Plane Stupid protesters say their actions were 'necessary' after causing two flight cancellations, 75 people to miss their flight, and hours of traffic chaos after blockading the entrance tunnel to Heathrow Airport with a van.
The self-proclaimed Heathrow Tunnel Trio, who are Esme Waldron, 23, and Alistair Cannell, 26, both from Brighton, and William Pettifer, 27, from Radford, Somerset, were fined at Uxbridge Magsistrates Court on Tuesday (April 19).
They pleaded guilty on the same morning blockading the entrance tunnel to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3 on November 26 last year.
The court heard how on at 7.45am on November 26, police were called to reports of a white Nissan van causing an obstruction to the tunnel into Heathrow Airport .
Police found the three defendants chained to the van and traffic was at a standstill.
Cannell had attached himself to the nearside wheel of the vehicle, Waldron had attached herself to the offside wheel and was lying on a carpet, whilst Pettifer was attached to the vehicle at the front via a metal bolt.
When police asked Pettifer how long he intended to be there, he replied with 'as long as possible'.
It took four hours and 29 minutes for traffic to return to normal after the incident, with two flights cancelled, 75 people missing their flight and 200 car parking customers disrupted.
Addressing District Judge Deborah Wright, who heard the trial of the Plane Stupid Heathrow 13, who were spared jail after chaining themselves to Heathrow railings, Mr Jacob Bindman, defending all three, explained they were of previous good character.
He told the court how the tunnel blockade was on the same day as a parliamentary debate on the third runway , and that after David Cameron going back on his promise of 'no ifs, no buts, no third runway' the debate was opened up again.
'They didn't set out to cause harm'
Speaking on behalf of the tunnel trio, Mr Bindman said: “You will already be aware of the issues raised through the previous trial.
“We don't have the money to compete with Heathrow Airport's advertising campaign and must resort to actions such as ours.
"The defendants were aware that they caused disruption and are sorry, however, they feel it was justified they did all they could to minimise disruption, such as driving slowly.
“They didn't set out to cause harm, it was never their sole intention but it was to draw media attention.”
Mr Bindman asked for a low fine due to their income being very low and should be in proportion to their earnings - one defendant is a student, one is a farm worker and one works in a bar.
DJ Deborah Wright Judge gave full credit to the defendants for guilty pleas and took a third off the original fine total.
Handing down the fine, DJ Wright told the protesters they showed a “spectacular lack of consideration” when they blocked the tunnel.
The trio must each pay a total of £305, consisting of a £200 fine, £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
'Better than I was expecting'
Speaking at the hearing, William Pettifer said: “It turned out better than I was expecting, I expected more.
“We will be continuing direct action – this won't put me off doing things that are necessary.
“I'm heading to Ende Gelande, a climate camp in Berlin in May.”
Cameron promised us "no ifs, no buts, no third runway."
"Locally, thousands of homes will be bulldozed and further afield a third runway would wreck government policy on climate change.
“When the government pushed for a third runway last time, it sparked a broad coalition of active campaigning, including civil disobedience like we are seeing again now."
The shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer added: "David Cameron promised us 'no ifs, no buts, no third runway', and if this government tries to bring it back from the dead, it is inevitable that they will face another huge battle."