Monday, August 6, 2007

Greenpeace Responds to Heathrow

GREENPEACE, UK - The aviation industry is taking five million people - including a lot of their own staff - to court. If you're a member or supporter of a group that's concerned about climate change, the chances are you're a defendant too. The industry seems to want to ban five million of us from Heathrow and all routes to the airport, including the Piccadilly line, parts of the rail network, and sections of the M25 and M4.

In three weeks' time, the Camp for Climate Action is due to gather near
Heathrow to peacefully protest against Heathrow's vast contribution to
climate change (the airport's planes emit more greenhouse gases than
many individual countries) and its planned third runway expansion.

The owner of Heathrow, the British Airports Authority, seems to be,
frankly, terrified. It's seeking an injunction, which names as defendants "all persons acting as members, participants or supporters" of anti-aviation group
Plane Stupid, anti-noise group HACAN and AirportWatch. The injunction is
to stop people from setting foot on Heathrow and "the arterial
infrastructure serving" it.

So far, so good. Just another example of the aviation industry's
corporate bullying, albeit a draconian one.

But the interesting bit is that AirportWatch, named on the injunction,
is just an umbrella organization. Its member organizations include the
National Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign for the
Protection of Rural England, Transport 2000, Friends of the Earth and
Greenpeace, among many others.

The combined supporter base of these organizations is well over five
million people.

And it includes the Queen, patron of the RSBP and CPRE. Prince Charles,
president of the National Trust, would also be banned from Heathrow and
its surrounds . . .

Even more bizarrely, the injunction covers many of BAA's own staff.
Their 2006 Corporate Responsibility report tells us that BAA sent its
airport staff to the RSPB nature reserve at Lochwinnoch "where they
spent the day building nest boxes for the native bird population". Which
seems to fit the description of "persons acting as members, participants
or supporters".

A source who's spoken to BAA has just told us that BAA is deliberately
making the ban as broad as possible, and leaving it up to the police to
apply it with common sense. Which means, if BAA wins, the police will
have the right to stop you, me or Her Maj from, say, getting on "all
railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line. . .


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