Activists Plan Drone Disruption at Heathrow Airport Next Month

Aug 29, 2019

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A climate change activist group is expected to use drones in an effort to cause major disruption at Heathrow on 13 September. The group, which is calling itself Heathrow Pause, is protesting the government’s decision to go forward with a third runway at the airport — a decision that would ultimately increase its carbon emissions.

The BBC reports that the group is planning to use lightweight drones within the 5 kilometre restricted zone around the airport. The group said that the drones would be flown no higher than head height and not directly in any of the airport’s flight paths. In addition, the group said that it would be flying the drones early in the morning when there aren’t any scheduled flights in the air space.

While Heathrow Airport admits that there is a need to act on climate change, it says that this is the wrong way to go about it. A spokesperson stated, “Flying of any form of drone near Heathrow is illegal and any persons found doing so will be subject to the full force of the law”.

The airport also said that it’s working with the Met Police to mitigate the operational impact of drone usage near the airport. It told TechCrunch that it has “robust plans” to ensure the protest doesn’t result in any disruption to flights.

Earlier this year, London Gatwick was forced to suspend operations on several occasions due to drone activity, cancelling or diverting 1,000 flights. Following the disruption, the government enacted new rules, restricting how and when drones can be used near airports.

Feature photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.

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