Climate campaigner fined £5,000 for breaking embargo on Heathrow ruling

A lawyer and climate campaigner who revealed the Supreme Court’s decision on Heathrow’s third runway a day before it was made public has been fined £5,000 for contempt of court.

Tim Crosland, director of environmental campaigning organisation Plan B Earth, avoided jail for breaking an embargo on the court’s judgment allowing Heathrow’s appeal over controversial expansion plans in December.

Mr Crosland, who previously worked for the Serious Organised Crime Agency, described breaking the embargo as “an act of civil disobedience”, adding: “I have no choice but to protest the deep immorality of the court’s ruling.”

Tim Crosland contempt of court hearing
Tim Crosland outside the Royal Courts of Justice (Sam Tobin/PA)

On Monday, three Supreme Court justices found Mr Crosland in contempt and fined him £5,000 for his “deliberate and calculated breaches of the embargo”.

Lord Lloyd-Jones, sitting with Lord Hamblen and Lord Stephens, said Mr Crosland “wanted to demonstrate his deliberate defiance of the prohibition and to bring this to the attention of as large an audience as possible”.

The judge acknowledged Mr Crosland’s concerns about climate change, but added: “These matters do not assist the respondent (Mr Crosland) in relation to the issue as to whether there has been a contempt of court.”

Speaking outside of the Royal Courts of Justice in London before the hearing, Mr Crosland, who arrived with a small suitcase, said he was prepared to go to jail and had packed his toothbrush just in case.

He told the PA news agency: “The Government knew the consequences of breaching that limit would be devastating for all our young people, for the global south, and they kept that information away from public view in order to smooth the progress of the £14 billion project to expand Heathrow Airport, and so I decided to blow the whistle.”