Protestors have caused a right hoo-hah near Heathrow Airport after blockading a motorway tunnel in protest over the planned third runway. Activists parked three cars in the middle of a tunnel accessing Terminals 2 and 3 and chained themselves to a vehicle draped in a banner reading: ‘No new runways’.
The stunt by campaign group Rising Up, which aims to combat climate change, was streamed live on its Facebook page. It’s also caused some massive tailbacks and delays, with traffic being diverted to the outbound tunnel at the airport after the tunnel was closed and the M4 spur road was shut for about 45 minutes.
The Met said they arrived at the scene shortly before 8.30am and arrested the drivers of two of the vehicles for obstructing a highway. Two men and a woman who had chained themselves to a third car were also arrested and another man has been taken to hospital as a precaution. They said the cars were removed and the tunnel re-opened at around 11.30pm.
The Department of Transport approved plans to build a third runway at Heathrow in October, rejecting proposals to expand an existing runway at Heathrow or to build a second runway at Gatwick in a move met with protests outside Parliament. London Mayor Sadiq Khan also seemed disappointed with the outcome, saying it was: 'the wrong decision for London and the whole of Britain'. He added: 'I will continue to challenge this decision and I am exploring how I can best be involved in any legal process over the coming months'.
So far, the stunt's stirred some pretty mixed reactions, including outrage from disgruntled motorists and praise from fellow climate change activists. Simon Bramwell, one of the activists involved in today's protest, said: 'Heathrow’s consultation process is illegitimate and undemocratic, conducted around the assumption that airport expansion is an option. This blockade is our contribution to the consultation: a third runway is a disastrous option that will lead to climate chaos.'
Images: Rising Up