Published On: Wed, Mar 13th, 2024

Tourists travelling to Europe warned to check flights as protests throw travel into chaos | World | News

A series of environmental protests this week are forcing tourists to check their travel plans in case their flights get cancelled.

Airports across Europe have seen environmental protesters from a coalition of 20 organisations strike sites across the continent and the UK.

These protesters are demanding a reduction in the number of flights from France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, and the UK and for the cap to be below 2019 levels.

In a statement, they said: “We, the victims of airport nuisance and present and future victims of global warming, call on our governments and on Europe to follow the necessary path opened up by the Netherlands by finally taking concrete measures.”

The measures proposed by the group include reducing how many flights take off and bringing down CO2 emissions, air pollution, and noise pollution as well as enforcing curfews at airports.

The protests are taking place across two days, March 13 and Friday, March 15 ahead of talks later this week. One of the organisations campaigning for a reduction in flights is the Stay Grounded campaign group.

Protests are set to occur at Paris‘-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Madrid-Barajas, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Schiphol, and London Heathrow.

Speaking to Euro News Green, spokesperson Magdalena Heuwieser said: “Aviation is the fastest way to fry the planet. Taking one flight generates more emissions than many people around the world emit in an entire year. We need to urgently cap flights at airport level.”

In a statement ahead of the protests, the group said: “Tens of millions of people suffer from aircraft noise and pollution day and night. Noise is a major public health problem, causing sleep disorders, cognitive problems, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

“In France alone, its social cost has been estimated at €6.1billion (£5.22billion) a year. Yet none of Europe’s airports are actually complying with the European directives and regulations that require them to draw up plans to reduce air noise.”

The protests come a few weeks after Schipol Airport in the Netherlands announced a series of measures to bring down its carbon footprint. These include additional taxes on private flights and business class passengers alongside measures to prevent carbon leakage which formed part of their report on the impact of airports on pollution.

In response, Stay Grounded’s Ms Heuwieser said: “These measures are a great deal more realistic about the scale of change needed than most industry proposals are.

“Aviation is the pinnacle of climate injustice, with 1% being responsible for 50% of aviation emissions. It is mostly the global elite who are super-emitters, and they should pay for it via taxes and extra charges for business class.

“[We] need a ban on private flights as well as short-haul flights, a frequent flying levy and clear caps on flights at airports.”

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