UK police confident Heathrow climate protest will not bring chaos
LONDON: British police said they were confident an attempt by climate change activists to disrupt London's Heathrow airport with toy drones from Friday (Sep 13) would not lead to a repeat of the chaos seen at Gatwick last December.
Drone sightings at Gatwick, Britain's second-busiest airport, led to about 1,000 flight cancellations and disrupted the travel plans of 140,000 passengers in the run-up to Christmas.
The Heathrow Pause group plans to fly toy drones from 2am (GMT, 10am Singapore time) on Friday within a 5km restricted zone around the airport but outside the flight paths of the airport, a step the group said would force the airport to ground flights.
"I'm very confident that we've taken the learning from Gatwick," said London police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor on Wednesday.
"The aviation industry and national policing have been working hard to look at measures to mitigate those issues we saw at Gatwick and I'm confident in the tactics that we've got in place that we won't see a repeat of what happened at Gatwick," he told reporters.
Taylor declined to discuss specific tactics but said the police had robust plans in place which included the ability to detect and identify drones and also the use of counter-drones.
"If people come to the airport intent on committing criminal activity they will be arrested," he said.