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Heathrow drone protest: Police 'will prevent' disruption

Drone Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Activists plan to fly drones within the exclusion zone at Heathrow Airport on Friday

Police are "confident" they will be able to prevent any disruption caused by protesters who plan to fly drones near Heathrow Airport on Friday.

Climate change activist group Heathrow Pause aims to use devices within the no-fly zone as part of efforts to halt the airport's planned expansion.

The Met's Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said a "robust policing plan" had been put in place.

Protesters said they have "no choice" but to carry out the action.

Scotland Yard previously warned activists could face possible life sentences if they fly drones around the airport in a bid to ground flights.

"Anybody who turns up expecting to fly drones in that exclusion zone will be arrested," Mr Taylor reiterated.

"We can't compromise the safety of passengers."

While climate change activists have held a series of disruptive protests this year, such as those in central London in April, Mr Taylor said passengers who are due to fly from the airport will not be affected.

"I would urge people to come on Friday because we're going to do everything we can to prevent any disruption and I am confident we will be successful in that," he said.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Extinction Rebellion protesters held a demonstration outside Heathrow Airport on 19 April

Heathrow Pause, an Extinction Rebellion offshoot, met with Scotland Yard this week to discuss the action.

But campaigners said it would go ahead and have called on the prime minister to join them at the protest.

"We invite Boris Johnson to join us in flying a drone and showing his commitment to stopping Heathrow's expansion and addressing the climate and ecological emergency," the group said.

A spokeswoman for Heathrow previously said airport chiefs "agree with the need to act on climate change" but "committing criminal offences and disrupting passengers is counter-productive."

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