CLIMATE CHANGE campaigners say they will protest on the day commercial flights begin at Carlisle’s revamped airport.

The Cumbrian branch of Extinction Rebellion has set a day for peaceful protests on July 4.

Protestors will meet at the entrance of Carlisle Lake District Airport from 7.30am on the crucial date, eagerly sought by business and political leaders.

They are protesting at what they say is the encouragement of taking non-essential flights which could easily be replaced with public transport.

A spokesman for Extinction Rebellion in Carlisle said: “This is largely symbolic- we are not intending to disrupt the airport’s business, merely to highlight our opposition to the trend of increasing the number of flights, which are so polluting and damaging to the climate.”

The airport has not been without setbacks in its route to commercial take-off.

Flights to London Southend, Dublin Airport, and Belfast City Airport were originally going to commence last year but a shortage of air traffic controllers and infrastructure issues pushed this back.

The return of commercial flights to Carlisle after more than 25 years of inaction has previously been celebrated by the Carlisle City Council, local business leaders, and the Aviation Minister.

For some, as the climate crisis has inched further into the national political agenda - the launch of flights out of the city is no longer a reason to celebrate.

The Carlisle City Council announcement of a climate emergency, and the general physical consequences of climate change, has prompted the activist group to question moves being made within the county.

In a statement announcing the protest day, the group described the move to go forward with the airport and with the coal mine as “short-sighted, dangerous and wrong-headed”.

The spokesman commented: “Carlisle council has declared a climate emergency and should be improving local public transport and safe cycle routes, rather than airport expansion.”

Stobart Group, which operates the airport, declined to comment.