"Massive spanner" in BAA plans
Opponents of a third runway at London Heathrow Airport have bought an acre of the land earmarked for the possible expansion.
The four protesters who have bought the land include Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson and impressionist Alistair McGowan.
The land is just south of the path of the proposed runway and north of the village of Sipson which will be demolished if the project goes ahead.
The land, about half the size of a football pitch, was bought for an undisclosed fee by a group of supporters of Greenpeace, the environmental pressure group.
The buyers have promised not to sell it either to BAA which owns Heathrow and is planning its expansion or to the UK government.
If BAA is forced to buy the land through compulsory purchase orders, it could severely delay the building of any new runway.
Greenpeace director John Sauven said: "We've thrown a massive spanner in the engine driving Heathrow expansion."
The new owners of the land have already given strips of the land to Conservative and Liberal Democrat spokeswomen Justine greening and Susan Kramer.
Both the Conservative and the Liberal Democrats political parties oppose the third runway at Heathrow.
The purchase of the land comes as the Labour government is poised to announce its decision on the increasingly controversial third runway this week.
UK business, trade union and aviation leaders yesterday (January 13) renewed their campaign in favour of the expansion, claiming it is vital for the British economy and will create thousands of jobs.
But more than 50 Labour MPs, many with constituencies around the airport, are against the development.
Demonstrators also gathered near the West London airport yesterday to start a week long peaceful protest against the project.
Ms Thompson, who won her Oscars for best actress in Howard's End (1992) and for her screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1992), was quoted by the BBC as saying: "I don't understand how any government remotely serious about committing to reversing climate change can even consider these ridiculous plans."
Mr McGowan was quoted as saying: "If it gets to the bulldozer stage, we'll be here getting in the way."
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