Rose Rickford, a YUSU LGBT Officer, will stand trial later this yearfollowing her arrest at a 25-strong sit-in at Nottingham East Midlands Airport in September.
The sit-in, which lasted four hours and delayed up to 1,000 passengers, was part of the ‘Plane Stupid’ campaign aimed at drawing attention to the environmental damage caused by flying.
The 25 participants, who breached a parameterfence before holding a sit-in on the taxi-way between two cargo holds, were subsequently arrested and charged with aggravated trespass and causing a public nuisance. Five are also charged with causing criminal damage. All 25 will face trial later this year at Leicester Crown Court.
Several of the protesters, including Rose and her sister Ellen Rickford, say they were held in solitary confinement for 36 hours without being allowed to make a phonecall to inform anyone of their situation. Their houses were raided by police, and computers, mobile phones, diaries and address books were confiscated.
Rose Rickford claims that her 15,000 dissertation was stored on a computer which police seized from her student house in York.
Francis Rickford and Brendan Martin, parents of Rose and Ellen, spoke out on behalf of their daughters last month in an interview with The Observer.
The pair claimed that their daughters had been released at separate times late at night on September 25 following 36 hours of solitary confinement in a police station in Leicester.
The two were allegedly told not to talk to one another as a condition of their bail. Their money, keys and mobile telephones were confiscated. Frances Rickford said she was “particularly horrified at how the girls had been released in a way that seemed almost calculated to put them in the way of harm.”
Rose Rickford spoke to Nouse on Monday of her commitment to the battle against the aviation industry. She said: “Aviation is a hugely important issue if we’re going to save the planet and save human life.
“It’s the fastest growing source of C02 emissions, releasing 80 million tonnes of C02 per year, which is more than 10% of the UK’s total. Aviation on its own will exceed the government’s 2050 emissions target by 134%, even if we turn off all the lights and shut down all the factories.
“The fact is, 45% of the flights that leave Europe travel no further than 500 km, which is less than the distance between London and the Scottish border. There are obviously many far more sustainable ways of travelling that kind of distance.
“Despite this, the government is investing massively in the aviation industry, and obviously that’s just mad.”
When asked if she would be willing to face arrest again in the fight against aviation, Rickford said: “Basically, my attitude is that the situation of the planet is urgent, and we have to do all we can using peaceful means to get it on the agenda. Direct action is the way to do that, so yes, I will continue with this.”
‘Plane Stupid’ wants to bring short-haul flights to the fore in the battle against the aviation industry. To this end, it called a “day of action” for Monday November 6, during which the group claimed a number of national organisations planned major disruption to airports nation wide.