Extinction Rebellion (XR) targeted Luton Airport over the weekend to protest against plans to expand the airport. The environmental protest movement unveiled banners within the terminal, and then occupied a roundabout on the approach road to the airport.
The protest included activists from Luton alongside members of XR from the region, united in a call to cancel the expansion. No arrests were made.
Luton Airport’s current proposal calls for a doubling in passenger numbers, from 16 to 32 million passengers a year. While plans have been postponed because of the Coronavirus and its effect on the aviation industry, XR insist that they should be scrapped altogether. Flying is a major contributor to climate change, which is already causing widespread devastation in many parts of the world. The airport expansion would also cause a rise in noise pollution, air pollution and traffic, as well as claiming large sections of Luton’s Wigmore Park.
“Floods in India, fires in California, Louisiana counting the cost of storm Laura – and Luton Airport is expanding” says local activist Jeremy Williams. “Expanding the airport is utterly irresponsible at a time of climate emergency.”
“We understand that the airport supports council spending, and how important that has been during a decade of Tory austerity,” says Williams, a Luton resident. “But we cannot continue to grow and depend on that income at the expense of future generations, of the world’s most vulnerable people, and of those who suffer today from the noise and pollution from the airport.”
Protests were held at other airports across the country on Saturday, including Gatwick, Stansted and Bristol. XR will turn their attention to London and Parliament from Tuesday September 1st.