Greenpeace buys Heathrow land earmarked for airport’s third runway

Greenpeace buys Heathrow land earmarked for airport’s third runway

Campaigners opposed to a third runway at Heathrow have bought a parcel of the land earmarked for the airport’s expansion and are preparing for a fierce legal battle to defend it.

The Government is expected to approve the new runway this week, along with a sixth terminal – although there was speculation last night that a decision could be delayed after Gordon Brown agreed to meet Labour backbenchers opposed to the project. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats both oppose the plans, as do dozens of environmental groups.

Greenpeace has bought a field the size of a football pitch and plans to invite protesters to dig networks of tunnels across it, similar to those built in the ultimately unsuccessful campaign against the Newbury bypass in 1996. The group also plans to divide the field into thousands of tiny plots, each with a separate owner. BAA, the airport’s owner, would be forced to negotiate with each owner, lengthening the compulsory purchase process.

Greenpeace believes that the longer the expansion is delayed, the more likely it is that the project will be cancelled.

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