(A protester near Heathrow this morning. Photo: Rising Up UK / Facebook)
Following the news of a proposed third runway at Heathrow, climate change protesters have blockaded a motorway tunnel near the airport. The campaign group, Rising Up, streamed part of the protest on Facebook live. Three cars were being used to block the tunnel leading to the airport, but police arrived at around 8:30AM, removed two cars and arrested the drivers. One car still remains and reportedly has three protesters chained to it, but police are attempting to remove it.
The protest follows a flash mob staged at the airport over the weekend. Activist Simon Bramwell, who was involved in the protest, described the consultation process for the proposal as "illegitimate and undemocratic", and said, "This blockade is our contribution to the consultation: a third runway is a disastrous option that will lead to climate chaos." He added: "I am breaking conditions imposed on me by the courts, following road blockades in November, but the government is not listening to the science or to our concerns. They have left us with no alternative but to keep taking action. We will not stop until plans to build another runway are fully and finally shut down."
Travellers around the airport have described the "traffic chaos" and "gridlock" as a result of the protest, and there is a contraflow in place in the outbound tunnel. A spokesperson for Heathrow has advised against using the M4 spur if possible, and said, "Heathrow Airport can confirm that a protest activity is on-going in the inbound tunnel to Terminals 2 and 3," adding, "Heathrow supports the right to peaceful protest within the law, but the safety and security of our passengers, aircraft and colleagues together with the smooth running of the operation is paramount."
This is just one of many measures and strategies that Rising Up have planned in protest against the disruption and environmental impact that a third runway would cause, and they will be holding a workshop on the 2nd of March for people who want to "hear about some of the new, creative ideas for taking action from residents affected by noise and air pollution, and the Heathrow villagers themselves, whose homes and communities will be destroyed by a third runway". They said, "This workshop is connected with a wider strategy of escalation for mass mobilisation of civil disobedience with an intentional and explicit culture: non-violence, mass trainings of individuals and decentralised decision-making structures."