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Demonstrators breach perimeter fence at Heathrow to protest airport expansion

LONDON – Police detained more than a dozen climate change activists at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday after the demonstrators breached the perimeter fence to stage a protest on the northern runway.

Protesters from the group Plane Stupid say they entered the runway at 3:30 a.m. (0230 GMT Monday; 10:30 p.m. EDT Sunday) to challenge plans to expand Europe’s largest airport.

Police said in a statement that 13 demonstrators were arrested on suspicion of Aviation Act offences. All had been removed and remain in custody.

An independent commission concluded earlier this month that building a third runway at Heathrow would be the best way to give Britain the additional aviation capacity it says is urgently needed. Environmental activists are outraged by the results of the three-year study, saying that a new runway will make air quality worse and exacerbate climate change.

Heathrow has urged people travelling to check with the airlines before departure. Only 22 flights out of an average of 1,300 flights were cancelled, as both runways remained open.

However, flights throughout the day experienced delays because Heathrow operates at full capacity, and any disruption has knock-on effects.