Greta Thunberg Joins Protest Against Farnborough Airport Expansion

Greta Thunberg joined Extinction Rebellion activists in Farnborough to protest against plans to expand the local airport that is a major hub for private jets.

Farnborough Airport Ltd has submitted a planning application to Rushmoor Borough Council to increase the number of flights from 50,000 to 70,000 a year.

The Swedish climate activist marched alongside local residents, members of Extinction Rebellion Waverly and Borders and climate change campaigners from Farnborough town centre in Hampshire to Farnborough Airport. Other groups represented included Stay Grounded, Flight Free, Bristol Airport Action Network and Greenpeace and were accompanied by XR Rhythm drummers.

The protesters called for a total ban on private jets, which they said are up to 30 times more polluting than passenger airlines.

Ms Thunberg said “We are protesting against private jets and the expansion of the Farnborough Airport in a climate emergency. We need everyone who can to raise their voice about this. We need every single person to push for the right direction. She added: How are we going to get the message across if we don’t cause disruption? The climate justice movement has been trying to get our message across for decades and we are still speeding in the wrong direction.

Todd Smith, an Extinction Rebellion spokesperson and co-founder of aviation workers group Safe Landing, said: “The cost of heating our homes, buying food and paying our bills has increased massively. So imagine looking out our windows to see yet more private jets flying billionaires around. Is this a fair society that we live in, or is there one set of rules for the majority, and another for the elites? Plans to expand the UK’s largest private jet airport seem to make this clear.”

Sarah Hart, 42, an office assistant from the town, said she was “utterly appalled at the airport’s plan to expand when we should be banning private flying completely”.

An airport spokesperson called it an “important gateway for business aviation connectivity with the majority of flights being operated for business and corporate travel purposes. The airport’s environmental footprint is a fraction that of a traditional commercial airport, yet it serves as one of the largest employment sites in the region,” they said.

Rushmoor borough council will consider the plans in March.

(Extracts from BBC News and Sky News)