back to article Eco-activists arrested by Brit cops after threatening to close Heathrow with drones

Five people have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police for threatening to fly drones around London’s Heathrow airport this Friday to protest climate change. The group announced at the end of August that they were planning to disrupt the airport – one of the world’s busiest – this coming Friday and would meet with the police …

  1. Mike Tubby

    Good work MET Police

    This appears to be a "good news" story as far as I can tell... MET Police did the right thing... Heathrow did the right thing.

    Perhaps the Eco-activists don't understand the law of conspiracy... conspiring to perform an illegal act is as bad [or worse] and committing the act. Send them down.

    1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

      Re: Good work MET Police

      Agreed - preferably for at least 5 years in prison.

      1. BillG
        Facepalm

        ...they stated with a monumental lack of self-awareness. ¹

        To say they live in a world of their own choosing is one way to look at it. But they sounds so delusional, their perception of reality so faulty, it sounds more like schizophrenia.

        ¹ My favorite line from the whole article.

        1. Rafael #872397
          WTF?

          Re: ...they stated with a monumental lack of self-awareness. ¹

          I had to check the calendar to see if today is Monty Python Appreciation Day* and this group was celebrating with a sketch (EVERYBODY EXPECTS the Heathrow Drone Liberation Commando), but no, it seems they were really planning to do it!

          * every day for some of us

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good work MET Police

        "Agreed - preferably for at least 5 years in prison."

        But that'd cost an awful lot of money and this lot come across more as a bunch of pillocks rather than a serious threat to public safety. It'd probably make more sense for them each to get a stiff *suspended* sentence of whatever period in custody and some sort of fine and/or community service.

        That way, they might just be persuaded not to be so daft in future - deterrence after all being one of the main points of having courts handing out punishments - and if they're not, the police get to send them straight to prison next time they're arrested (AIUI).

        1. ZenCoder

          Re: Good work MET Police

          That sounds like a good idea. Assuming this serves as a wake up call, I'd be happy with a 5 years suspended sentence and community service replanting forests or something.

          1. Bbuckley

            Re: Good work MET Police

            I would give them 5 years community service continuously flapping their arms to generate ecologically sound electricity to power electric airplanes

            1. Tom Paine Silver badge

              Re: Good work MET Police

              Your comments suggests you really haven't thought about this very much.

        2. Jove Bronze badge

          Re: Good work MET Police

          Their prison time can be funded by confiscating the funds of their terrorist organisation.

          1. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: Good work MET Police

            Just to check if the Guardian mob are still being paid to police the forum and down-click any comments that are incompatible with their latest narrative:

            Their prison time can be funded by confiscating the funds of their terrorist organisation.

        3. herman Silver badge

          Re: Good work MET Police

          Hmm, they should also be banned from using any form of public transport and their driver's licenses should be suspended, so they have to walk or use pushbikes everywhere - to protect the environment - and reduce their carbon consumption.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good work MET Police

            @herman

            Pushbikes are a great nuisance to the vast majority of road users. They should be made to pay double the road tax that cars pay, because thay occupy the same amount of road space at a fraction of the speed.

            Ideally, this could be taken further. Cyclists would carry compulsory ID cards marking them as such, wear clothing with a bicycle display, and be told to get on their bikes when they need an ambulance.

            1. steviebuk Silver badge

              Re: Good work MET Police

              Time and time again. There is NO ROAD TAX. They, we, all pay tax that is then added to funding the roads. So unfortunately for you, they have exactly the same rights to use the road as you.

              Hasn't been road tax since world war 2

              1. old_IT_guy

                Re: Good work MET Police

                I suspect you know exactly what was meant, and so would any UK citizen. It's also called Car Tax, Bloody Disgraceful Rip Off Tax and so on.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Good work MET Police

                Only a pedant would split hairs between vehicle tax and road tax. I am a common sense scientifically informed individual. It shows how weak your case is that you resort to such pathetic arguments.

                The plain fact is that motorists have to pay certain taxes that cyclists don't.

                If it were not for World War 2, Winston Churchill would be remembered as the finance minister who raided the road fund, diverting the money to general government expenditure.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Good work MET Police

                  The fact is also that bicycles barely contribute to the wear of that road surface, while cars DO, as such, the contribution bicyclists make (when not driving the car they likely have anyway) through normal taxes are sufficient, while cars have to pay extra on top and lorries and the likes pay even more. The fact is also the infrastructure for cyclists in the UK sucks, and whenever money is spent on it all those motorists complain about it "because no-one will ever use it". (And no-one ever will if they have to risk getting run over by assholes in cars who feel they are entitled to drive 5 miles over the speed limit wherever they go)

                  And also, at the end of the day: Life ain't fair sugarplum. Get over it.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Good work MET Police

                    @AC re: " Life ain't fair sugarplum. Get over it."

                    Probably the same attitude the protesters have...

                2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Good work MET Police

                  Only a pedant would split hairs between vehicle tax and road tax. I am a common sense scientifically informed individual. It shows how weak your case is that you resort to such pathetic arguments.

                  The plain fact is that motorists have to pay certain taxes that cyclists don't.

                  You may have common sense, but your argument does not. You don't pay a road tax, you pay an emissions tax. And your car tax is what exactly? VAT? Bikers have to pay that too. The plain facts are that car drivers kill hundreds of people yearly, park inconsiderately, pollute heavily, damage the roads, railings, pavements.

                  Also, since cyclists don't have any vehicle emissions expecting them to pay VED is ridiculous. Electric car drivers don't have to pay it.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Good work MET Police

                    FT taxes are based on fairness and equality.

                    They exist because the overlords will it.

                3. j.bourne
                  Mushroom

                  Re: Good work MET Police

                  I was going to comment - But just downvoted instead...

                  But then again...

                  I'll just point out that some motor vehicles are paying zero vehicle tax/car tax/ road fund licence whatever you want to call it. for the reason that they have low emissions. And a Bicycle emissions are zero, (the engine may contribute some CO2 but we aren't taxed for breathing... yet).

                  1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                    Re: Good work MET Police

                    I'll just point out that some motor vehicles are paying zero vehicle tax

                    Like wot the "historic vehicle" currently sitting in the carpark where my wife works..

                    Strangely enough, the Government withdrew that tax bracket when they realised that it was costing them money. However, they'd trapped themselves into the vehicles that had it keeping it even after they'd closed the scheme. So, while we still have the Morris Minor it'll be tax free.

                    Mind you, we easily spend 4x the cost of the tax keeping it on the road. New wings to replace the wirewormed ones don't grow on trees y'know.

                4. FrancisKing
                  Headmaster

                  Re: Good work MET Police

                  "Only a pedant would split hairs between vehicle tax and road tax."

                  It's not pedantry. The term 'vehicle tax' suggests a tax on an expensive thing. The term 'road tax' suggests that car pay for the roads, and in some sense the cars own the roads - this could not be further from the truth.

                  Taxation on cars makes up for the income tax that people don't want to pay.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Good work MET Police

                    It colloquially known as car tax. That you are pretending this discussion is a court of law, makes it your problem, not his.

                    Did no one ever instruct you "don't be a dick"?

                5. steviebuk Silver badge

                  Re: Good work MET Police

                  That's a flawed argument. You're suggesting all cyclists don't also own cars. Again, everyone pays tax even if you don't own a car and that tax is added to funding roads. Car owners pay more because the cars are massive pollutants (why cars before 1979 aren't included I don't understand) that's why you have no tax for electric vehicles.

                  My point stands. Cyclists are allowed as much use of the road as anyone else.

                6. MarkOS

                  Re: Good work MET Police

                  "motorists have to pay certain taxes that cyclists don't."

                  Which is exactly as it should be. And don't forget that a large proportion of cyclists are also motorists. Get off the grumpy step about paying for your pollution.

            2. Cuddles Silver badge

              Re: Good work MET Police

              "They should be made to pay double the road tax that cars pay"

              They do. Fortunately double zero is still zero, so it's not a terrible hardship. There is no such thing as road tax; if you're going to indulge in bizarre anti-bike rants, you could at least make some effort to connect your fantasies to the real world.

            3. Neal L

              Re: Good work MET Police

              "Ideally, this could be taken further. Cyclists would carry compulsory ID cards marking them as such, wear clothing with a bicycle display, and be told to get on their bikes when they need an ambulance."

              Kind of unnecessary as it's very easy to spot a cyclist being that they are pedaling a push bike. Also since the a lot of cyclists are probably making NI contributions they can have access to an ambulance should they require one.

              Don't forget that they are also entitled to use the roads if they have paid council tax.

            4. This post has been deleted by its author

            5. toffer99

              Re: Good work MET Police

              I bet you voted leave.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good work MET Police

            Wheres the woosh parrot icon?

        4. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Mushroom

          Re: Good work MET Police

          "But that'd cost an awful lot of money and this lot come across more as a bunch of pillocks rather than a serious threat to public safety"

          They're flying drones near planes. One simple mistake and hundreds of lives could be lost. This is ecoterrorism, which is why the police are taking it so seriously this time.

        5. Bbuckley

          Re: Good work MET Police

          I would order them to dismantle their drones in public and then reassemble them again (in public). James May would be the Judge. Any of them failing this simple test would go to an asylum for life.

      3. Tom Paine Silver badge
        Gimp

        Re: Good work MET Police

        "Cut ALL their bits off!"

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

      1. DiViDeD Silver badge

        Re: Good work MET Police

        I thought the job of the police was to "keep the peace", and that their preferred aim was to have everyone sitting indoors, near a window, with their hands open on the table where everybody could see them?

        Apols to Sir Pterry

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Good work MET Police - Crime Prevention

        Would you prefer your current partner to be arrested:

        A: For conspiring to have you murdered for the insurance money.

        B: For successfully having murdered you for the insurance money.

        C: Successfully get away with B, without being arrested.

        1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Good work MET Police - Crime Prevention

          C: Successfully get away with B, without being arrested.

          - A male black widow spider

          1. Bbuckley

            Re: Good work MET Police - Crime Prevention

            Sorry Sherlock - C is illogical - "arrested for ... without being arrested"

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Good work MET Police

        >Secondly, the article contains a claim that the job of the police is to "prevent crime". This is untrue. The job of the police is to apprehend the perps AFTER a crime has been completed so that they may be brought to trial.

        What utter nonsense. If police know someone is about to be murdered, they will try to stop it. They don't stand around and wait until it happens.

        Besides, as has been discussed, conspiracy to commit a crime is itself a crime.

        1. MJB7 Silver badge

          Re: Good work MET Police

          >> Secondly, the article contains a claim that the job of the police is to "prevent crime". This is untrue. The job of the police is to apprehend the perps AFTER a crime has been completed so that they may be brought to trial.

          > What utter nonsense.

          The last sentence you quote is complete bollocks, but it *is* true that the job of the police is not to "prevent crime". It is in fact to "keep the peace". Granted, they usually do this by, er, preventing crime, and they usually do *that* by apprehending perpetrators after the event.

      4. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: Good work MET Police

        We can not be sure that the full details have been made public so I do not see how you can make such an assertion.

      5. Saruman the White

        Re: Good work MET Police

        The law of conspiracy requires that there be a step taken in furtherance of the conspiracy.

        Firstly you are wrong - so long as there are reasonable suspicions that the offence is going to be committed, then it is defined as "conspiracy" and the police can act.

        Secondly - they had taken plenty of steps in furtherance of the conspiracy:

        a. They had drones and had practised flying them;

        b. They had publicly announced their intentions;

        c. They had (stupidly) notified Heathrow or their intentions; and

        d. They had (monumentally stupidly) notified the police of their intentions, and even offered to meet the police!

        1. OrientalHero
          Joke

          Re: Good work MET Police

          In our "enlightened" post 9/11 world, merely having the information never mind the equipment is now a crime. But I think that's quite specific to things like terrorist cookbooks etc.

          It does remind me though of the joke of the woman reading in a fishing boat...

          (https://www.cleanjoke.com/humor/Reading-in-the-Boat.html)

        2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Good work MET Police

          e. They stood in front of the airport at night, holding drones with bright flashing lights, while live-streaming their crime online to everyone.

          These people are idiots, regardless of how noble or idiotic their cause may be.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Good work MET Police

            @Tigra 07

            And the reason for that is that those with the power only understand physical force or civil disobedience in cases where their own self interest prevents them changing their attitude for the common good.

      6. j.bourne
        Coat

        Re: Good work MET Police

        Or purchasing said drones : or if already in posession - practice flying them, make plans for flight paths, charge the batteries etc.. etc.. The list of acts in furtherance of the conspiracy could go on and on. Seeing as they were planning for this weekend, it's highly probable that they've commited some act in furtherance of the conspiracy already.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good work MET Police

      The whole point of this stunt was publicity, and publicity is what they've got.

      If they had actually disrupted Heathrow, the criminal charges would probably have been worse, and they'd have lost (more) public opinion.

      So really, this is a best case scenario for the protestors. I'm sure their lawyers will be pointing out that they can't be particularly malicious if they all-but turned themselves into the police, so they'll probably get a relatively minor punishment, and they still get their story printed all over the place.

      tl/dr this was a successful troll.

      1. Bbuckley

        Re: Good work MET Police

        Nope if they have completely turned the citizens against them which they have monumentally succeeded in.

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: Good work MET Police

          (Patiently) That's not inconsistent with getting lots of publicity, though, is it now? Hmmm?

  2. Evil Harry

    There's protesting and causing disruption and then protesting and endangering life. While I don't necessarily disagree with their concerns about climate change, by threatening to deliberately fly drones in congested airspace, these idiots deserve to have the book thrown at them. And then the book shelf And then the library.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      These looms follow the simplistic, but inconveniencing thousands will make them thousands of enemies.

      They should be addressing the reasons people choose to fly, not the actual flying. The actual flying horse has bolted.

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        The actual flying horse has bolted.

        The problem with pegasuses (pegasi?) as a transport option is that their emissions aren't just CO2.

    2. 142

      There was no danger to life in the manner they chose to go about this: informing days in advance that the drones would be there, which gives sufficient time not only to close the runways, but to rebook passengers. It's massively disruptive, yes, but not dangerous. Hence the public nuisance charges, not terrorism or similar.

      1. Bbuckley

        You need to very carefully read the full comments here - you appear to be a tad out of touch with reality.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The comments in this thread read pretty much like a Daily Express thread condemning remoaners.

          Likewise for the author's.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But they didn't threaten that. They threatened to fly them no more than 6 foot of the ground and not on the runway centre lines. So essentially a symbolic protest. Standing with a placard on a pole saying 'save the planet' would presumably been a greater hazard - but wouldn't get the same media attention.

      Anyway - nice to find something that unites El Reg's swivel eyed reactionary side. What will we all do if they come back and threaten to fly trained vultures over the airport?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
        Stop

        Yeah because drones never go wrong, and pilots never fuck up. So it would be perfectly safe to have them flying around the restricted airspace of a runway and nothing could possibly go wrong.

        Great fucking idea!

        I congratulate them on their perspicacity!

        If only the rest of us were so brilliant and safety conscious no accidents would ever happen.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Oh yes - the 'why don't we think of the children' argument. With commercial drones having a potential flight speed of 60 km/hour and an endurance of 30 minutes, any drone flight within 30 kilometres of any airport is a clear and imminent danger.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Oh yes - the 'why don't we think of the children' argument.

            Nope. Try again.

            There's an exclusion zone for a reason. That exclusion zone is over-large, because air passenger safety is a generally conservative passtime, and they like to have a margin of error. Fuck around in their exclusion zone, go to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect £200.

            Plus, as well as the issue of malfunctions, we have the issue of trust.

            I don't trust fuckwits like this to safely operate drones in close proximity to air traffic. They're fucking banned from doing it for good reasons, but want to do it anyway - which instantly makes them untrustworthy idiots to be shunned.

        2. Tom Paine Silver badge

          So you advocate banning all quadcopter drones, then, do you? After all, accidents DO happen, don't they? Suppose one *waves hand* breaks free of it's programming and flies off over an airfield without the owner sending it there?

      2. imanidiot Silver badge

        Restricted airspace starts where the grass ends. It doesn't matter if you are 1 foot or 1000 foot of the ground. It's that simple.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          So don't skip or jump. Whatever you do don't play ball games.

          And that's really the point isn't it? Make a symbolic, but essentially safe protest, by breaking a regulation. Rather like cutting the fence at a nuclear base. Is it illegal? Yes. Will it threaten nuclear Armageddon? No.

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            like cutting the fence at a nuclear base. Is it illegal? Yes. Will it threaten nuclear Armageddon? No.

            And once you've done one illegal thing, how do we know you're not going to do some more?

            If you want to make a symbolic protest by a nuclear base, then you simply organise a demonstration by a nuclear base and wave your placards and chant to your hearts' content. Your democratic rights have been duly excercised - job done. Off home for tea and medals.

            1. Tom Paine Silver badge

              (GMS... )

              The whole point of civil disobedience is that people don't complain about getting nicked for it (unless they haven't really thought it through, in which case they're idiots.) No-one's seriously suggesting that the people who used to go round cutting holes in airfield fences wouldn't or shouldn't be nicked and prosecuted. That's not the idea

          2. Chet Mannly

            A protest that shuts down an airport isn't symbolic!

      3. Chet Mannly

        But their intention was to shut down flights, and it would have succeeded - the altitude is utterly irrelevant.

        Good on the police for stopping these nutbags from ruining hundreds of people's days and costing them thousands.

    4. Chet Mannly

      What they don't get is that this turns people off their causes. As more nutters do these stupid things it lowers the credibility of the environmental movement generally, and people will stop listening.

    5. MarkOS

      er, whose life has been endangered exactly?

      Everything they did was designed to prevent just such a thing from happening. As their bluff was not called, no life has actually been endangered, and it's not possible to prove that any would have been, had they not been nabbed ahead of time. It was a publicity stunt, and by some measure it has been very successful on that score.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "they were prepared to go to jail to carry out the action"

    Mission accomplished !

    Unfortunately, not all of them will be able to qualify for a Darwin Award. What a shame.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

    They don't need to when the police are going to arrest them before you can do it the massive plum. I'm trying to work out the logic here but it's just not coming to me, the only thing that comes to mind is herding cats.

    If these are the people trying to save the planet I'm afraid it's doomed.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

      Remember the story in El Reg a few months ago about the woman and her daughter who went to the police to get compensation for a hit-man who'd taken their money and not killed the ex-boyfriend?

      So wrong, on so many levels.

      I mean it's not the police who deal with consumer complaints - it's trading standards / consumer rights!

      Oh and also don't be surprised when the police arrest you for conspiracy to murder. D'oh!

      1. Steve K Silver badge

        Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

        So wrong, on so many levels.

        Like running through the Heathrow Main Car Park, naked with sparklers in every orifice, wearing a bishop's mitre...

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

          Like running through the Heathrow Main Car Park, naked with sparklers in every orifice, wearing a bishop's mitre...

          Careful. Wearing inappropriate ecclesiastical clothing is just getting into a bad habit.

    2. boltar Silver badge

      Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

      They are utter clowns, however its a pity the people running heathrow are only concerned about their own disruption. When it comes to profit they're quite happy to potentiallly disrupt the lives of millions to build an unnecessary new runway which will entail bullldozing villages, closing part of the M25 for a time and cause huge amounts of extra noise and pollution not only during building but once the runway is open. The hypocrisy is quite nauseating.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

        It's not an unnecessary extra runway. They're running the current two at something like 98% capacity. So a bit of fog, which requires more separation in landings means that flights have to be cancelled. So even if not making any extra flights they should really have a third runway. Which would also reduce the pollution from the massive stacks of planes circling the place waiting for a landing slot because they've got their a few minutes early.

        Not tha tthey won't then use it to have more flights and fill the capacity of 3 runways, so we're in exactly the same position in ten years time, but there are good reasons why a third runway should have been built 20 years ago.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

          It's necessary for BAA/BA's profits. It's necessary because I like my long weekends being cultural in Europe. But equally, it's not necessary. If it can't cope with current traffic levels cut the traffic, incidentally improving the lives of most of the rest of the world who won't have to put up with our sun-burned whinging/

        2. boltar Silver badge

          Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

          "Which would also reduce the pollution from the massive stacks of planes circling the place waiting for a landing slot because they've got their a few minutes early."

          Thats the same argument as build more motorways to solve congestion. Its been a proven failure for decades now. The western side of the m25 is 12 lanes wide near heathrow and STILL comes to a standstill in the rush hour. Widen the pipe - get more flow.

          "Not tha tthey won't then use it to have more flights and fill the capacity of 3 runways, so we're in exactly the same position in ten years time"

          Exactly. There are enough flights already. If putting a lid on it means that someone can't book a last minute holiday then thats just tough luck, there are more important enviromental concerns and leisure takes a back seat (unless you believe the fatuous rubbish about the new runway leading to more business with china).

          1. Chet Mannly

            Re: To our knowledge Heathrow has done nothing to warn passengers or airlines yet

            "Thats the same argument as build more motorways to solve congestion. Its been a proven failure for decades now"

            Sorry that's rubbish - motorway upgrades allow for more cars to travel during a given period.

            "Exactly. There are enough flights already...unless you believe the fatuous rubbish about the new runway leading to more business with china)."

            Firstly, if you don't want to take more flights then don't, it's your choice. Please stop trying to make decisions for the rest of us. And if you don't believe Chinese tourist numbers I suggest you go anywhere in Europe - there are throngs of Chinese tourists everywhere, and the numbers are growing.

  5. Chris G Silver badge

    Possibly the best thing they could do for the environment, is to remove themselves from it. At least that would be a bit less CO2 being emitted.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      The thing to remember with the eco-loon crowd is that despite what they’d have you believe it’s not that they love nature - rather, that they loathe humanity and civilization.

      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

        But

        I suspect this lot are working for BP or some such.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Not unsympathetic

        To their cause but threatening to use what is effectively a dangerous weapon is by its definition "conspiracy" however in this case if they want their day in court then so be it.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius

      @Chris G

      Not just CO2 but hot air in general.

      It is time the authorities listened to the geologists and not the eco-freaks. Geology tells us the history of planet Earth. In particular, for most of the time since the Cambrian era, 550 million years ago, the planet has been much warmer than it is now. Ice ages have come and gone without human intervention. So there are natural reasons why the climate varies from one epoch to another, and these natural causes dwarf any human effort. That means all these eco-carbon policies are a complete waste of time, effort, and money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        And you base that on what? A man you met on Reddit? We know about the 'natural causes' of climate change.A lot of geologists spend all their careers studying the cause and effects. That's why we know the risks imposed by our current climate experiment. The only geologists who don't publicly accept that climate change is a real risk are those whose salary comes from the more reactionary oil well owners, and most of them aren't deniers, they are just sitting like the rest of us on a spectrum of 'it's real but what can little old me do'

  6. JimC

    The thought processes

    Involved in meeting with the police beforehand to discuss your crime are a little beyond me. Mind you they'll probably manage to persuade some daft jury not to convict them.

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: The thought processes

      Well, they do seem to have gross incompetence going for them....

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: The thought processes

        & not the police for a change either.

    2. quxinot Silver badge

      Re: The thought processes

      >Mind you they'll probably manage to persuade some daft jury not to convict them.

      What scares me is that they may persuade some daft voters to elect them.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: The thought processes

      "The thought processes involved in meeting with the police beforehand to discuss your crime are a little beyond me"

      Because this way they get lots of publicity but a very light sentence, and they don't get negative publicity from actually disrupting anything.

      win/win

  7. Teiwaz Silver badge

    These are not the drones you're looking for.

    And if this group are just the red herring and there's another group preparing to do the same that don't advertise beforehand.

    Think of the ruckus then....it's not as if it wouldn't take more than a brief sighting of some drone at Heathrow for a repeat of the Xmas chaos.

    Just a thought.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: These are not the drones you're looking for.

      Well if they're part of that conspiracy, then why hand themselves into the police? But if they are, then they will get to disrupt Heathrow, but the instead of the light sentences they'll probably now get - if not just cautions - they'll probably get the book properly thrown at them and jail time.

      1. Carpet Deal 'em Bronze badge

        Re: These are not the drones you're looking for.

        If there is a "real" conspiracy, they're probably patsies who don't realize they were being played.

    2. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: These are not the drones you're looking for.

      It doesn't actually even require a sighting of a drone. Given there's still no evidence at all anyone actually saw one. A kite with some LEDs in the twilight will achieve the same thing (Also illegal to do btw), or possibly even just a frisbee with some LEDs and a strong arm.

  8. justanotherguynamedtony

    Conspiracy to commit a public nuisance...

    Great, now I've got Alice's Restaurant playing non-stop in my head.

  9. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

    Odd

    Where are all the people that insist that drones aren't a risk to aircraft, or that when people spot them near airports it's all a conspiracy? The ones that bang on about the relative weights of drones v 747s, the lack of evidence after possible collisions and so on?

    Is it too much to hope that there were only 5 of them and they're now all in jail?

    1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

      Re: Odd

      Some kids/accidental flights of a toy or a balloon probably are not. Some actual nefarious uses, yes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Odd

      Not sure what your point is? Is it a good idea to bash a kilo of plastic and a li-ion battery into an object moving at 200 miles an hour? Clearly not. Will such an event inevitably result in Hollywood style tumbling over the edge of quarry and fuel tank explosion? Hopefully not, though clearly it might if the holes in the cheese lined up in an unfortunate way (Concorde....)

      Is there an ounce of actual evidence that the Gatwick drones existed beyond UFO fanatic level blurry lights that no one managed to record?

      Anyway, good to know that bad people can't use flamethower equipped drones to cause havoc - as CAA sub-regulation 985 Paragraph B says you mustn't.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Odd

        Is there an ounce of actual evidence that the Gatwick drones existed beyond UFO fanatic level blurry lights that no one managed to record?

        From what I've read, there were confirmed, documented sightings of drones flying above Gatwick on that day.

        Unfortunately, the only confirmed, documented sightings were of drones the authorities were using to try to find the alleged illegal drones and their operators...

        1. GX5000

          Re: Odd

          There's a whole Documentary about the UK messing with the Yank using all modes of Drones and Balloons...Made so much sense.

        2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

          Re: Odd

          Is there an ounce of actual evidence that the Gatwick drones existed beyond UFO fanatic level blurry lights that no one managed to record?

          Ah there you are! You're late, I was expecting you yesterday. I presume you're not posting from jail so I guess there are more than five of you.

      2. Chet Mannly

        Re: Odd

        A bigger concern is if something more than a li-ion battery is strapped to it...

  10. Oengus Silver badge
    Joke

    "I’m a grandmother and I care deeply about…"

    Damn, these idiots have already passed their genes on to two generations.

    1. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

      My thoughts exactly "I’m a grandmother" means they are resposnible for two generations of consumers. THEY are causing the problem they are ranting about.

      I'm sick of environmentalists who are breeders. First 'R' of the three R mantra is 'Reduce' and it's no use if the population reduces it's consumption while the population increases, we need to reduce the number of mouths to feed.

      BTW, I'm 50 and have no children, because it's the most environmentally friendly thing I could think to do.

      1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

        Breeders and their damage to the environment......

        Indeed....

        And it was jolly nice of them to try to avoid disruption to families and holidaymakers, since that is the very demographic which is increasing it use of air travel and needless flights......

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Flights and Environment

          Whenever anyone goes on about climate change and the environment, I find it rather sad that the poor car drivers (which, lets face it, is how 95% * of us get to work and actively contribute to the economy) gets the blame. Yet, it was undeniably proved in the days after Sept 11 (2001) that with massive reductions in air travel the planets temperature dropped measureably, within a few days. If we were serious about climate change we would have either a total ban on air travel, or a massive tax to put it out of the reach of all but the most determined travellers. But that would upset lots of plebs going on cheap holidays and cost thousands of jobs, so is politically a non-starter, despite being an obvious benefit.

          * 95% - a figure I just made up on the spot.

          1. Wellyboot Silver badge

            Re: Flights and Environment

            >>>*95% - a figure I just made up on the spot<<<

            Made up figures are often as reliable as official ones.

  11. David Gillies

    Tarquins and Jemimas, the lot of 'em

    Sod off, Swampy.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Drones

    This is just going to result in a ban on drone sales isn't it.

    1. OssianScotland Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Drones

      And radio-controlled aircraft, and probably plastic model kits (just to make sure)

      Icon for over-reaction...

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Drones

        Probably also those styrofoam-and-elastic-band 2-piece aeroplane kits that were given away in birthday party bags when I were a lad, too. One of those sucked into the intake of a jet engine could cause massive, Michael-Bay-esque explosions and global chaos.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Re. Drones

    Balloons, helium cylinders, kites, "toy" IR 'copters with a range of 15 feet, gliders.

    Add to that laser pointers, torches, fire, sharp stones.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Trollface

      Re: RE: Re. Drones

      I had sort of the same thought. Except my version was that we take all the environmentalists, strap them to deckchairs, and tie lots of helium balloons onto them. Then float them above the Heathrow runway on the busiest day of holiday flights.

      That way they get to make their point with lots of publicity, and everyone gets to take a chance on what the best policy is. Sort of like medievel trial by combat.

      If the planes all crash and the evil environment-raping holidaymakers die - then we change our policy to ban flying. The campaigners win, and can have that inscribed on their tombstones, we've reduced the population a bit and got rid of some of the more annoying members.

      If the planes swat them out of the sky and continue on to land safely, then God has decided that flying is fine.

      If nothing happens then we allow drone flights around airports and make the sky a free-for-all, then equip all commerical aircraft with gun turrets for self-protection.

      Bonus you can get a cheap ticket for your holiday if you agree to be the rear gunner.

      Everyone's a winner.

  14. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Joke

    Thanks Reg!

    Thanks to your heading image, we now know who closed down the airports! It was the photographer trying to get that perfect shot above!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn 'em

    Burn them at the stake. But don't forget to pay for your carbon offset, people.

  16. ZenCoder
    FAIL

    They are childish idiots ... but at least they showed concern for public safety.

    See title.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've built a "B Ark" from recycled paper and hemp string

    It's currently above Beachy Head, ready for "takeoff".

    All activists and vegans welcome aboard.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Devil

      Re: I've built a "B Ark" from recycled paper and hemp string

      No! You can't kill the vegans!

      They're organic, free range, and will make perfect long-bacon and long-pork.

  18. Jove Bronze badge

    Good news ...

    ... treat them, their backers, their funders, and those that helped with the organisation as the Terrorists they are.

    1. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: Good news ...

      You are free to down-vote, but if it was you plane that they attacked, with you and/or your family on it you would soon change your tune.

  19. pavel.petrman

    Using consumer grade drones

    ... one of the latest pinnacles of availability of very sophisticated technology to complete morons which itself wouldn't be imaginable, let alone possible, hadn't it been for the decades of industrialization these people are so bent on protesting against.

    Now please let me eat this tin of tuna to protest against overfishing our oceans!

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    conspiracy to commit a public nuisance

    interesting mix of words, CONSPIRACY to commit a NUISANCE...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    stupendously stupid actions

    stupendously stupid stunt, more like :)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a bad idea

    while it is just a bad idea in the current context, if (IF) we're all doomed because we fucked up climate beyond recovery, looking back, this "bad idea" would be considered one of the LEAST DISRUPTIVE and rather mild, given what actions are really required to stay cool. If there's anyone to consider anything past how to survive another day ;)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spouting idiotic nonsense is not one of those ways

    hear hear! Reminds me of this brexit thingy, "no brexit is not one of those ways", say the wise men and women. Well, fucking great, genius, even I know that. Come up with what IS one of those ways, eh? :(

  24. GX5000

    We gave everyone a Voice and Agency - What were you thinking?!

    THE AMOUNT OF USEFUL IDIOTS IN THE LAST FEW DECADE IS TOO HIGH.

    No seriously I need a portal to the 50's...

  25. Nikki Radir

    So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

    One comment on here seems to sum up the attitudes of most contributors:

    "If these are the people trying to save the planet I'm afraid it's doomed."

    While I agree that this is an own goal for the people concerned, I can't help but think forward a few years to those of current adult generations ('us') being asked: "What did you do in the great struggle to reverse climate heating, (Great-)Grandad/Grandma?" I can't see anyone here coming up with suggestions.

    The author of this piece, Kieren McCarthy, understandably slags off the protestors, but at least says:

    "Of course, climate change ... is a serious issue; one that can and should be tackled in a multitude of different ways". He doesn't name any, however.

    My spouse and I are currently conducting a review of what we can do ... thinking that it's all very well signing up for a 'green' electricity tariff, but that was 10 years ago and I'm still commuting in an ICE car! We'll probably buy a BEV in 2020 to replace it, but what can we do to help put pressure on the big energy companies, to make them stop their egregious campaigns of misinformation and just 'leave it in the ground'? Is it worth getting out at weekends to plant trees? What can we say to friends and family that would help? What political campaigns are constructive and might be effective?

    So then, I shan't be on the streets or trespassing anywhere on September 20th, but I am taking the day off to review what we know and decide on some next steps. If you understand my motivation, then wish me luck. If you don't, have another look at the evidence and use your imagination. Then think again.

    1. Blazde

      Re: So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

      Reading most of the comments here gives an even greater sense of the planet being doomed. My hat goes off to the protesters, for trying at least with good intentions. This probably wasn't the most efficient way to protest, primarily because the potential for long prison sentences means they may be out of action for a while. However they do have to try different tactics and see what works best, and it isn't always obvious ahead of time because successfully raising awareness which leads to greater action on climate change is itself a complex sociological problem.

      Green electricity tariffs are a bit of a con unfortunately. There's plenty of green energy produced in the UK now and not that many households on the tariffs so the green certificates are traded between energy companies for pennies (while they make a bit of extra profit selling the green tariff). The regulation needs to keep pace with change, eg. heavy taxes on non-green energy so that green energy tariffs becomes the norm not the flashy thing you pay a bit extra for.

      But sadly the last couple of UK governments believe the country has done enough simply by off-shoring the majority of our industrial emissions and replacing them with a nice big low carbon service sector as if that makes all our indirect emissions China's fault, and that somehow we'll be able to repeat that trick until 2050 when we'll be zero-carbon. Yea right.

      The change needs to come from government I think. The odd concerned consumer quietly buying an electric car or boycotting fossil fuel companies or flights isn't going to make a meaningful difference. Voting. Joining a party that's serious about climate change and campaigning for their relevant interest groups. Of course, joining XR protests without doing anything illegal is a good option too. Most of those out on the streets in April were not breaking the law.

    2. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

      We are more likely to be engaged in a full-scale world war before being affected by any of the alleged consequences of climate change - that should give rise to a few more pronounced changes than just getting a decent summer in the UK for a change.

      1. JimC

        Re: So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

        If we do get climate change to the predicted level then a full scale world war - or at least world wide regional conflicts - seems a likely consequence.

        1. Jove Bronze badge

          Re: So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

          And?

    3. JimC

      Re: So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

      Live within walking distance of work - and walk there

      Don't travel for holidays

      Don't have children

      1. Jove Bronze badge

        Re: So ... any constructive suggestions, then?

        @JimC:

        "Live within walking distance of work - and walk there

        Don't travel for holidays

        Don't have children"

        ... lives in a privileged fantasy world.

        1. JimC

          Re: privileged fantasy...

          On the contrary, apart from the children, that's how your great grandparents lived. We've built for ourselves this high energy consumption world where its utterly normal to waste kilo joules of energy because we've persuaded ourselves that long distance commuting is essential. Of course it isn't. People talk about thinking the unthinkable, but how much would CO2 emissions reduce if no-one travelled any further than their great grandparents did?

          1. Jove Bronze badge

            Re: privileged fantasy...

            As I said, you live in a fantasy world - one which is disengaged from the realities of over population, and and high density mega cities.

  26. DuncanLarge Silver badge

    Delusional

    > Another one of the idiots had this to say about himself in a press release: “I’m mainly doing it because I’m trying to be a human being. And I’m 53.

    > In a few decades I’m not going to be here anymore.

    Same here. Enjoy life while you can.

    > Maybe in a few years.

    What? Assuming you are not suggesting some Hollywood 2012 movie style natural disaster that you saw in a dream and thought was a premonition I'll tell you to eat a balanced diet and keep active. Problem sorted.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clearly sounds like the majority of commentards here won't be affected by climate change.

    Pull up the drawbridge.

    You grandchildren on the other hand, will look back and wonder why our generation repeatedly shot the messenger and carried on as if the gradual death of the planet was of little consequence.

    And the "grown ups" then have the audacity to criticise millenials for thinking of no one but themselves...

    1. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: Clearly sounds like the majority of commentards here won't be affected by climate change.

      You seem very confident of the predictions regarding the future.

      The same can be said of your expectations of the impact the proposed initiatives would have on the supposed problem.

      There is little that can be done for the younger generations while points of view are repressed for the sake of conformance to the narrow dogma of the few.

  28. Tom Paine Silver badge
    Boffin

    Controversial?

    It should be completely obvious that these won't be the last to attempt monkeywrenching in the name of reducing carbon emissions. I'm sure most of us could come up with a few movie plot ideas for relatively easy, low risk ways to cause noticeable impacts, especially if you posit that in 20 years' time the kids are going to be much more frightened and angry than the current crop of well-intentioned bourgeoise, and that a lot of them will be prepared to do a few months or years in jail. Let's just observe that CNI is, by definition, pretty distributed.

    What other methods do the angry commentards above suggest to cut carbon emissions?

  29. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

    "When I die"

    To quote:

    "And when I die, I want to know I haven’t lived a lie".

    Luckily for you - when you die you won't know anything because you'll be dead. As in "not existing any more". Any myth that people push about having some part of us living on after death[1] is just that - a myth.

    [1] Except our genetics. And even that only about 50%..

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