On Friday, a group called Heathrow Pause hopes to shut down one of the world’s busiest airports.
It says this is a response “to the government’s lack of constructive progress on the climate and environmental emergency declared by parliament on 1 May” and that the “the omission is aggravated, even further, by the government’s decision to back Heathrow expansion, despite the scientific advice against it”.
The Heathrow Pause activists plan to fly small toy drones, one after the other, in the 5km exclusion zone around the airport, potentially causing disruption for days.
The drones will stay at around head height and will not be flown near the flight paths, but according to Heathrow’s own protocols, just one drone in the exclusion zone is enough to ground aircraft.
The idea is for the drone pilots to make their flights, call the police, and then wait to be arrested and possibly face a prison sentence.
It is always hard to say what will unfold with direct action like this. And usually it is hard to predict how “ordinary” people will react.
This time though, if Heathrow Pause is successful, I can almost guarantee there will be outrage. People will miss weddings, funerals, holidays of lifetimes. There will be tears. Lots of them.
That’s the danger for Heathrow Pause here – that the pain and disruption caused to the flying public will obscure their message. And it is, at its core, a reasonable message: If we want to tackle the climate crisis, we cannot continue our lives as normal.
And that includes, among many things, curtailing the endless expansion of airports and the freedom of a small percentage of the world’s population to engage in a seriously carbon-intensive pursuit for which there is no scalable green alternative.
If Heathrow Pause is successful, I can almost guarantee there will be outrage. People will miss weddings, funerals, holidays of lifetimes. There will be tears. Lots of them
Heathrow Pause wants to create a shock to the system. They are prepared to break the law and face arrest and imprisonment to do so.
They’ve made the decision that this is the only way to get what they want.
But I predict the plan to target Heathrow will not be well received by anyone but the most committed environmentalists. Their cause will need more support than that if real change is to happen.
Sky Views is a series of comment pieces by Sky News editors and correspondents, published every morning.
Previously on Sky Views: Katerina Vittozzi – Why Ben Stokes should not be given a knighthood (Martha Kelner is away)