Climate activists to disrupt services at Heathrow Airport with drones

30 August 2019 (Last Updated August 30th, 2019 11:53)

Environmental activists are planning to disrupt services at London's Heathrow Airport to protest against the government’s decision to construct third runway at the airport.

Climate activists to disrupt services at Heathrow Airport with drones
An aerial view of Terminal 3 at London Heathrow Airport. Credit: Panhard.

Environmental activists are planning to disrupt services at London’s Heathrow Airport to protest against the government’s decision to construct a third runway at the airport.

The activists plan to halt operations at the busiest UK airport by flying toy drones on 13 September.

Heathrow Pause group told Reuters that its members will fly drones within the 5km restricted zone, outside flight paths, to compel the authority to ground all scheduled flights.

The move is aimed at placing further pressure on the government to re-assess its previously approved airport expansion project.

Last year, the government approved the construction of Heathrow’s third runway to support increasing passenger growth at the airport. The plan was subsequently passed by the House of Commons.

Several activist groups believe that the expansion will have severe environmental impact and disturb several local communities.

Heathrow Pause said: “The government’s inaction on climate change and the looming catastrophe of airport expansion gives us no choice and compels us to act.”

The airport authority condemned the plan to fly drones, calling it illegal. It added that adequate steps will be taken to stop such attempts at service disruption.

A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We agree with the need to act on climate change. This is a global issue that requires constructive engagement and action. Committing criminal offences and disrupting passengers is counterproductive.”

In the last year, several flight operations were affected by drone sightings in the UK.

Last December, a drone incident at Gatwick airport forced the authority to cancel hundreds of flights, affecting around 140,000 passengers.

Earlier this year, Heathrow and Gatwick ordered military-grade anti-drone equipment to tackle such threats.