road
September 1, 2015
The operator of Frankfurt airport, Fraport, is planning a 3rd terminal, as it claims this is needed for it to remain competitive against other European hub airports. This new terminal would add enough capacity for 14 million more passengers a year when it opens in the first half of 2022. The airport can currently handle 64 million, but Fraport says there will be demand for 68 million to 73 million passengers by 2021. Over 4 days, airport protesters set up a camp in the nearby Treburger Oberwald forest, that is to be cleared in the course of the construction of a third terminal at Frankfurt airport. The peaceful event, “Forest instead of concrete,” organised by the group, Robin Wood, made the point that not only would be increased number of flights increase the carbon emissions of German aviation, but the loss of some 60 hectares of forest for the terminal and access road would also increase CO2. The protesters also hang up a banner in protest outside the concrete and gravel supplier Sehring, which profits from the environmentally damaging construction projects. Before the construction of the new north-west runway, the activists had occupied trees in Kelsterbach Forest for 9 months until their camp was cleared in February 2009 by the police.
Noise demonstration blasts 80 dB recorded plane noise outside home of Frankfurt airport CEO for 2 hours
March 1, 2015
As a protest against the level of aircraft noise that people living near Frankfurt airport are exposed to – especially since the opening of the 4th runway in October 2011 – people have bombarded the home of the airport Chief Executive, Stefan Schulte, with noise. Citizens in a convoy of about 40 cars parked outside his house, in a small town north of Frankfurt,. They set up loudspeakers and ghetto blasters in their cars, and rolled down the car windows in order to blast out noise, at about 80 decibels. That is loudest the police allowed them to use. The noise went on for two hours, with two breaks. The protest was by people living in areas across Rhein-Main who are badly affected by noise from flight paths. The noise they used was of planes, recorded at Niederrad Sachsenhausen, which is an area about 3 km to the north east of the airport. After some time of the noise bombardment, the CEO’s automatic garage door opened, and he set off in his car for work at the airport. One of the protesters commented that they did not understand how Herr Schulte is able to say society must just endure such levels of noise. Asked if the protest had been successful, one protester commented that it had been if the media and more members of the public are aware of the issue.
At Notre-Dame-des-Landes, where a new airport for Nantes is planned, there was a massive mobilisation on Saturday 8th October against it. Somewhere between 15,000 and 40,000 people from many distant parts of France walked to the ZAD (zone à défendre), with sticks to symbolise their determination that this land will not be built on for the airport, which they are sure is not necessary. The sticks rang out on the roads surrounding the planned airport site, as the walkers arrived – and they planted the vast number of staffs in the soil, as an expression that they will be back to defend the site against the forces of the state. The only way the government, and the airport developer, Vinci, can take the site is by force – using huge numbers of riot police. They would have to take back a large area (1650 hectares), and keep it defended against zadistes for a long time. Might they try to take and hold part of the site? This situation is difficult, expensive and risky for the government. There have been violent clashes in the past, over the defence of the ZAD. At another protest site, the Sivens Dam, a protester – Rémi Fraisse – died after being hit by a police flash grenade. It is hoped the police would not use force for the evictions. The airport project got a small vote in its favour in June in a public consultation, though the fairness of that is questioned by objectors. There were delays waiting for legal permissions to destroy water vole habitat and wetlands, but these have now been approved. . Tweet
A Notre-Dame-des-Landes, les opposants entament leur « chant des bâtons »
Par Rémi Barroux (Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique), envoyé spécial)
Plusieurs milliers d’opposants (12 800 manifestants selon la préfecture, plus de 40 000 selon les organisateurs) au projetd’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) étaient rassemblés samedi matin sur la ZAD, pour démontrer que leur détermination restait intacte, en dépit de l’autorisation des travaux et des rumeurs d’évacuation de plus en plus fortes.
Thousands of opponents (12,800 demonstrators according to the prefecture, more than 40,000 according to the organizers) to the project of airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique) gathered Saturday morning on the ZAD, to demonstrate that their determination remained intact, despite the authorization of work and rumours of evacuation increasingly strong.
On roads that intersect the ZAD, the “zone à défendre””, south of the village of Notre-Dame-des-Landes (Loire-Atlantique), dozens of cars, trucks or campers already on Friday night littered the lanes.Les Fosses noires, les Vraies Rouges, les Planchettes… all places of life and resistance of the occupants seemed airport project have already had your fill of militants.
Mais c’est surtout à la ferme de Bellevue, haut lieu de la lutte, que l’on s’activait le plus. C’est là que samedi, des milliers de personnes – les plus optimistes espèrent compter des dizaines de milliers – ont convergé à l’occasion d’une nouvelle manifestation nationale contre le projet d’aéroport de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, à l’invitation des zadistes, des agriculteurs résistants historiques et du collectif d’associations qui anime la lutte.
But it is especially at Bellevue farm, a centre of the struggle, which was most busy. It was there that Saturday, thousands of people – the most optimistic hope to count tens of thousands – converged on the occasion of a new national demonstration against the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes in the invitation of zadistes, historical resistant farmers and the collective of associations that drives the fight.
The “song sticks”
By naming this initiative “singing sticks” – walking stick, shepherd stick or self-defense – that every participant is invited to bring and leave there to serve the day the police would enter the area the zadistes displayed their willingness to defend the tens of living places where many of them have developed agricultural projects.
For weeks, rumors of intervention run on the ZAD and activists from the France full already preventively joined the grove. Among the new support, the CGT of the Vinci Group – the company that was awarded the construction and management of the future airport – took position against the transfer of Nantes Atlantique, the current airport platform. It calls Vinci of employees to refuse to work on any site linked to the project, and to invoke the right of withdrawal because the work should be done , obviously, under the protection of police.
Protesters plant wooden staffs
During a demonstration project against a controversial airport near Nantes on October 8, 2016 in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, western France. Protesters-have-been engaged in a 15-year legal battle to block the building of a major new airport on swampland outside the western city of Nantes. Approved in 2008, the project HAD been due to start in 2014 Repeatedly that has-been delayed due to fierce opposition by environmental protesters. / A
However, even if the Prime Minister, Manuel Valls , announced repeatedly that work would start in October or in the Autumn, nothing seems to indicating a start. Almost nothing now opposes the site – except a dispute with the Europe on compliance with environmental regulations and appeals. Project proponents can also claim a victory in the consultation which was held on June 26, the “yes” at transfer having won 55.17% of votes.
But the mobilization on Saturday, which was decided upon over the weekend national rally in Notre-Dame-des-Landes, held on July 9 and 10, is not intended as a response to the electoral defeat of the public consultation.
The lost ballot was then deemed biased, illegitimate. “This gathering is not a response to the June vote, but in Valls: you want to come clean the ZAD, well, we’ll be there! ”
As evidenced in the regional daily Ouest-France, on the eve of the event, Julien Durand, a leading figure of the fight, and host of inter-citizen Association of populations affected by the airport project (ACIPA).
Several evacuation scenarios
On the side of the prefecture of Loire-Atlantique, it is said to be ready for action. Several scenarios were worked, “finely enough” , says one in the entourage of the prefect. Some of them seem to have already been rejected by the Minister of the Interior, as the strategy of encircling the area of 1650 hectares which is to be built the future airport and the simultaneous evacuation of several hundreds of zadistes, determined to defend.
The scenario of a partial conquest of the area, it would then secure despite the presence of thousands of opponents around, do not seem unanimous. In all scenarios, law enforcement officials know it will take thousands of personnel, gendarmes and CRS. And that once the conquered land, and the construction started, it will keep the scene for many weeks or months.
And today, this reconquest of ZAD just seems impossible. The interior ministry ensures that there is no date set for the evacuation of the site. “The priority is to dismantle Calais ” , do we argued place Beauvau. “It does not leave the room for further substantial manipulation ” , confirms a source in the gendarmerie.
In addition, clashes between protesters and police during an attempted escape from ZAD against a dam project in Sivens (Tarn) that resulted in the death of a militant, Rémi Fraisse, killed by a grenade attack launched by a policeman on 26 October 2014, still in everyone’s mind. And the government is in no hurry to open a front it knows is risky, with just eight months of the presidential election.
Opponents can thus show their Saturday force. To the chagrin of supporters of the project, Bruno Retailleau, President ( The Republicans ) region in the lead, which urges the government to move to action. The association Wings to the West, spearheaded the pro-airport launched a new poster campaign: “We voted, zadistes out! ”
. The prefect of Loire-Atlantique yesterday signed two decrees on the destruction of the water vole, a small rodent present on the airport project site of Notre-Dame-des-Landes , allowing the start of work, the prefecture announced today.
These two orders derogating for the destruction of this protected species to make the new airport, the future “Grand Ouest Airport” and its road access, the last two were essential for the State to engage work after the publication in December 2013, four decrees relating to the law on water and biodiversity.
“These orders are part of the continuity of authorisations already granted for the implementation of the proposed transfer of the airport of the great west of Nantes in Notre-Dame-des-Landes”, declared of public utility in 2008, said the prefecture in a statement.
Opponents of the proposed new Nantes airport, who have repeatedly stated they would attack these decrees upon publication, have two months to file an appeal before the administrative court of Nantes.
The water vole is a rodent living along the rivers and in wetlands. It is on the national list of land mammals protected since 15 September 2012, reminded the prefecture in a statement. The airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes should be initially opened in 2017, about twenty kilometers north of Nantes.
The uncertainty about the evacuation of the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes suspension
By Raphaël Proust September 29, 2016
The government had raised the month of October after the victory of “yes” to the local consultation, but many obstacles remain
The ZAD (zone defense) of Notre-Dame-des-Landes.
The president of the region Pays de la Loire, Bruno Retailleau (LR), spoke onThursday about “ongoing preparations” for the evacuation of the ZAD of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, a prelude to the start of construction work for the airport. Two weeks ago, the prefect of the Loire-Atlantique signed a decree authorizing the evacuation of water voles, a protected species whose presence was an obstacle to the start of construction.
Will the work on the future airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes ever start?
With the favourable results of local consultation in June with the inhabitants of Loire-Atlantique, nothing seemed to oppose the evacuation of opponents of the project who have occupied the site for years, and which they have renamed “zone à défendre” (ZAD). October was even mentioned, but autumn is coming soon and nothing moves on the site of the Nantes grove.
For despite the government policy victory, which can now rely on the legitimacy of the public consultation vote, the obstacles still abound.
First, because the opponents are more determined than ever. After accepting, some reluctantly, to campaign for a ‘no’, they then say the process of the consultation, an how it was carried out, was “illegitimate” in their eyes.
Above all, “the mobilization is maximum” around Notre-Dame-des-Landes, explains Julien Bayou, spokesperson of Europe Ecology-Greens (EELV). “The preparation for the occupation of the site by the police does not go unnoticed on the ground because the zadistes monitor site equipment rentals, bookings of hotel rooms or even the closure of schools in neighboring towns, “he said.
Faced with opposition determined not to leave the field open to the gendarmes, only a major deployment of police seems to be able to overcome the resistance. This poses a political problem for the government.
Calais first. “It is difficult to explain the flaw in how thousands of gendarmes to take Notre-Dame-des-Landes in a full state of emergency when they are called on other missions and that ? their forces are streched, “says Julien Bayou. The immediate priority of the Ministry of Interior is rather to be sought in Calais, where Francois Hollande on Monday pledged the total dismantling of the “jungle”.
In favour of the airport project, the president of Republicans Pays de la Loire, Bruno Retailleau, has also given, on Thursday at France Bleu Loire Océan, hope “that the evacuation of Notre Dame des Landes will be a result” following that of that of Calais camp “by the end of the year.” There was also talk on Thursday with Manuel Valls about it, outside the convention areas.
Another obstacle: the multiple legal remedies have created over time an incredible imbroglio around the airport project. “The legal course of this project is exemplary and the 150 appeals filed by opponents were all rejected,” says the pro-airport association “Wings for the West” in a statement. These people “can be removed and they are quite aware of this reality,” she says. But the occupants sure they have not received eviction notices while opponents cling to European law.
The European Commission has indeed initiated infringement proceedings against France concerning the conditions for environmental assessment of the project. Litigation that would not prevent the evacuation of the ZAD, or the start of work by the government. Except France Ouest reported on Wednesday that the Commission’s Legal Service considered that “the work of building the airport project of Notre-Dame-des-Landes should remain suspended to ensure compliance with procedures agreed to become compliance “with EU law …
In solidarity with the two protests organised by Reclaim the Power at Heathrow on the same day – the Critical Mass cycle ride and the flashmob “die-in” in Terminal 2, there was another colourful and creative protest at Gatwick. On cue from a tartan clad bagpipe player, people spread out a picnic in the arrivals area of the South terminal with leaflets and speech bubbles explaining why they were there. The 25 or so protestors were there for about an hour and a half, handing out leaflets explaining that there is no need for new runway either at Heathrow or at Gatwick, though Gatwick has been putting its (weak) case for a 2nd runway as hard as money and PR spin will permit. The protest picnic – in common with the Heathrow protest – stressed that the majority of flights at UK airports are taken by a small minority. In any one year, around 70% of the flights are taken by around 15% of the population. These frequent fliers, taking increasing numbers of low cost leisure flights are driving the demand for another runway. A declining number of flights, already less than a quarter, are for business purposes. At a time when we urgently need to curb our CO2 emissions to mitigate the effects of climate change, increasing these extra CO2 emissions by increasing the amount we British fly will only contribute to climate injustice, and lead to many thousands of deaths worldwide. . Tweet
Photos (by Rob Basto) of the #staygrounded Gatwick protest
Elegant picnic, even with vase of flowers and proper crockery
The Gatwick picnic – and not forgetting the struggle at Nantes, in western France, where a new airport is planned (and fiercely opposed) at Notre-Dame-des-Landes. Aeroport – NON !
More bake-offs and Fewer take-offs
Frequent Fliers? Climate Deniers! and More Trains – Fewer Planes
Group photo before the picnic
Wartime memories? “Is Your Journey Really Necessary?”
The protesters, from a range of groups in the South East and the Gatwick area, in conjunction with Reclaim the Power said:
On cue from a tartan clad bagpipe player, people spread out a picnic in the arrivals area of the South terminal with leaflets and speech bubbles explaining why they were there. The 25 or so protestors were there for about an hour and a half, handing out leaflets explaining that there is no need for airport expansion.
The majority of flights (70%) are taken by a small minority of frequent fliers. A declining number of flights, already less than a quarter, are for business purposes. We also urgently need to curb our emissions of carbon dioxide in order to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is already responsible for many thousands of deaths worldwide.
The protest is to bring this to the attention of the airport operators who are lobbying for expansion, to the government which is due to make a decision on an additional London runway, and to the public to remind them of the urgent need for decisive action on climate change.
Police and airport security looked on but did not interfere with the protest.
The protest was in solidarity with the simultaneous and much larger action at Heathrow by Reclaim the Power.
It was also in solidarity with struggles in other countries to prevent airport expansion, and coincided with a protest against a proposed airport in France.
If you use any could you credit them to Rob Basto.
Reclaim the Power #staygrounded die-in flashmob at Heathrow against runway, and Critical Mass cycle ride
October 1, 2016
Two spectacular “Stay Grounded” protests took place at Heathrow, against a possible third runway. Both were organised by Reclaim the Power, which is a grassroots organisation taking action with local communities on environmental, economic and social justice issues. The protests at Heathrow were against aviation expansion, partly due to its carbon emissions and also local air pollution, and to highlight the social injustice of climate change impacts around the world. Hundreds of activists staged a “die-in” flashmob in Heathrow’s Terminal 2, and there was a Critical Mass bike ride of about 150 risers wearing red, which circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre and Longford village, and briefly obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road. The “die-in” involved over 100 people, many of whom wore masks to symbolise the pollution from aviation. Testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read out, including from Pacific islands that are suffering from sea level rise. Street theatre at the protest showed high income frequent fliers, checking in and drinking champagne (being critical of the “irresponsible” environmental protesters ….) There was also a flashmob action at Gatwick, and others as part of a global wave of actions opposing airport expansion (including Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey), timed to coincide with the major ICAO conference aiming to address the emissions impact of aviation.
Two spectacular “Stay Grounded” protests took place at Heathrow, against a possible third runway. Both were organised by Reclaim the Power, which is a grassroots organisation taking action with local communities on environmental, economic and social justice issues. The protests at Heathrow were against aviation expansion, partly due to its carbon emissions and also local air pollution, and to highlight the social injustice of climate change impacts around the world. Hundreds of activists staged a “die-in” flashmob in Heathrow’s Terminal 2, and there was a Critical Mass bike ride of about 150 risers wearing red, which circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre and Longford village, and briefly obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road. The “die-in” involved over 100 people, many of whom wore masks to symbolise the pollution from aviation. Testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read out, including from Pacific islands that are suffering from sea level rise. Street theatre at the protest showed high income frequent fliers, checking in and drinking champagne (being critical of the “irresponsible” environmental protesters ….) There was also a flashmob action at Gatwick, and others as part of a global wave of actions opposing airport expansion (including Austria, France, Mexico, Turkey), timed to coincide with the major ICAO conference aiming to address the emissions impact of aviation. . Tweet
Hundreds at Heathrow ‘die-in’ protest against airport expansion
1.10.2016 (Reclaim the Power press release)
Hundreds of activists stage ‘die-in’ and disruptive ‘critical mass’ bike ride at Heathrow to protest aviation expansion and highlight injustice of climate change impacts.
This afternoon, over 100 people took part in a ‘die-in’ flashmob inside Heathrow terminal 2. Protesters wearing gas masks lay on the floor, as testimonies from communities already affected by climate change were read .
The protesters also set up a ‘Frequent-fliers-high-polluters club’ stand with champagne in the airport: RECLAIM THE POWER The ‘VIP check in’
One of the “frequent fliers” stepping over the “dead” to get to the check-in and his champagne. The actors were so realistic, in their loud and disparaging comments about the protesters, and their dismissal of their climate claims, that allegedly, some of the staff presumed they were real passengers, and agreed with them ….
Simultaneously, a ‘critical mass’ bike ride with 150 riders wearing red  circled the area, visiting Harmondsworth Detention Centre to highlight the link between climate impacts and migration, and obstructing traffic by circling the main roundabout on Bath Road and dropping banners.
A ‘flash-mob’ picnic protest also happened at Gatwick this morning.
The decision on airport expansion is expected on the 11th or 18th October; with recent reports suggesting there is parliamentary support for Heathrow.
The Critical Mass cycle ride sets off
Maya Adams, a spokesperson for Reclaim the Power, said:
‘Expanding airports is completely irresponsible and will bring us out of reach of our own targets to stop climate change. This problem isn’t be caused by business or normal families taking a holiday, but a wealthy elite ‘binge flying’, often to second homes. Yet it’s poorer countries that are the hardest hit by climate change, even though they have done the least to cause the problem. Expanding Heathrow is incompatible with creating a fairer and more equal world.When governments fail us, when international UN bodies that are meant to be dealing with these problems fail us, it’s time for normal people to take a stand.People power has defeated this runway before, and it’ll defeat it again. The Tory election pledge in 2010 was ‘no ifs, no buts, no third runway’, and we intend to hold them to that.We can build new runways, or we can honour our legally binding climate commitments. We can’t do both.’
James Gibson, a spokesperson for Reclaim the Power outside Harmondsworth Detention Centre said:
‘Increasing droughts, floods and natural disasters caused by climate change destroy homes and livelihoods forcing people to migrate – the very same people that the UK government is targeting with racist anti-migrant policies and draconian detention centres.Instead of demonising and scapegoating migrants and refugees, the UK government should be cracking down on the big polluters, like airports, who are forcing people to move in the first place.’
Maggie Thorburn, a local resident, said:
“Heathrow expansion plans put forward to increase flights will bring more traffic and hence more pollution. We are fighting to convince Theresa May to remain opposed to Heathrow expansion, which she has been since 2008. I will press on campaigning for the climate and no new runways anywhere.”
This growth is incompatible with UK climate targets as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.
The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), assembled right now in Montreal, has not proposed any plans so far to limit or reduce the CO2 emissions from aviation.
Globally, flying benefits a privileged few – only 3-7% of people have flown – and even in the UK a 15% minority of the population take 70% of flights. In contrast, the damaging impacts of aviation are experienced by everyone – climate change will affect the entire world population but is hitting some of the poorest, most vulnerable areas (where people do not fly) first and worst.
The aviation industry enjoys a number of tax breaks: most substantially there is no duty on aircraft fuel or VAT on tickets, a ‘major anomaly’ according to the World Bank and IMF. This money could be invested in sustainable transport, in improving rail connections around the UK and internationally.
A large proportion of Heathrow flights are short haul, these routes could be better, and more sustainably, serviced by improved rail infrastructure. Past experience shows this: since the Eurostar has been running the number of flights from London to Paris and Brussels has fallen dramatically (by nearly half and a third, respectively).
In July 2015 the Davies Report recommended building a third runway at Heathrow airport.
In July 2016 London City airport was given the go-ahead for expansion to accommodate larger aircraft and more traffic.
The decision on a new runway at a London airport is expected in October; Theresa May announced 29/09 that there was cabinet support for Heathrow.
The UN body for the aviation industry is meeting between 26th Sept – 7th Oct for the World Aviation Forum, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly. They will be pushing for Carbon Offsets to be used as a market mechanism to make aviation ‘sustainable’.
Heathrow Airport ‘Mass Die-In’ Protests Against Climate Impact Of Expansion Plans
‘Hundreds’ also rode in the campaign’s ‘cycling blockade’.
01/10/2016 (Huffington Post) By Louise Ridley – Assistant news editor
Hundreds of people have ‘dropped dead’ at London’s Heathrow airport in a series of mass demonstrations against climate change and airport expansion.
The protest on Saturday afternoon saw a mass bicycle ‘blockade’ as well as hundreds of activists wearing gas masks lying in a terminal to protest against airport expansion.
The campaigners from the global group Reclaim The Power covered the floor of a section of the terminal, wearing masks “to highlight the climate and pollution impacts of aviation”.
The ‘Stay Grounded’ action is calling for no new runways or expansion of aviation capacity anywhere in the UK, and for the industry to be bound by climate change regulations.
Reclaim the Power is calling for a tax on frequent flyers to fund greater investment in ‘climate-friendly’ transport.
Some spoke to passengers about the effects of climate change and air travel, while a simultaneous ‘critical mass’ bike ride took place around the airport.
The group is sharing its protest using the hashtags #StayGrounded and #StopAviationExpansion, ahead of the Government’s decision on growing London’s airport capacity this month. Reclaim the Power said ‘hundreds’ of riders took part in a ride wearing jumpsuits outside the airport to raise awareness of their cause.
The bike ride includes a stop at the nearby Harmondsworth Detention Centre “to highlight the impact of climate change and forced migration,” the demonstrators said.
It told HuffPost UK it would also make use of the ‘red lines’ motif used in other demonstrations to signal that “a livable climate is a red line we’re prepared to defend.”
The action is part of a series of anti-aviation demonstration around the world during the UN’s ICAO conference looking at the emissions impact of air travel.
On Friday morning Theresa May announced that she has enough cabinet support to press ahead with expanding Heathrow airport.
Protesters hold ‘die-in’ at Heathrow against airport expansion
LONDON (Reuters) – More than a hundred people demonstrated at London’s Heathrow Airport on Saturday, including dozens who took part in a “die-in” at one terminal, just weeks before Prime Minister Theresa May’s government is due to decide where to build a new runway.
After a decade of reviews and U-turns, the government is expected to rule in mid-October on whether to build a third runway at Heathrow, Europe’s busiest airport, or at its smaller London rival Gatwick. Expansion plans have been opposed by residents and some lawmakers at both locations.
Protesters lay on the floor of Heathrow’s Terminal 2, with many wearing white masks in a so-called die-in to highlight the impact of air travel on climate change and pollution levels.
One woman wearing a mask lay next to a banner which read: “Stay Grounded. No New Runways.” Others took part in a cycle ride nearby, wearing red T-shirts with the message: “No 3rd runway”, according to images posted on Twitter.
A Heathrow spokeswoman said the airport continued to operate as normal during the demonstration.
Heathrow has said it will comply with an extended ban on night flights and meet European air quality rules if the project gets the green light.
It has also said it will meet 11 conditions set out by Britain’s Airports Commission, including a requirement on air quality which states that new flights will only be permitted if air quality does not breach EU limits.
(Reporting by Costas Pitas and Neil Hall; editing by David Clarke)
A Heathrow spokesman said: “This is a very small minority of people protesting about aviation in general and attempting to disrupt ordinary people as they go about their day-to-day lives. Heathrow expansion is not a choice between delivering for the economy and protecting the environment – we can do both.
“Independent analysis by the Airports Commission has found that building and operating an additional runway at Heathrow is compatible with the UK meeting its long-term climate change reduction targets.”
After the massive mobilisations against the planned new airport at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, of January 9th and February 27th, the French government organised a biased consultation in June. That gave a small majority in favour of the airport scheme. Opponents of the airport believe the consultation did not give a fair result, due to the choice of its geographical cover. The government plans to start work on the airport in October, though those fighting the plans say there are still some legal details that are not yet complete. There is fear that the state will send in the gendarmes, and use force to clear the ZAD – the zone à defendre – which is where building needs to start. The ZAD has been occupied for years by those trying to block the scheme, and they have now built a large shed there, which they see as a demonstration of their determination not to be moved, and a base for the future. On 8th October there will be a huge protest against the ZAD being cleared by force. People who oppose the airport plan, from all over France, will converge. All are asked to walk, bringing walking sticks. There will be the same echo of the walking sticks on the ground, as at Larzac decades ago, as the people march. People will leave their sticks in the ZAD committing themselves together to come back for them, in the event of intervention by the authorities – to defend the farmers and their future of the land and the life on it. . Tweet
October 8th, 2016 – Notre-Dame-des-Landes –
The sound of our thousands of sticks will resonate!
Demo – Construction – Feast
Driven by the massive mobilizations of January 9 and February 27, the government organized a biased consultation in June.
Believing firmly in the results of this masquerade consultation, the backers of the airport and the Prime Minister have confirmed their intention to proceed this autumn with the evacuation and destruction of the ZAD [ zone a defendre ] of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, its cultures, its fauna and flora, its habitats and activities and links between all those who are attached to this grove. These statements ignore the legal position of the case, since among other things, the work permits are still not granted.
Holders of the project seem to have not measured the determination of those who inhabit this grove of engaged militants at the side, the support the movement enjoys in the region and beyond, and the involvement of local committees.
These 2,000 hectares of farmland and those who live there today are bearers of ineradicable hope against the destruction of living, agricultural land and the commodification of the world. It is unthinkable that they will disappear!
At the initiative of the whole opposition movement for the airport project, we will mark October 8th as our common desire to prevent any aggression against the ZAD and any start of the works. Echoing many other peasant struggles such as the Larzac,[ a massive campaign against a military base in France, that lasted from about 1970 – 1981 ] the ground will ring with the sounds of thousands of our walking sticks. [ At Larzac, the rythmic sound of the walking sticks, tapping the ground as protesters walked, became a symbol of the protest, being emulated here ]. We shall leave our walking sticks there, committing ourselves together to come and take them back, in case of intervention, and to defend the ZAD, its habitants, peasant farmers and the future that it built.
We have also put up together a shed whose components were manufactured during the summer on the ZAD by tens of carpenters. This collective work is a manifestation of our will to organize for resistance by creating a place that will be a base of support in case of an eviction attempt, as much as a common structure for the future.
Converge towards Notre-Dame-des-Landes October 8, 2016,
Meeting at 10 am in the countryside, walking, tractor or bicycle. Let each bring a walking stick, carved, decorated and put it in the wheels of the project. All and all together, are preventing the airport!
The original French:
Acculé par les mobilisations massives des 9 janvier et 27 février, le gouvernement a organisé en juin une consultation biaisée. Se croyant forts du résultat de cette mascarade, les pro-aéroport et le premier ministre ont confirmé leur intention de procéder cet automne à l’évacuation et à la destruction de la ZAD de Notre-Dame-des-Landes, de ses cultures, de sa faune et de sa flore, de ses habitats et activités ainsi que des liens entre toutes celles et ceux qui se sont attaché.es à ce bocage. Ces déclarations font fi de la situation juridique du dossier puisqu’entre autres les autorisations de travaux ne sont toujours pas accordées.
Les porteurs du projet ne semblent pas avoir non plus mesuré la détermination de celles et ceux qui habitent ce bocage, des militant.es engagé.es à leurs côtés, le soutien dont ce mouvement bénéficie dans la région et bien au-delà, ainsi que l’implication des comités locaux. Ces 2000 ha de bocage et ce qui s’y vit sont aujourd’hui porteurs d’espoirs indéracinables face au saccage du vivant, des terres agricoles et à la marchandisation du monde. Il est impensable qu’ils disparaissent !
A l’initiative de l’ensemble du mouvement d’opposition au projet d’aéroport, nous marquerons donc le 8 octobre notre volonté commune d’empêcher toute agression contre la ZAD et tout démarrage des travaux. En écho à bien d’autres luttes paysannes, comme au Larzac, nous ferons résonner le sol de milliers de bâtons. Nous les laisserons sur place, en nous engageant ensemble à venir les reprendre, en cas d’intervention, et à défendre la ZAD, ses habitant.es, paysan.nes et l’avenir qui s’y construit.
Nous monterons également ensemble un hangar dont les éléments ont été fabriqués durant l’été sur la ZAD par des dizaines de charpentier.es. Cette oeuvre collective concrétisera notre volonté de nous organiser pour la résistance en créant un lieu qui sera une base d’appui en cas de tentative d’expulsion, autant qu’une structure commune pour le futur.
Convergeons vers Notre-Dame-des-Landes le 8 octobre 2016, Rendez-vous à 10h dans le bocage, à pied, en tracteur ou à vélo. Que chacun-e apporte son bâton, sculpté, décoré et le mette dans les roues du projet. Tous et toutes ensemble, empêchons l’aéroport !
Plus d’infos sur les sites acipa-ndl.fr et zad.nadir.org Nous appelons les soutiens et comités de partout à s’organiser dès aujourd’hui pour le succès de cette mobilisation, en rediffusant cette information et en se coordonnant pour faciliter des moyens de transports collectifs.
Press Release CEDPA – ACIPA – Monday, September 12, 2016
After biased consultation deliberately limited to the department of Loire-Atlantique in June, the ACIPA and CEDPA [two organisations fighting the new airport] are determined to obtain the cancellation of the declaration of public utility of 9 February 2008, which is the founding act for the work of building a new airport. They want it go back to the Council of State again.
Based on the findings of CGEDD, which recognizes the feasibility of optimizing Nantes-Atlantique (the existing airport that the new one at Notre Dame des Landes would replace) and the over-sizing of the proposed Notre-Dame-des-Landes, our two associations want to give this report the scope that Ségolène ROYAL undertook to confer upon its release last March. We also wish to highlight the incompatibility of the airport project with the legislative and the latest developments in case law.
In parallel, we remain vigilant on the infringement proceedings brought by the European Union, the French state is trying to regulate the rapid adoption of Scot Nantes-Saint-Nazaire, [Le Schéma de cohérence territoriale (SCoT) de la métropole Nantes Saint-Nazaire] including the public inquiry is organized from 19 September. The numerous reservations made by the Environmental Authority in its opinion of 20 July yet involve the commitment of additional studies, justifying a delay in the adoption of Scot. But it is an opinion that those pro-airport obviously want to happen …
Finally, we recall that the use “water law” and “protected species” are still in evidence by the Court of Appeal in Nantes.
Despite the stubbornness of the state and AGO, vigilance and determination of opponents remain intact in this autumn.