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Protest Shuts Down Flights at Stansted Airport

December 8, 2008 By: Jena Tesse Fox


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The Guardian reports that police at England’s Stansted Airport arrested 57 people this morning after activists protesting climate change broke into a secure area and shut down flights.

The protest group Plane Stupid said the action began at 3:15 a.m. when its campaigners occupied a section of tarmac that had been closed for maintenance work.

Flights resumed shortly after 8 a.m. but the protest caused the cancellation of dozens of flights. Scores of passengers left Stansted either to return home or to find hotels after being told their flights were canceled.

Stansted said that 56 Ryanair flights in and out of the airport had been canceled. An airport announcement told passengers there was "limited availability" on all Ryanair flights for the next three days. Passengers were advised to go home and re-book.

Plane Stupid said earlier that its activists had chained themselves together on the runway and created a "fort" by surrounding themselves with security fencing. A spokeswoman said they planned to keep up the blockade for as long as possible to prevent the runway from reopening. The protesters are opposed to the government's decision to allow the expansion of Stansted with a second runway. In a statement, Plane Stupid said aviation was the fastest growing source of emissions and contributed to at least 13 percent of the UK's carbon budget.

Last month, another organization, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), launched a high court appeal against the building of a second runway at the Essex airport. SSE said the government was disregarding the implications for climate change and noise.


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