Lawyer admits plan to close Heathrow with drones is a bad idea

Extinction Rebellion’s lawyer refuses to condemn eco-anarchist group’s plan to close Heathrow with drone attack

  • Farhana Yamin said plans to fly drones over airport is ‘not  a strategy I would use’
  • She refused to back Extinction Rebellion plans in interview on BBC Radio 4
  • The group announced they planned to disrupt Heathrow in 10 days of protests
  • Ms Yamin is climate change lawyer and senior member of Extinction Rebellion 

An Extinction Rebellion lawyer who glued herself to the street in climate change protests said the group should ditch plans to shutdown Heathrow using drones.

Farhana Yamin said plans to fly the devices over Britain’s busiest airport to cause 10 days of disruption is ‘not a strategy I would use.’

The environmental group has sparked fury over the ‘reckless’ proposals to ground flights until the airport’s expansion plans are dropped  

Ms Yamin, 54, a leading member of Extinction Rebellion and international climate change lawyer, said the move is ‘currently under consideration’ but she refused to back it today.

Farhana Yamin (pictured as she glued herself to a pavement outside the Shell building in London in April, said plans to fly the devices over Britain’s busiest airport to cause 10 days of disruption today said it is ‘not a strategy I would use’

Ms Yamin (pictured as she was arrested in April) is a leading member of Extinction Rebellion and an international climate change lawyer. She said the move is ‘currently under consideration’ but she refused to back it today

She was  one of the more than 1,000 arrested in April when climate change protests brought chaos to the streets of London.

She was held by police after she glued her hand to the pavement outside the Shell building in the capital.

Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, she was asked three times whether she thought bring Heathrow to a standstill was a ‘good idea.’

She said: ‘It’s under consideration. 

‘We’re a big movement at the moment, there is thousands and thousands of people who’ve joined and they have all come with their ideas and that one is under consultation.’

Speaking to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, she was asked three times whether she thought bring Heathrow to a standstill was a ‘good idea’ Pictured: Ms Yamin interview on ITV’s This Morning after her arrest in May

Presenter Justin Webb then asked: ‘What’s your advice?

‘My personal advice is, and the issue of aviation emissions is what we should be talking about, not whether drones are the right idea or the wrong idea.

‘I personally think Heathrow, the expansion of Heathrow, the fact that are aviation emissions are growing are set to grow, means that we should be talking about this very seriously.

Webb asked her twice more whether she thought it was a good idea, and she then replied: ‘I think the use of drones isn’t what I would use a strategy, as I said its under consideration.’

She said that she believed ‘civil disobedience’ is ‘best undertaken by human beings showing the courage to stand up to whats needed to be done and not using mechanical devices. 

Climate change activists Extinction Rebellion are threatening to throw the holiday plans of thousands of Britons into chaos by flying drones over Heathrow Airport. The protesters previously tried to disrupt services at the airport on April 19 (pictured)

In April, protesters gathered at the head of the tunnel leading into Heathrow’s terminals 

Groups of protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport in April

 She added: ‘That is not the essence of non violent disobedneince for me. 

‘My personal view is we should focus on emissions, and whether or not Heathrow and the expansion of aviation is consistent with us declaring a climate and ecological emergency.

‘That is the conversation we should be having, rather than focusing on whether we shut down Heathrow with this tactic or that tactic.’ 

Ms Yamin has had a 30-year legal career and has worked on a number of international treaties including the Paris climate agreement.

The protesters said they would inform authorities in advance of the use of drones to avoid any risk to aircraft

Airport authorities called in the military in January to help pinpoint drones which had been spotted around Gatwick and Heathrow airports

She is now one of Extinction Rebellion’s senior committee members.

Speaking at the Hay Festival last week she said she had originally chosen to throw paint up the Shell building – but the tin of Farrow and Ball paint leaked in her bag, the Times reported.

She said:  As I was going out to catch the bus, my husband said, ‘What’s that dripping out of your bag?’ The thing had exploded in my bag.

‘The glueing attempt did work. I guess I was very nervous but also really determined. 

‘It was very ironic being taken away in handcuffs for criminal damage to their building when actually those doing the criminal damage that is going on are not being held to account.’      

In April thousands of Extinction Rebellion supporters blocked key routes in London as the group demanded the Government announce a climate emergency

Hours after Extinction Rebellion announced their plans last Friday to use drones to ground flights, aviation minister Baroness Vere issued a stark warning that culprits will face ‘the full force of the law’.

The Metropolitan Police has also said it will develop ‘strong plans’ to counter the group, which brought parts of London to a standstill during two weeks of demonstrations in April.

An initial one-day protest will go ahead on June 18 to ‘pause’ flights before a longer protest of ‘up to 10 days’ begins on July 1, Extinction Rebellion said.

Three Extinction Rebellion activists to stand trial in December

Three Extinction Rebellion activists who allegedly glued themselves to a train during London-wide environment protests will stand trial in December.

Cathy Eastburn, 52, Mark Ovland, 36, and Luke Watson, 29, are charged with obstructing the railway after a protest halted Docklands Light Railway services at Canary Wharf station on Wednesday April 17.

They were arrested during two weeks of demonstrations organised by XR as the group urged Government to declare a climate emergency and cut carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

Ovland, of Somerton, Somerset; Watson, from Manuden in Essex, and Eastburn, of Lambeth, south London, deny the charges.

They claim the stunt was justified because of the threat of climate change.

A trial date of December 16 was set during a brief hearing at Inner London Crown Court on Monday and all three were released on bail.

‘Extinction Rebellion demands the Government begins to act on its declaration of a climate and environment emergency by cancelling all Heathrow expansion,’ a statement said.

The group described air travel as ‘genocidal’, adding: ‘The addition of the planned third runway would make Heathrow the single biggest carbon emitter in the UK; to expand the airport at this critical point in history would be madness.

‘We understand the action will cause disruption to a great number of holidaymakers, however we believe that it is necessary given the prospect of far greater disruption caused by ecological and societal collapse, if we don’t act now.

‘Holidaymakers are being given advance notice to change travel plans.’

In December Gatwick was brought to a standstill when drones were spotted around the airport, disrupting the Christmas travel plans of thousands of travellers. 

Baroness Vere warned: ‘Flying drones near an airport is a serious criminal offence and using drones to deliberately put people’s safety at risk carries a maximum life sentence.

‘No Government has done more to reduce carbon emissions, and Britain is at the forefront of global efforts to tackle climate change.

‘Any illegal activity must be met with the full force of the law.’

The Department for Transport has said Heathrow expansion will only go ahead within the Government’s carbon reduction targets.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said the protest plans are a ‘reckless action that if carried out could endanger the lives of the travelling public and our colleagues’.

‘We agree with the need to act on climate change, but that requires us to work together constructively – not commit serious criminal offences just as hardworking people prepare to spend a well-earned holiday with their family and friends,’ she said.

In April thousands of Extinction Rebellion supporters blocked key routes in London as the group demanded the Government announce a climate emergency.

A small group of mostly teenage activists unfurled a banner at Heathrow near a tunnel which leads to Terminals 2 and 3, but flights were not disrupted.

The Met is pushing for more than 1,100 people to be charged over the April protests and said others who disrupt Heathrow this summer will face justice.

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