Sunday 20 November 2016 9:15 am

Fifteen people charged over Heathrow expansion protest

The Met Police have charged 15 people following a protest at Heathrow Airport yesterday.

The police said they had been charged with wilful obstruction of the highway, following a protest near M4 Spur Road. All those charged have been bailed to appear at Ealing Magistrates Court on Thursday 22 December.

Heathrow expansion protesters were arrested after they blocked the motorway near the airport. Traffic was disrupted but there was no reported impact on flights.

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Those charged are: Isabelle Anderson, Simon Bramwell, Ian Bray, Graham Lewis, Thomas Harford, Sibi Moore, Madeleine Alli-sPetersen, Margaret Charnley, Antoine Thalmann, Henry Owen, Joanne Louise Bodimeade, Alexis Delage, Sophia Lysaczanko, Tom Venner-Woodcock and Tess Lotter.

A Back Heathrow spokesperson said:

These protesters do not represent the majoirty of residents who value Heathrow as a major employer and force for good in the local area. 

53,000 local residents responded to a public consultation to say they backed a new runway at Heathrow while just 161 supporters of Stop Heathrow Expansion wrote to the consultation opposing it.

Protesters from the environmental organisation Rising Up! also locked themselves together as they blocked the East Ramp road near the airport. 

Read more: Heathrow chairman wants other airports given the green light for expansion

A Heathrow spokesman had warned passengers to allow extra time to travel or to use public transport where possible.

A spokesman for Rising Up! said: "The government's decisions to expand Heathrow, despite mass opposition from local residents and the fact that doing so is incompatible with the UK's own laws on climate change, leaves us with no morally acceptable option but to resist."

Heathrow expansion was given the green light by the government last month, after numerous delays to the decision-making process.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling also said expansion will only be allowed to proceed "on the basis of a world class package of compensation and mitigation worth up to £2.6bn". This will include community support, insulation and respite from noise.