Protestors make pollution point

CAMPAIGNERS gathered at a Suffolk airbase yesterday to protest about the level of carbon emissions from American planes.

CAMPAIGNERS gathered at a Suffolk airbase yesterday to protest about the level of carbon emissions from American planes.

The group paid a surprise visit to RAF Mildenhall's main gate to make a point about the impact of aircraft pollution on the environment.

They highlighted the level of carbon emitted by many of the aircraft on the base, which is home to a refuelling and support wing of the United States Air Force.

The protesters claimed one refuelling plane on the base uses 44 gallons of fuel a minute and is the equivalent of 2,000 cars on the road.

On average, they said, the 15 carriers at RAF Mildenhall each fly 435 hours a year, which the group estimated would produce over 160million kg of carbon a year.

Mell Harrison, a protestor with Theatre of War group and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), said: “We are here to show that military aircraft can not only carry out terrible attacks but also commit crimes against the planet.

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“You very rarely hear about the vast amounts of carbon dioxide military emit and at a time when we should all be accountable for our carbon footprint we should not be fighting wars over oil resources.”

Fellow campaigner Peter Lux said: “Even if you don't believe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are as counter productive as we do, there is still a large amount of unnecessary flying.”

Many of the protestors marched from “the climate camp”, which is permanently based on the fringes of RAF Mildenhall.

A spokeswoman for RAF Mildenhall said aircraft fuel consumption and performance was an issue for its procurement decision-makers in Washington.

She said: “The air force tries to be a good steward of the environment and we understand the protestors' concerns but we must balance that with completing our mission.”

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