text: Jenni Hollis
Campaigners from aviation action group Plane Stupid this morning flouted security at the Houses of Parliament. Five protestors unfurled two banners from the landmark’s roof in a protest against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.
The activists gained access to the buildings roof by means of visitor passes and a fire escape. In addition to revealing banners that read: ‘BAA HQ' and 'NO 3rd RUNWAY', the three men and two women made paper aeroplanes from confidential Whitehall documents that, according to Plane Stupid, reveal the Government consultation on the Heathrow expansion was fixed. The period of consultation was due to close today.
The documents - obtained under the Freedom of Information Act - allegedly prove that airport operator BAA wrote parts of the consultation document and that the Government has already decided to build a third runway and the sixth terminal at the world's biggest international airport.
Speaking in a pre-prepared email statement, protestor Richard George, 27, said: I'm standing on the roof of Parliament because the democratic process has been corrupted. The aviation industry has taken full advantage of a weak Prime Minister to get the Heathrow consultation fixed.
“Now the consultation is over we can safely ignore the fixed result and get on with the job of stopping this new runway being built. A huge coalition of local residents, Londoners and environmentalists is coming together, supported by all the major mayoral candidates, to stand against Gordon Brown and say ‘no more’,” continued Mr George.
Plane Stupid claim that the number of Heathrow flights will increase from 480,000 a year to at least 702,000 if the proposed expansion goes ahead.
The rooftop protest comes just two days after Greenpeace campaigners breached security at Heathrow. The Greenpeace protesters hung a banner from the tailfin of a British Airways jet which had just touched down from Manchester.