Extinction Rebellion targets private air travel in London City Airport protest
PUBLISHED: 17:00 01 September 2020
Extinction Rebellion activists have targeted London City Airport in a demonstration over private air travel.
Members of Newham’s XR branch of the environmental campaign group unfurled a banner stating, “Very Immoral Pollution”, outside the hub’s VIP lounge on Saturday, August 29.
XR member, Simon Shaw, said: “We are living in a world where people fleeing climate related disaster elsewhere in the world are drowing at sea, trying to get to safety.
“At the same time, the world’s wealthiest are enjoying hyper-mobility as they hop across borders in private jets. And as they do they pollute communities like Newham and destabilise the global climate even more.”
The campaigners say the impact of private air travel is “huge” because the jets emit 10 times the amount of carbon dioxide per passenger compared to commercial flights.
“The immense carbon footprints and pollution fallouts of the few are degrading the lives of the many, and Newham is on the frontline,” a spokesperson for the group said.
Extinction Rebellion demanded action to reduce what they described as a rapidly expanding sector.
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A London City Airport spokesman said a small group of about 15 protestors spent less than an hour near the airport, which operated as normal throughout.
He added private flights represent a fraction of the airport’s movements with the vast majority of passengers travelling for work, a holiday or to catch up with loved ones.
“Last year 1.5million people based in east London used the airport and, as we plan our recovery, this is a trend we want to build on so more local residents and local businesses can use their local airport,” he said.
The hub’s operation is accredited as carbon neutral under the Airport Carbon Accreditation programme. It has a goal of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050 without using off-setting in a bid to become the UK’s most sustainable airport.
Some activists dressed as landing crew and brandished paddles bearing anti-aircraft symbols at the protest.
Saturday’s demo followed action across the country by Doctors for Extinction Rebellion.
Warning labels were stuck to petrol pumps at forecourts aimed at highlighting the need for more transparency about fossil fuels’ effects on health.
David Attenborough’s face replaced Lord Kitchener’s in one sticker made to look like the “Your country needs you” poster used to recruit men to fight in the First World War.
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