Heathrow Pause refuse to stop flying drones near airport despite 'preemptive' arrests

12 September 2019, 22:18

By Kate Buck

A climate change group vowing to shut down Heathrow airport with drones have said they have "contingency plans" after five of their members were arrested.

Earlier this afternoon, three men and two women from Heathrow Pause were taken into custody after threatening to fly the devices within the 3.1 mile no-fly zone.

Among those taken by police include prospective drone pilots Roger Hallam and Mike Lynch-White.

Footage of Mr Hallam's arrest showed the 53-year-old organic farmer being arrested by plain clothes officers.

When someone asks what they are arresting him for, Mr Hallam says: "“Flying a drone – I haven’t done it yet – on conspiracy”.

Heathrow Pause have said they still aim to use the drones to disrupt flights to highlight the "grave risk or airport expansion during the climate and ecological emergency."

The group, who have splintered off from Extinction Rebellion, claim they still have 70 more drone pilots available.

Activists said the drones would be flown on Friday at head height and away from flight paths so no lives were put at risk.

The Met Police warned the group that if they were to carry out their plans it would be seen as a criminal offence and further arrests would be made.

A statement for the group said: "The action will carry on exactly as planned, peacefully and non-violently, regardless of today’s events.

"We thanks everyone for their support.

"With Love and Courage, Heathrow Pause.

"We have contingency measures in place. Thank you, Heathrow Pause."

Met Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “We have carried out these arrests today in response to proposed plans for illegal drone use near Heathrow Airport which protest group Heathrow Pause have said will take place tomorrow morning.

“Our policing plan is aimed at preventing criminal activity which poses a significant safety and security risk to the airport, and the thousands of passengers that will be using it.”