XR activists blockade all major entrances to private airport in eco protest

2 October 2021, 09:38 | Updated: 2 October 2021, 11:46

Extinction Rebellion has blocked the entrance to Farnborough Airport.
Extinction Rebellion has blocked the entrance to Farnborough Airport. Picture: Extinction Rebellion

By Sophie Barnett

A group of eco activists from Extinction Rebellion claim to have blocked all major entrances to a private airport in protest against emissions from private jets.

The protesters, including a former airline pilot, blocked all entrances to Farnborough Airport in Hampshire on Saturday morning.

The climate campaigners were seen laying on the ground in sleeping bags, with banners which read: "private jets = public deaths".

An Extinction Rebellion spokesman said the group was calling on the world's super-rich to ditch private jets.

Read more: Fresh bid to ban eco protesters from all of South East England's major roads

XR protest at Oxford Circus

"As world leaders gather for the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow this month, protesters are calling on the world's super-rich elite of celebrities, oligarchs and business leaders to ditch private flights," the spokesperson said.

"These private flyers, just 1% of the world's population, cause half of aviation's global emissions. Extinction Rebellion is also demanding the Government stops private flights now.

"The 30,000 private flights to and from Farnborough Airport each year carry an average of just 2.3 passengers, with each passenger responsible for the emission of nine times as much carbon as an economy flight to the US and 20 times that to Spain.

Read more: Furious driver violently rips signs away from eco mob as they block M4 in latest protest

"The airport has permission to increase flight movements to 50,000 a year.

"In protest at this wanton level of pollution by the super-rich, Extinction Rebellion has today blockaded three key airport entrances, with activists locked on top of a three-metre high steel tripod at one gateway and to fuel barrels at a second.

"The third entrance is barricaded by a stretch limousine, with the driver locked on to the steering wheel and a protester dressed as a media mogul glued to the roof."

A spokeswoman for the airport said they were aware of protesters at the site.

She said: "Farnborough Airport is aware of a number of unauthorised persons gathering at the entrance to the airport. The airport is still fully operational. Authorities are continually monitoring the situation."

Read more: Extinction Rebellion: 52 arrests on day one of fortnight of protests

Protester Todd Smith, 32, a former airline pilot from Reading, Berkshire, criticised Farnborough Airport's move to offer sustainable aviation fuel as an alternative fuel.

He said: "The term 'sustainable aviation fuel' was coined by the aviation and fossil fuel industry to deceive the public and greenwash the utterly destructive nature of biofuels.

"Biofuels result in land grabs, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, rising food prices and land-use emissions which can be worse than the fossil fuel they are replacing."

The group's protest comes a few weeks after it caused chaos on the streets of London during two-weeks of planned protests.

Activists glued themselves to the road, clambered on buses and blocked London Bridge as part of their demonstrations, bringing parts of London to a halt.

More recently there has been disruption on the M25, M4, M1 and at Dover by Insulate Britain protesters.

Read more: 'We need insulating from you': Furious drivers tackle eco mob as they block Dover port

XR has distanced themselves from Insulate Britain - who have caused uproar for disrupting motorways in and around London, bringing thousands of drivers to a halt over the last two weeks.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has slammed the group as "idiotic" after it defied an injunction for a second time, which banned the group from campaigning on the M25.

The group then moved their protest to the M4 and the M1, with the government now seeking to ban eco protesters from all of South East England's major roads.