Squadron 100

Harefield Gazette - - NEWS -

MP JOHN McDonnell will give ev­i­dence at the trial of 13 Plane Stupid pro­test­ers ac­cused of block­ing a run­way at Heathrow Air­port in sum­mer 2015.

The Hayes & Har­ling­ton MP and Shadow Chan­cel­lor, who is a long-stand­ing op­po­nent of air­port ex­pan­sion, is ex­pected to take the stand on Fri­day (Jan­uary 22) in sup­port of the cam­paign­ers, who are charged with ag­gra­vated tres­pass and en­ter­ing a se­cu­rity re­stricted area of an aero­drome.

They al­legedly cut a hole in a fence to ac­cess the north­ern run­way at Heathrow Air­port on July 13.

The de­fen­dants pleaded not guilty at Uxbridge Mag­is­trates’ Court on Au­gust 19 and the trial re­sumed at Willes­don Mag­is­trates’ Court on Mon­day (Jan­uary 18), with Green Party leader Natalie Ben­nett among the sup­port­ers out­side the court.

The Plane Stupid ac­tivists will call Mr McDonnell and the Green party may­oral can­di­date, Sian Berry, as well as cli­mate sci­en­tist Alice Bows-Larkin.

Spokesman Sam Jones said: “Plane Stupid took ac­tion last July to stop emis­sions from air­craft.

“Avi­a­tion is the fastest grow­ing source of car­bon emis­sions and Heathrow is the big­gest air­port in Europe by a long way. Build­ing a third run­way ONE of RAF Northolt’s most his­toric squadrons cel­e­brated its 100th an­niver­sary last week.

32 (The Royal) Squadron, based at RAF Northolt, was formed at Nether­avon in Wilt­shire on Jan­uary 12, 1916.

To com­mem­o­rate the oc­ca­sion, the Squadron’s Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing, Wing Com­man­der Steve Court­nadge presided over a lunch at RAF Northolt Of­fi­cers’ Mess, af­ter which he re­vealed the cen­te­nary art­work that will adorn the tail of BAe 146, tail num­ber ZE700. The stringed hunt­ing horn that is fea­tured is taken from the Squadron’s of­fi­cial crest.

He said: “32 Squadron has a tremen­dous his­tory and her­itage and is as op­er­a­tionally rel­e­vant to­day as it has ever been, with a su­perb team be­hind it. We’re all very proud to be part of that. The Squadron is in a great po­si­tion as it en­ters its se­cond cen­tury of op­er­a­tions and for me per­son­ally, it’s a huge hon­our to re­veal our cen­te­nary art­work to­day.” would cross a red line that would jeop­ar­dise our abil­ity to com­bat cli­mate change.

“This isn’t about peo­ple tak­ing busi­ness trips or their an­nual hol­i­days, this is about the mi­nor­ity of fre­quent leisure fliers who take trips to their se­cond homes, week­end breaks and tax havens – that 15% of the UK pop­u­la­tion takes 70% of the UK’s flights.”

Just as it did dur­ing the pre­vi­ous court hear­ing, a demon­stra­tion in sup­port of the ac­tivists took place out­side the court on Mon­day, or­gan­ised by cam­paign group Re­claim the Power.

They staged a ‘red line’ protest with gi­ant two me­tre high in­flat­able cob­ble­stones high­light­ing the agree­ment made in Paris last month and the in­com­pat­i­bil­ity of that agree­ment with avi­a­tion ex­pan­sion.

Mr Jones added: “David Cameron fa­mously as­serted in 2010 that Heathrow would not be ex­panded, ‘no ifs, no buts’.

“The fact that the govern­ment is now U-turn­ing spec­tac­u­larly on this prom­ise demon­strates why you can’t leave this sort of thing to politi­cians.”

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