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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 13:17 GMT 14:17 UK
Airport campaigners pledge action
Friends of the Earth campaigns director Liana Stupples, Rising Tide's George Marshall and Greenpeace UK director Stephen Tindale
Environmental groups are among those backing the pledge
Anti-airport expansion campaigners are threatening to block roads and target firms financing plans for more runways at UK airports.

Seven groups, from green campaigners to residents' organisations, launched a website on Friday asking people to take part in peaceful protests.

They say it is a "statement of intent and call to action".

Last year's White Paper included plans for new runways at Heathrow, west London, and Stansted, Essex.

The government says it expects the number of passengers using UK airports to nearly treble within 30 years.

Rallies and road blocks

HACAN Clearskies, a Heathrow residents' group, says campaigners felt the government was not listening to them.

It has joined forces with environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth to launch the "Pledge Against Airport Expansion" website.

As of 1345 BST, 22 people had signed up and although none were yet pledging office invasions, one suggested taking the train on short-haul routes rather than flying.

Organisers say people are angry and they wanted to give them a chance to say what they are going to do about it.

The government recognises that the economic benefits of aviation must be balanced against the environmental impacts
Department for Transport
HACAN chairman John Stewart said: "This could involve anything from writing letters and attending rallies to taking non-violent direct action such as blocking roads to airports or invading the offices of finance companies that may be paying for new airports."

They expect more and more people to join as the government's plan become clearer.

Proposals include an extra runway at Stansted by 2011, a third runway for Heathrow by 2020, subject to pollution limits, expansion at Birmingham, East Midlands, Liverpool and Manchester subject to noise safeguards.

The Department for Transport says increasing numbers of people want to fly and it would be wrong to deny them the opportunity.

A spokesman added: "Air travel is essential to the UK economy.

Climate change

"The government recognises that the economic benefits of aviation must be balanced against the environmental impacts."

But Greenpeace UK director Stephen Tindale said the government was "in denial" about how airport expansion could affect climate change.

He added: "There is no technological fix on aviation. We simply have to reduce the amount we fly. It is time the government faced up to that."


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