In response to a press statement made today (Thursday, 29 August) by protest group Heathrow Pause about their intention to fly drones within the airport’s restricted zone during a planned demonstration on 13 September, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, said:
“In response to the possibility that drones will be used to ground flights with the aim of disrupting flights and the travelling public, I want to be absolutely clear that the Met will do everything in its power to prevent and stop any such criminal activity.
“Heathrow Airport is part of our national infrastructure, and we will not allow the illegal activity of protestors to cause misery to thousands of air travellers. The dangers of flying drones in airspace used by airliners carrying passengers are stark and the consequences potentially very severe. Anyone caught illegally using a drone can expect to be dealt with in line with the law.
“We would urge anybody intending to join this event with a view to committing criminal activity, whether considered peaceful or not, to think twice. Protestors should note that endangering the safety of an aircraft is a very serious offence that can result in a long jail sentence.
“As recent drone incidents at airports have shown, drone use in restricted airspace has the capability to cause great disruption to the public at the airport being targeted and connecting airports internationally, and the Met takes its role in preventing that from happening very seriously.
“We will be deploying an effective policing plan around Heathrow to police and detect any illegal activity. This plan covers the unique challenges that come with a protest being held at an airport.
“We are determined to play our part in keeping Heathrow safe and minimising disruption to the area, and I want to reassure the public that we have a very experienced command team in place for this operation.”