Left Menu
Development News Edition

"Technical glitch" - eco group's drones stall in bid to shut London's Heathrow airport

Reuters | London | Updated: 13-09-2019 19:50 IST | Created: 13-09-2019 19:47 IST
"Technical glitch" - eco group's drones stall in bid to shut London's Heathrow airport
Image Credit: Flickr

Climate-change activists who had hoped to bring Europe's biggest airport, London Heathrow, to a standstill on Friday found instead that it was their drones that struggled to get off the ground. Last December, reported drone sightings near London's Gatwick airport prevented hundreds of flights taking off, and the Heathrow Pause group aimed to cause similar chaos on Friday to put pressure on the government to take tougher steps to reduce carbon emissions.

But Heathrow said it remained "open and fully operational despite attempts to disrupt the airport through the illegal use of drones in protest nearby". "We agree with the need for climate change action but illegal protest activity designed with the intention of disrupting thousands of people is not the answer," a spokeswoman said.

A Reuters photographer saw activist James Brown, a blind Irish former Paralympian, being arrested. He held the drone aloft rather than trying to fly it and handed himself in to police at Terminal 2. Heathrow Pause said it had completed one flight with a toy drone but other attempts had been less successful. It posted a live stream of its early-morning activities near the airport online, and said its drones had suffered from signal jamming.

"We've got a little technical glitch. The drone isn't flying," an unidentified campaigner says in the video, as another holds a drone in the air. Determined to avoid disruption, police invoked extra powers to move people away from the area around the airport until Sunday morning.

"The order has been implemented to prevent criminal activity which poses a significant safety and security risk to the airport," they said in a statement. On Friday, they arrested five people in the vicinity of the airport, in addition to seven people who had been arrested on Thursday on suspicion of conspiracy to commit a public nuisance.

Heathrow Pause is a splinter group of Extinction Rebellion, which blocked streets in central London this year. It had said it would fly the drones no higher than head height and had no wish to endanger life. Air travel accounts for just 2.5% of global carbon emissions, but the industry is attempting to reconcile airlines' growth plans with a pledge to cut carbon emissions.

A study by the International Council on Clean Transportation said in a report on Thursday that the increase in emissions from U.S. airlines was overtaking improvements in fuel efficiency. Heathrow Pause opposes the expansion of Heathrow, whose proposed third runway was approved by lawmakers last year after decades of delays and policy U-turns.

A spokesman for the group said it did not need to disrupt flights to achieve its goal. "The real objective was always to trigger a sensible, honest conversation, throughout society, on the dangerous folly of Heathrow expansion, with the ultimate objective of cancelling the third runway," he said.

"That conversation is now happening."

Also Read: Drone disruption? Climate activists to target London's Heathrow airport



How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Poor on IHR capacity progress in 2019, WHO says Cambodia tops COVID-19 response

Despite being in proximity to Hubei, the original epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has reported just 226 confirmed cases and zero deaths. After seeing the data, WHO appreciated Cambodias healthcare information system but experts dou...

Loopholes in Healthcare Information System may have failed Singapore COVID-19 model

In the initial days of the COVID-19 outbreak, Singapore was in the limelight for its effective healthcare system and pandemic response plan. However, Singapore has now joined the list of the worst-hit nations and the situation is even worse...

Australia's COVID-19 response: Digital infrastructure of help but implementation remains a challenge

Australias ongoing plans to upgrade its health information system helped by the Digital Health Strategy seem even more practical due to the pandemic. But as evident during the pandemic, administrative lapses and the complex matrix of power ...


Latest News

Over 25 killed, hundreds hurt in huge blast in Beirut

A massive explosion rocked Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings across the capital and sending a giant mushroom cloud into the sky. The health minister said more than 25 people were killed and over 2,500 injure...

Turkey's COVID-19 cases up over 1,000 in 'severe' rebound

Turkeys new coronavirus cases jumped above 1,000 for the first time in three weeks on Tuesday in what the government called a troubling rise during peak holiday season, raising concerns among top doctors about insufficient testing. Ankara, ...

Number of French COVID-19 patients in intensive care rises for second day

The number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care units ICU in French hospitals rose for the second day in a row, reversing a downward trend that had lasted 16 weeks, health ministry data showed on Tuesday.The ministry said in a statement t...

Former Colombian President Uribe says high court orders his detention

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said on Tuesday the Supreme Court had ordered his detention amid an investigation into alleged witness tampering and fraud.Uribe, a mentor of President Ivan Duque who now serves as a senator, has repe...

Give Feedback