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Greta Thunberg joins protest against Farnborough Airport expansion

Greta Thunberg joined Extinction Rebellion activists in Farnborough to protest against plans to expand an airport.

Farnborough Airport Ltd has submitted a planning application to Rushmoor Borough Council to increase the number of flights from 50,000 to 70,000 a year.

The Swedish climate activist marched alongside local residents, members of Extinction Rebellion and climate change campaigners from Farnborough town centre in Hampshire to Farnborough Airport.

The group set off pink smoke flares and waved banners during the march.

The protesters called for a total ban on private jets, which they said are up to 30 times more polluting than passenger airlines.

Ms Thunberg told Sky News: "We are protesting against private jets and the expansion of the Farnborough Airport in a climate emergency.

"We need everyone who can to raise their voice about this. We need every single person to push for the right direction."

She added: "How are we going to get the message across if we don't cause disruption?

"The climate justice movement has been trying to get our message across for decades and we are still speeding in the wrong direction."

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Sarah Hart, 42, an office assistant from Farnborough, told the Press Association: "As a local resident and a mum of two I am utterly appalled at the airport's plan to expand when we should be banning private flying completely.

"We need to be taking drastic steps to ensure a liveable world for all our children, not increasing our use in fossil fuels."

The airport's plans would also see an increase in non-weekday aircraft movements from 8,900 to 18,900 per year and allow heavier aircraft to use the airport if approved.

Farnborough Airport said its environmental footprint is "a fraction that of a traditional commercial airport", yet it serves as one of the largest employment sites in the region.

Rushmoor Borough Council is set to consider the plans in March.