Eco Extremists Plan to Shut Down Heathrow Airport for Two Weeks with Drones

LONDON, ENGLAND - April 17: Environmental campaigners dance as a DJ plays music in the centre of Oxford Circus on April 17, 2019 in London, England. Now in the third day of action, the environmental campaign group has blocked a number of key junctions in central London, in a bid …
Leon Neal/Getty

Eco extremists Extinction Rebellion are planning two weeks of raids on the skies around London Heathrow, to ground flights for up to 16 days in the autumn.

The plans were circulated around members of the activist group and reported by HuffPost, with Extinction Rebellion confirming that the documents were real.

Extinction Rebellion had threatened to shut down Europe’s busiest airport on Good Friday through protests on the ground after bringing the streets of London to a standstill days earlier, but failed to do so, with many young activists crying bitterly as a result.

However, in July it was revealed that the eco-extremists were going to take disruptions up a notch — after having glued themselves to vehicles, trains, and buildings in the capital already — by launching drones into Heathrow’s airspace, only postponing the plans after criticism from police and politicians of the dangers to life such action posed.

In new plans revealed by the news website, “toy” drones weighing less than 7kg would be flown no higher than six feet off the ground in areas around a three-mile (five km) no-drone zone to ensure “non-violent action”.

Drone pilots would end their “shift” by calling the police in order to get themselves arrested, according to the plans.

“There is the opportunity to transform the humble drone into a David which allows us to stop the Goliath of Heathrow and the global aviation industry from destroying us,” the activists’ document read, adding that its aim is to “have 415 people who are arrestable on the action (i.e. the current level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere 415 parts per million) and continue day after day on an ongoing basis”.

The protestors plan to give authorities two months’ notice, and it is expected that disruption for 16 days could harm 3.5 million travellers.

A spokesman for Heathrow airport said: “The act of flying drones within 5km of an airfield is illegal because it carries risk. We will be working closely with the Met Police and other authorities to manage and mitigate the impacts if this activity goes ahead.”

Extinction Rebellion has notable celebrity backing, from former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to British actress Emma Thompson, who flew thousands of miles from her home in Los Angeles, California, in April to protest climate change and urge governments to back legislation that would drastically cut carbon emissions from personal vehicles, industry, agriculture, and airplanes.

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