Anti-airport protesters scale Parliament's roof

Protesters breached security at Westminster today by climbing on to the roof of the Houses of Parliament to demonstrate against the expansion of Heathrow airport.









The five activists from campaign group Plane Stupid unfurled two huge banners, one saying No Third Runway, and the other, in a reference to airport operator BAA, read BAA Headquarters.



The protest came on the final day of the Government's consultation on expanding Heathrow airport, including a third runway.



Plane Stupid said they gained access to Parliament as visitors, walked through the building, got into a lift and then climbed onto the roof.



It was the second security breach this week following an incident at Heathrow on Monday when five Greenpeace activists managed to climb on top of a British Airways plane in protest against expanding the airport.



The protest lasted almost three hours and ended shortly after Gordon Brown stood up in the Commons at the start of Prime Minister's Questions.



Mr Brown told MPs: "The message should go out today very clearly that decisions in this country should be made in the chamber of this House and not on the roof of this House.



"It is a very important message that should be sent out to those people who are protesting."



One of the roof protesters, Richard George, 27, from London, said: "I am stood on the roof of Parliament because the democratic process had been corrupted.



"The aviation industry had taken full advantage of a weak Prime Minister to get the Heathrow consultation fixed.



"It does not even consider global warming despite everything Brown has said about the environment and despite the massive impact aviation has on the climate.



"The Prime Minister does not even have the courage to ask Londoners the simple question: 'Do you want a third runway?'. Instead, his Government published a consultation document full of gobbledegook and industry spin."



Mr George added: "We decided to let Gordon Brown get on with Prime Minister's Questions, but we just wanted him to know what it is like to have an inconvenience above your head that you did not ask for."



They made paper aeroplanes out of confidential Whitehall documents they claimed showed the consultation process was "fixed", and glided the planes into the MPs' car park below.



The campaign group claimed that the documents - obtained under the Freedom of Information Act - proved that BAA wrote parts of the consultation document and that the Government had already decided to build a third runway and a sixth terminal at the world's biggest international airport.



Mr George added: "Now the consultation is over, we can safely ignore the fixed result and get on with the job of stopping this new runway being built.



"A huge coalition of local residents, Londoners and environmentalists is coming together, supported by all the major mayoral candidates, to stand against Gordon Brown and say 'no more'."



Plane Stupid said BAA and the Government wanted a sixth terminal and third runway built over homes, schools and churches in the villages of Sipson and Harmondsworth.



"This would increase the number of flights from 480,000 a year to at least 702,000.



"Two million Londoners face increased levels of noise, while CO2 emissions from the airport would shoot up despite claims by Brown that he's committed to fighting climate change," a spokesman said.



The protesters said they branded Parliament "BAA HQ" because of the "extraordinary level of collusion" between the aviation industry and government.



Matthew Knowles, spokesman for the Society of British Aerospace Companies, said: "These stunts are becoming tiresome and do nothing more than peddle inaccurate propaganda.



"The aviation industry has achieved a 75% cut in fuel burn over the past 50 years and a similar reduction in noise from aircraft in the past 30 years."



Michelle Di Leo, director of FlyingMatters, a coalition of unions, business, tourism groups and farmers, commented: "Today's action by Plane Stupid is misjudged, misdirected, and irresponsible.



"Aviation is responsible for 2% of global carbon emissions and is growing at a slower global rate than power generation and industry.



"If they are serious about climate change, they should engage in a proper debate about solutions that will make a real difference rather than indulge in publicity stunts which waste police time."



Westminster sources said they suspected the banners were stored inside the Commons for the protesters to collect this morning.



The banners were believed to be too big for the activists to have taken them through security, it was suggested.

News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
peopleSir Patrick took a more understated approach to the challenge
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
scienceTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Arts and Entertainment
tvWe have created an infogaphic that looks back over the previous incarnations of the Doctor
Sport
Olivier Giroud celebrates after his late goal saved Arsenal a point at Goodison Park
football Giroud rescues a point for Arsenal after they trailed by two goals
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
i100
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
i100
News
Australian rapper Iggy Azalea was left red faced but, thankfully, unhurt after taking a few too many steps backwards, sending her tumbling off the stage.
people
Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
i100
Extras
indybest

Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition