Heathrow protest followed by land grab

By staff writers
January 13, 2009

Campaigners fighting the expansion of London's Heathrow airport have opened a new front today, announcing that they have bought land earmarked for the construction of a third runway.

It comes after protests yesterday, involving Christian Ecology Link, at Heathrow and Manchester Airports attended by between 250 (police estimate) and 600 people.

Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson is among those involved in the new purchase, which threatenes to throw a spanner into the nine-billion-pound expansion plan.

They said they would fight any attempts to buy the land by compulsory purchase, and Thompson added: "We'll stop this from happening even if we have to move in and plant vegetables."

The government's decision on whether to expand Heathrow, the world's biggest international passenger air hub, is expected within weeks.

More than 40 MPs from the Labour party and London mayor Boris Johnson are opposed, arguing there is no economic need for a third runway and it will increase pollution.

Yesterday about 250 anti-expansion protesters, including Christians, organised a ‘Climate Rush’ at Heathrow dressed in clothes in the style of the early 1900s.

Some dressed as suffragettes, the activists who campaigned to get women the vote and whose peaceful tactics they sought to emulate.

Ruth Jarman of Christian Ecology Link said: “Everyone now agrees that the suffragettes were right in their call for voting rights for women. A hundred years from now there will be no doubts that the climate campaigners were right in their demand for no airport expansion. But this time it is more than a matter of justice, it is a matter of survival.”

With a string quartet playing in the background, the activists chatted, sang and sipped from champagne glasses.

"We are trying to emulate what our ancestors did for us to make a positive change, in a civilised fashion, for future generations," said campaigner Dan Glass, who was dressed as a chimney sweep.

"We have got to do something now because if we don't, the situation will get so much worse."

A simultaneous protest attended by about 50 people took place at Manchester airport.

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