Climate change protesters chained to airport entrance

Ben Mitchell,Press Association
Tuesday 17 February 2009 12:38

Environmental activists chained themselves to the main entrance of a regional airport today in a protest against airport expansion around the country.

Anti-aviation group Plane Stupid said it also intended to submit a planning application to turn Southampton International Airport into a refugee camp for climate change victims.

The group said they had erected tents outside the airport as part of the protest to highlight rising passenger numbers.

Airport operator BAA expects passenger numbers at the Hampshire airport to grow from 1.84 million per year in 2005 to 3.05 million by 2015.

Plane Stupid spokesman Pete Barker said: "People in the UK fly more per capita than anyone else, so the UK aviation industry has the greatest responsibility for the consequences of climate change.

"It makes perfect sense for Southampton to take on the burden of housing some of the world's climate refugees.

"It's crazy to imagine that we can tackle the serious threat posed by runaway climate change whilst still allowing airports to expand."

Mr Barker called on the Government to increase investment in the railways to decrease reliance on domestic flights.

He explained that the planning application for Southampton Airport to become a refugee camp was to highlight the issue of the impact of climate change in the future.

He said an estimated 1.3 million people in impoverished parts of the world were expected to become refugees because of rising sea levels, flooding, drought and famine.

A Hampshire Police spokeswoman confirmed that activists were outside the airport and officers were attending to assess the situation.

An Eastleigh Borough Council spokesman said no planning application had yet been received.

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