London’s Metropolitan Police has issued a statement in response to an announcement from environmental protest group Heathrow Pause.
An Extinction Rebellion offshoot, Heathrow Pause, has announced plans to fly toy drones within the airport’s no-fly zone on September 13, grounding all flights. It expects several hundred activists to take part.
In the statement, released on August 29, deputy assistant commissioner Laurence Taylor said, “In response to the possibility that drones will be used to ground flights with the aim of disrupting flights and the traveling public, I want to be absolutely clear that the Met will do everything in its power to prevent and stop any such criminal activity.
“Heathrow Airport is part of our national infrastructure, and we will not allow the illegal activity of protestors to cause misery to thousands of air travelers. The dangers of flying drones in airspace used by airliners carrying passengers are stark and the consequences potentially very severe. Anyone caught illegally using a drone can expect to be dealt with in line with the law.
“We will be deploying an effective policing plan around Heathrow to police and detect any illegal activity. This plan covers the unique challenges that come with a protest being held at an airport. We are determined to play our part in keeping Heathrow safe and minimizing disruption to the area, and I want to reassure the public that we have a very experienced command team in place for this operation.”
A Heathrow spokeswoman told the BBC that airport chiefs “agree with the need to act on climate change”, but that “this is a global issue that requires constructive engagement and action.
“Committing criminal offenses and disrupting passengers is counter-productive,” she added.