Climate change protestors buy up Heathrow land

A coalition of climate change protestors, led by Greenpeace, has purchased land earmarked for the proposed construction of a third runway at Heathrow Airport.

The land, approximately the size of half a football pitch, is located in the village of Sipson, with Greenpeace protestors expected to occupy the site with the intention of delaying construction.

The Department for Transport is expected to announce its support for a third runway and sixth terminal at the airport later this week.

However, both the Conservative party and Liberal Democrats are opposed to the plans, with speculation mounting last night any decision could be now delayed following prime minister Gordon Brown's decision to meet Labour backbenchers opposed to the scheme.

Greenpeace is expected to construct a network of tunnels at the site ? mirroring tactic initially employed against the Newbury bypass in the 1990s.

The charity also plans to divide ownership of the land into many sub-plots, with a number of different owners, forcing the BAA, the airport's owner, to negotiate with a host of individuals and lengthening the compulsory purchase process.

Actress Emma Thompson, Tory front-bench spokeswoman Justine Greening and environmental advisor Zac Goldsmith, Liberal Democrat MP Susan Kramer and comedian Alistair McGowan have all purchased land at the site for an undisclosed fee.

Ms Thompson branded the plans "laughably hypocritical" when considered alongside the government's plans to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, while Mr McGowan added the plans would "decimate" low lying nations.

John McDonnell, the local Labour MP at Heathrow, and environmental writer George Monbiot have also taken ownership of the land at the site.

Plans to increase capacity would see the number of flights at the airport increase from 480,000 to 720,000.

The Future Heathrow Group, which includes representatives of the BAA, the CBI, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the TUC, this week placed adverts in national newspapers advocating the expansion, claiming the British economy would suffer should plans be rejected.

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