Friday, May 25, 2007

Climate Camp Location Released: Heathrow!

So I said that I would post more information about the climate camp soon.

Here it is, the location is: Heathrow!

I didn't want to preempt the press release, now that this has been done, you can all make your plans to come to the camp from the 14th-21st August.

"Revolting middle classes join eco-warriors"

The Times

Members of the public are set to join forces with radical protesters in unprecedented campaigns of direct action if the Government persists with proposals for the biggest reform of planning for 20 years.

As climate change campaigners announced plans to set up a protest camp at Heathrow this summer, mainstream environmental groups, which usually frown on such tactics, insist that plans to restrict public consultation on major developments will lead to a dramatic increase in direct action and civil disobedience.

Moderate groups such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), the Ramblers Association and the RSPB have formed a “planning disaster coalition” to campaign against ambitious proposals to fast-track the construction of nuclear plants, airports, motor-ways and waste incinerators, and allow the spread of out-of-town shopping centres.

They argue that plans to set up an independent commission to take the final decision on major developments, outlined in the Government’s White Paper on Monday, will remove parliamentary accountability, cut out consultation at local level and make it far easier for controversial projects to go ahead.

Friends of the Earth, which usually eschews direct action, is predicting a return to “Swampy tactics”. Swampy, real name Daniel Hooper, became a media darling in 1996 when he was the last “mole” to be forcibly removed from a tunnel dug to protest against the planned Newbury bypass in Berkshire.

Marina Pacheco, head of planning at the CPRE, said: “We are having a fortnight of direct action this summer. We are suggesting to our branch members that they get creative to raise the profile of the White Paper.

“We are suggesting that they hold events in areas at risk. Our membership is quite middle class so I don’t think there will be anything really extreme.”

Patrick Grady, countryside campaigner for the Ramblers Association, said: “We usually encourage people to get involved in local campaigns, but if decisions are going to be centralised we will want to mobi-lise members in conjunction with other organisations. The coalition is hopeful that the Government will listen to us before this becomes a Bill.”

Christine Shilling of Notrag, No Third Runway Action Group, says it could be forced to rethink its policy of refraining from direct action in its campaign against Heathrow’s expansion.

She said: “We view this as one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation ever contemplated in terms of civil liberties and individual human rights.

“Notrag is not involved in this camp at Heathrow as we have always ruled out direct action, but if our rights are taken away and we have no opportunity to voice our opinions then we’d have to think again.”

The Heathrow protest is being organised by The Camp for Climate Action, which was behind a 600-strong protest against the Drax power station in North Yorkshire last summer. Its organisers insist that the week-long Heathrow camp between August 14 and 21 will be peaceful, although some are said to be planning disruption inside terminal buildings.

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