Extinction Rebellion has blocked the private jet terminal at Luton Airport as protesters call for excessive flights to be taxed. The environmental group’s iconic blue boat named Polly Higgins is blocking all three gates to the airport’s Signature Terminal with protesters “locked” on to the deck and hull of the boat. A second group of protesters have barricaded themselves to the entrance to the Harrods Aviation Terminal, with activists locked onto two oil barrels.
Several other protesters have gathered at both terminals dressed in hi-vis jackets. They have been pictured holding flags and banners in the style of airport signs, and wearing pink vests reading “LOVE IN ACTION”.
Extinction Rebellion, as well as groups affiliated with it, are demanding the UK Government “take urgent action to ban private jets, tax frequent flyers and make wealthy polluters pay“.
IOt said said this morning’s protest is part of a global co-ordinated action launched last week by climate activists across 11 countries, which is targeting several sites in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the US.
Extinction Rebellion added groups have decided to take action on the road leading to Luton Airport due to the “rise in the use of private jet flights for supposedly romantic Valentine’s Day dates”.
The group is also urging people to go to Parliament on April 21 to join 100,000 people calling for a citizen-led transition away from fossil fuels.
Today’s protest outside Luton Airport is part of an ongoing “Make Them Pay” campaign by Scientist Rebellion, Extinction Rebellion and Stay Grounded.
The trio have three “key demands”: ban private jets, tax frequent flyers and make polluters pay.
Todd Smith, a former airline pilot-turned climate activist, said: “Valentine’s Day should not have to cost the Earth, or the taxpayer. The people want a ban on private jets, as Climate Assembly UK demonstrated in 2020. But nothing has been done.
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“I can only assume the government has ignored the will of the people to protect the interests of their rich mates. We are here today to make them listen.”
Nigel Harvey, 60, a recycling company chief executive and Extinction Rebellion activist from St Albans, added: “Extinction Rebellion and other climate activist groups are often criticised for disrupting the lives of ‘normal working people’ – well it should be clear that owning a private jet isn’t normal.
“This is a targeted action – we’re disrupting only the top one percent: the highest-income, highest emitters who are most responsible for pollution and have the most power to affect changes.”
Sarah Hart, 41, mum of two from Farnborough said: “The fact that our Government turns a blind eye on these polluters is just further evidence of its failure to act on the climate and ecological emergency.
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Finlay Asher, 32, an aerospace engineer from Bristol and co-founder of Safe Landing  said: “I’m an aviation worker – but feel that I can’t stand-by watching the emissions from my industry continue to grow and contribute so heavily to the climate carnage wreaking havoc around the world.
“These impacts are mostly felt by the poorest communities, so it’s sickening to also realise that an elite minority of super-rich mega polluters are responsible for the majority of global emissions from air travel.”
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