Last week, BAA failed to get a full injunction against 15 groups planning a protest camp near Heathrow campaign against proposed plans to increase airport traffic as well as building a third runway. They were only awarded partial containment rights on one action group, Plane Stupid, and were told to pay the costs of the other groups involved.
The protestors are claiming the law courts decision a major victory due to the extra publicity given to their
protest and are now expecting 1500 people to support the Climate Camp at its location near Staines.
Who are the people behind the protests?
Plane Stupid www.planestupid.com
Plane Stupid is a coalition of airport residents and environmentalists who use direct action against companies involved with airport expansion and aviation. Plane Stupid has been ordered not to enter Heathrow Airport and selected areas in its vicinity during the month of August. They call for airport expansion plans to be scrapped, an aviation fuel tax and an end to short haul flights.
Climate Camp www.climatecamp.org.uk
Climate Camp act as a rally point for groups seeking to increase awareness of environmental concerns. In 2006 the Climate Camp pitched in Yorkshire and was used as a base to protest against the UK's largest coal powered power station. Climate Camp chose Heathrow as a target for their protests in 2007 due to air travel's increased contribution to global warming and the planned Heathrow runway expansion.
Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise http://www.hacan.org.uk
An independent lobbying group which campaigns for quائeter, cleaner and safer conditions for residents living under Heathrow's flight paths.
Airport Watch www.airportwatch.org.uk
A movement which unites several national environmental organizations and airport community groups opposed to the Governments Aviation White Paper 2003, that called for expansion of the UK's air travel potential.
No Third Runway Action Group www.notrag.org
NoTRAG is a residents' organization in the London Borough of Hillingdon, which is opposed to the building of the third Heathrow Airport runway. They oppose the runway as its construction will destroy the village of Sipson, as well as part of Harmondsworth and Harlington. They estimate 700 homes at least will be destroyed in the runways path.
Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer is supporting the right for Plane Stupid to protest, if not directly the protest itself.
Why are these groups campaigning?
Air travel is a growth industry in the UK; aviation now accounts for 1.2% of national GDP. One third of UK exports now go by air, doubling since 1990. UK residents make around 60 million visits overseas each year, compared to just 13 million in 1978.
It is estimated that half the population of the UK now flies at least once a year, and these trends are set to continue as the number of cheap flights available increments via the internet.
The reasons for concern are demonstrated by less inspiring statistics: air-travel is expected to contribute 17% of UK greenhouse gases this year. If current trends are to continue that figure could be 50% …