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Rich don’t care about climate change’ blast airport protestors

PUBLISHED: 10:06 23 August 2007 | UPDATED: 11:25 01 July 2010

BARRICADE: Chains are cut off a determined protestor

BARRICADE: Chains are cut off a determined protestor

TEN climate change protestors arrested at Biggin Hill airport after they chained themselves to the gate have been cleared. Around 30 police from the Met s specialist unit set up to deal with the Heathrow protestors descended on the Biggin group on Thurs

TEN climate change protestors arrested at Biggin Hill airport after they chained themselves to the gate have been cleared.

Around 30 police from the Met's specialist unit set up to deal with the Heathrow protestors descended on the Biggin group on Thursday, August 16 just before 7am.

The group had managed to close the gate of the airport and locked the door by chaining themselves to the railings.

Two of the protestors chained themselves by placing a bicycle D-lock around their necks and one was chained around the waist to the gate.

Four of the others had chained themselves together and were lying on the floor.

Police also arrested three others who were not chained to anything at all but were under suspicion of aggravated trespass.

Protective clothing was placed around the protestors before they were cut away from the gate. Seven of the ten appeared at Bromley Magistrates Court last Friday, but were given an absolute discharge after pleading guilty to aggravated trespass.

Three of the ten that were arrested did not appear in court after the prosecution was thrown out on grounds of insufficient evidence.

The majority of the 30 police who attended the protest were from Operation Hargood, the specialist police response to the Heathrow protests.

Bromley police Chief Inspector Ian Gallehawk explained that the overwhelming police response was intending to create a "sterile environment".

He said: "We didn't know if they were going to be peaceful, if they were going to be violent, if there was going to be anyone around the corner."

In a statement, Biggin Hill chief Peter Lonergan said that there no disruptions to flights as a result of the protests.

He added: "Aviation contributes about three per cent of carbon emissions and business aviation is a small percentage of aviation movements and its carbon emission is less than half a per cent.

"If protesters are serious about reducing carbon emissions they should focus on the major contributors such as fossil fuel power stations."

One of the coordinators of the Biggin Hill action, James Reynolds said: "Private jets are the most inefficient form of aviation, and flying itself is unsustainable.

"We went to Biggin Hill because the rich were sticking their fingers up at everyone else who is trying to cut emissions."

A protest outside the airport on Tuesday evening by Bromley Friends of the Earth was postponed because the Camp for Climate Action activities had made a "sufficient impact", a spokesman said.

martin.croucher@archant.co.uk

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