Climate Change Activists Are Planning to Shut Down London's Heathrow Airport by Flying Drones Nearby

London's Heathrow airport is one of the busiest in the world, which climate change activists plan to leverage in an attempt to shut down the airport next month by intentionally flying drones nearby.

A group by the name of Heathrow Pause is attempting to create an "exclusion zone" around Heathrow Airport on September 13th by flying drones close enough to the airport to force air traffic controllers to shut it down. It would not be the first time air service was interrupted at the airport due to drone activity, but it would appear to be the first coordinated effort to intentionally disrupt it using drones. 

Heathrow has been a hot-button topic for climate change activists given how busy it is, and with the airport considering a third runway that would increase its carbon output, it has seen renewed fury, with Heathrow Pause saying:

It is a crime against humanity — and all life on earth — to support carbon intensive infrastructure projects.

Like all airports, Heathrow has a wide no-fly zone around it to protect incoming and outgoing aircraft. The activists have been adamant that they will not fly the drones in the path of any aircraft, but even getting close to the airport would likely be enough to force it to shut down. It's not clear if officials plan to take any action to stop the protest before it begins. 

Image of Heathrow Airport by Maarten Visser, used under Creative Commons.

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Deleted Account's picture


pardon my french but I've had it with these city-dwelling tossers over here telling us how we should be living but not getting their hands dirty to actually help the situation.

Simon Patterson's picture

Yep. Always gets me that people who live in the middle of the highly environmentally *unfriendly* concrete jungle think they know best when it comes to "the environment". Hypocrites.

Rob Mynard's picture

There's nothing in the article to suggest where the protestors live, perhaps they live in a small self-contained natural clearing in a forest, charging their drones with solar power.

Simon Patterson's picture

That is technically possible. But you and I both know it is highly unlikely.

super steel_'s picture

why mention the date. if youre going to "attack' the airport then dont let them plan to defend it. although im certain theyve planned a defense. get tons of the drone lazer guns and shoot them down. or send hawks out. its going to be an expensive stand off for the activists .

Deleted Account's picture

Was a fiasco at Gatwick a while back, probably just issuing a threat now to stir up the tabloids.
Rather than actually doing something useful with the middle class life and actually helping clean up the planet. No, make a noise, make a fuss and expect others to do it all.
Absolutely boils my piss.

(that's a bonkers good shot by Maarten Visser as cover image) :)

Guy Incognito's picture

The fact that they would promote it suggests they won't do it. You don't announce your plans & give people a chance at a counter-attack... Unless it is a diversion.

Simon Patterson's picture

I agree, they're highly unlikely to do it now they've announced it.

Hopefully it's a diversion from a plan for them to pick up litter and dispose of it in a way that stops it polluting waterways. That would be a much better outcome for the environment rather than causing planes to burn more fuel to sit in holding patterns at other airports.

Matt Williams's picture

As much as I totally understand the anger and passion toward climate change (and toward those who deny it exists, or don't care).... I feel like this energy could be put to better use elsewhere. I totally support moving toward reduced carbon emissions and anything we can do to slow this down, but at the moment, people still need to fly in airplanes, and disrupting one airport ain't gonna get a damn thing accomplished - except piss some people off and probably get your ass thrown in jail. It's not even a protest (which I would support). It's just being a jerk with no purpose.

The problem is - until we have alternatives - people need to continue driving cars, flying in planes, etc. Especially poor people, who are the least able to do things like buy a Tesla or whatever. Ironically, they also tend to be the people who care the most about climate change. But the focus needs to be on establishing alternatives - not disrupting people's lives before those alternatives even exist.

Simon Patterson's picture

Well if they do, I hope the plane spotters with their long lenses capture it in camera this time. I got tired of being told that "sources" and "reports" claimed drone activity, with little or no evidence of actual drone activity...

David Pavlich's picture

If you haven't seen George Carlin's bit on saving the planet, you need to go to You Tube and look it up. Just side splitting!

Rayann Elzein's picture

The problem is that "we", at least for now, aren't going anywhere just yet I'm afraid. Or maybe there's an ebola to the power 1000 virus somewhere that's going to wipe us all off the face of the planet, and it'll heal in no time indeed.

Tiina Söderholm's picture

Well even if we disappear from face of the earth, we still killed already big portion of wildlife and variety of life from this rock in space... I read somewhere that there is only 3% wildlife o this planet from all the life that exists on land and soon we probably end killing our seas with microplastics.

Still doing my own part to live in a forest but I'm going to fly with airplanes until we get some Elon Musks super fast tubes going.

Rayann Elzein's picture

Of course, I'm not denying this at all, to the contrary. We (mankind) destroyed almost everything. But once we are gone, nature will find a way to thrive again (if we don't destroy 100% of it of course). Look at what happens in the no-go area from Chernobyl for example.

Dieter B's picture

A drone striking a plane has serious consequences. This is an unlawful use of (threats of) violence and intimidation against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims. This is the very definition of terrorism. Heathrow Pause are a terrorist group.

Deleted Account's picture

Sadly that's the only way these days to get any significant attention. Back when an international airport where I grew up metastasised a runway into protected areas and placed an approach pattern over several towns, nobody beyond local press cared about the significant protest or the utter brutality used by police to clear the area. Had the people back then been using terrorist tactics, it may have been different.

David Pavlich's picture

A modern turbofan can probably ingest a smaller drone and still function. However, once that plane is on the ground, that engine has to be pulled off its nacelle and torn down. The cost is enormous, not to mention the downtime for the plane. Catch the 'person' that did it? Make them liable for the cost. It won't get paid, however, because that dolt will be in jail...we hope.

David Pavlich's picture

I hope they are caught and placed UNDER the jail.

Will Prentice's picture

I think they should have the remote controls smashed to bits ... whilst they're still holding the remotes.

tabletop's picture

Just a bunch of retarded punks with nothing better to do. Get a job or something.

tabletop's picture