The story featured two days ago in the Uxbridge Gazette:
Since then, the scale of the injunction BAA is seeking has become clear. They have targeted not only groups related to the forthcoming Camp for Climate Action, but also several campaign groups composed of local people opposing the airport's expansion, and even mass membership organisations like The National Trust, FOE, RSPB, Greenpeace, as well as the Campaign to Protect Rural England and others!
The injunction hearing which could see millions of people liable for arrest if they approach heathrow, will be heard next wednesday.
The Independent newspaper put the story frontpage today, and it's now been featured by BBC, Guardian, and other news sources. More details below:
Heathrow puts up legal barricades to keep away protesters
If you're a member of the National Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust or Friends of the Earth, then you could be banned from Britain's biggest airport. And the Piccadilly line. And parts of Paddington station. And sections of the M4. All because the authorities want to halt a protest against climate change...
By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Published: 27 July 2007
Five million people in peaceful environmental organisations such as the National Trust and the RSPB have become the subject of an extraordinary legal attempt to limit their right to protest.
In legal documents seen by The Independent, the British Airports Authority has begun moves that would allow police to arrest members of 15 environmental groups to prevent them taking part in demonstrations against airport expansion.
While the threat of terrorism and consequent security checks have been dominating the headlines during the start of the summer holidays, BAA has been planning a pre-emptive strike against environmentalists.
Next week, in response to a demonstration due to be held outside Heathrow airport, BAA will go to the High Court to seek judicial approval for an anti-environmentalist injunction, the terms of which are so wide they have provoked astonishment among the green movement. Any one of five million people in groups such as the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England could be arrested for travelling on the London Underground or possessing a kite.
Anyone failing to give 24 hours' notice of a protest could be arrested for travelling on sections of the motorway or from standing on platforms 6 and 7 at Paddington station to catch the Heathrow Express. The terms of the injunction would cover: "All railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line of the London Underground System ; the M4 and all service stations between and including junctions 3 and 6; and the M25 and all service stations between and including junctions 13 and 15..."
Civil rights campaigners claim the injunction, which will be heard on Wednesday, would put new limits on the right to peaceful protest. Liberty described the "massively wide ban" - which has no time limit - as ridiculously unenforceable. "The dangerous and undemocratic trend of large corporations seeking to trample the legal right to peaceful protest should be taken very seriously by the courts," the human rights group protested.
BAA insisted it had a duty to protect the travelling public from disruption during the holiday season and was not seeking to prevent legal protest. As part of the second annual Camp for Climate Action, up to 5,000 protesters were to pitch tents for a week at or near Heathrow from 14 August in protest at plans for a third runway that would increase flights by 50 per cent. A day of peaceful direct action, such as occupying an airline office, was planned but organisers have promised not to compromise safety or inconvenience passengers.
On Monday, BAA served an injunction on four protest leaders: Joss Garman from Camp for Climate Action and Plane Stupid; Leo Murray, of Plane Stupid; Geraldine Nicholson, of the Heathrow campaign group No Third Runway Action Group; and John Stewart, of Hacan and AirportWatch, an umbrella group of 10 environmental groups such as the RSPB, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the National Trust, whose members total more than five million people. Members of all the groups would be banned from setting up a camp at or in the vicinity of Heathrow and from carrying items including spades, saws, ropes, cables, aerosol cans, balloons, whistles and loudhailers.
The protesters would be allowed to gather at three protest points on the outskirts of the airport providing they did not exceed an as yet unspecified number, and gave their names, car registration plates and advance notice. They would not be allowed to use any megaphones, klaxons or sirens or go within 100 metres of any airport operation.
BAA said in a statement: "During the summer holiday period up to 200,000 people pass through Heathrow daily... These people would suffer as a result of any unlawful or irresponsible behaviour aimed at disrupting the smooth operation of the airport."
Mr Garman said that he was "stunned" at the breadth of the injunction. "It seems that having totally lost the argument on climate change they are resorting to bullying tactics. It is by far the biggest crackdown on civil liberties we have seen in terms of peaceful protest.
Martin Harper of the RSPB said: "It does seem extraordinary at a time when half of the country is knee deep in flood water and the Government is bringing forward legislation to tackle climate change that BAA is having to resort to bullying tactics to halt protests."
Why the airport has become a target
Activists are targeting Heathrow because of the threat posed to new climate-change targets by the planned expansion of airports nationwide. They believe the protests can influence aviation policy in the same way that the Newbury bypass protests in 1996 led to Labour calling a halt to the building of more roads.
At stake is the future of the world's busiest international airport. Heathrow currently has a limit of 480,000 flights a year. Allowing both existing runways to handle take-offs and landings and building a third runway could take that to 800,000 flights. Twelve local authorities in west London have formed the 2M group to oppose the plans which they say will leave a "constant rumble" over the homes of people in Kensington & Chelsea, Fulham, Richmond, Kingston and other areas. Members of the NoTRAG and Hacan Clearskies campaigning groups are also fighting the proposals.
The Government argues airport expansion is necessary to ensure continued economic growth. According to a study by Oxford Economic Forecasting last month, the planned airport expansion will increase GDP by £13bn by 2030, outweighing "climate change costs". A third runway would demolish the village of Sipson and part of Harmondsworth.
Bryan Sobey, 78, president of the Harmondsworth and Sipson Residents' Association, said: "It's a bit like ethnic cleansing without the guns. It will take an entire village and part of another village out of existence completely."
BAA seeks Heathrow green demo ban
The owner of Heathrow Airport, BAA, is seeking an injunction to ban protests by environmental groups opposed to plans for a third runway.
The Independent newspaper reports that the injunction would mean members of 15 groups could be arrested at the airport or on road or rail routes to it.
Civil liberties groups say it would put new limits on peaceful protest.
BAA insists it is seeking the ruling "to protect the operation of the airport and the safety of passengers".
Direct action by 'green' groups under the banner Camp for Climate Change was planned between the 14 and 21 August.
Organisers hoped as many as 5,000 people would take part, spending a week in tents outside the airport
A spokesman for BAA said 200,000 people a day passed through the airport during the busy August period, adding: "It is these people who would suffer as a result of any unlawful or irresponsible behaviour.
"We respect people's right to protest within the bounds of the law and airport bylaws, and we would invite protesters to similarly respect the rights of passengers travelling through Heathrow."
The Independent says the injunction requests the right for police to arrest anyone who fails to give 24 hours' notice of a protest.
They could be detained, the paper says, on sections of the M4 and M25 motorways, including service stations, which lead to Heathrow, and platforms six and seven at Paddington Station which serve the Heathrow Express rail service.
The Piccadilly underground line which runs to Heathrow would also be covered by the injunction, it adds.
The injunction is reported to have been served on Monday on the leaders of four campaign groups.
Among them is Airport Watch, an umbrella group which includes The Woodland Trust, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and Friends of the Earth.
Civil rights group Liberty said the injunction was an example of a "dangerous and undemocratic trend" by large companies to seek to limit the right to protest.
Leo Murray, from pressure group Plane Stupid, told BBC Radio Five Live he thought BAA was afraid of negative criticism.
"BAA are pretending that this is about protecting passengers or preventing some sort of security scare, " he said.
"But the reality is what they're really afraid of - and they should be worried - is thousands of people who are armed with peer-reviewed science which shows that their plans for expansion are totally incompatible with our plans for preventing climate change."
BAA said it had proposed several alternative sites at the airport "for the purposes of lawful and peaceful protest" which would be discussed at the injunction hearing.
The company, which owns seven UK airports, will go to the High Court next Wednesday.
GROUPS FACING THE BAN
Camp for Climate Action
No Third Runway Action Group
Aviation Environment Federation
Friends of the Earth
The Woodland Trust
World Development Movement
National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection
Heathrow asks court to block protesters
By David Millward, Transport Correspondent
# Terrorist threat to airport passengers
Britain's largest airport operator is to ask the High Court to block a climate protest which threatens to wreck the travel plans of nearly 1.5 million Heathrow passengers.
Up to 2,000 environmentalists are planning a day of direct action “aiming to disrupt the activities of the airport and aviation industry” next month.
It will take place during a week-long camp somewhere on the periphery of the airport which is due to start on August 14.
It will be the fourth August in a row that the airport has faced major problems.
Last year Heathrow was thrown into disarray by the thwarting of an alleged terror plot to down a transatlantic airline and two years ago British Airways operation came close to meltdown the year before because of an industrial dispute involving its caterers, Gate Gourmet and in 2004 holidaymakers faced lengthy delays because of a shortage of BA check-in staff.
The environmentalists’ decision to hold a protest has alarmed BAA, the owners of Heathrow, at a time when the airport is on a heightened state of terrorist alert.
It is feared that any disruption could add to the delays at the airport.
The all-party Transport Select Committee voiced fears that long queues of passengers could themselves be the target of a bomb attack.
Supporters of the protest include the campaign group “Plane Stupid”, which last year staged a demonstration on the runway at Nottingham East Midlands Airport.
The organizers of the Heathrow protest have pledged not to invade the runway on safety grounds, but refused to give any other information about the tactics they will adopt.
A spokesman for Plane Stupid said: “We can’t rule out disrupting the plans of holidaymakers.”
The protest is taking place during the height of the holiday season when around 200,000 people a day use Heathrow.
Even if there are only plans for one day of mass action, the week-long presence of a sizeable number of protesters is certain to cause disruption throughout.
BAA, which owns Heathrow, will seek a High Court injunction next week, in which the organizers of the protest will be banned from orchestrating demonstrations at a number of key areas at the airport.
Even if the protesters stay clear of the runways, they could still seek to block entrances to the terminals as well as disrupting road and rail traffic to Heathrow.
The demonstrators will decide on their course of action “democratically” after they have assembled in their ecological camp at an as yet unspecified location.
There are also fears that the demonstration could put an additional strain on police resources with an estimated 800 officers understood to be on standby to deal with the protest. BAA has contingency plans in place including erecting a series of marquees to accommodate any overspill, if access to Heathrow’s four terminals is impeded.
A spokesman for BAA said: “During the summer holiday period up to 200,000 people pass through Heathrow daily including many families and children.
“It is these people who would suffer as a result of any unlawful or irresponsible behaviour aimed at disrupting the smooth operation of the airport.
“We respect people’s right to protest within the bounds of the law and the airport bye-laws and would invite protesters to similarly respect the rights of passengers travelling through Heathrow.”
Airport campaigners face injunctions
By Manisha Mistry
CAMPAIGNERS opposing the expansion of Heathrow Airport are facing legal action to stop their planned week of protest.
Heathrow Airport Ltd has sent injunction documents to the chairman of HACAN, John Stewart and chairwoman of No Third Runway Action Group (NoTRAG), Geraldine Nicholson.
The company intends to ban the two leaders and everyone in the organisations they represent from attending the Climate Camp for Action and also hold them responsible for anyone from the campaign groups who gets involved in the event which is due to start on August 14.
Mr Stewart said: "I can't believe they have done this, it is stupid. The number of people involved in Climate Camp it affects is huge and we are going to fight this all the way."
A spokesman for BAA, said: "Heathrow Airport Ltd has applied for an injunction to protect the operation of the airport and the safety of passengers and staff against the planned direct action by environmental activists, between 14-21 August.
"During the summer holiday period up to 200,000 people pass through Heathrow daily including many families and children. It is these people who would suffer as a result of any unlawful or irresponsible behaviour aimed at disrupting the smooth operation of the airport.
"We respect people's right to protest within the bounds of the law and the airport byelaws and would invite protestors to similarly respect the right of passengers travelling through Heathrow."
Mr Stewart and Mrs Nicholson, along with Leo Murray and Joss Garman of Plane Stupid, are to appear at the High Court where the injunction will be heard.
It's interesting to note that many mainstream NGOs have this year been saying it's time for environmental direct action, especially in relation to the proposed white paper changes in planning law that will see local opinion and involvement in the planning process in such large infrastructure projects reduced to almost zero.
Now funnily enough the list of larger NGOs opposing the proposed changes (in fact most of the coalition making up the Planning Disaster pressure group) is very similar to those named on this injunction...
Something bigger is going on here.
Info on "Streamlining of the Planning Process": the new Planning White Paper
For more information, see the Friends of the Earth website on Planning: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/local/planning
CPRE have produced a good briefing paper entitled
"Planning for a Sustainable Future" - CPRE Briefing
and there is a FoE 6 -page report -
"A Better Plan: an alternative view of the land use planning system"
The Woodland Trust commented on the White Paper, when it was published.
Posted by bex on 26 July 2007.
Planes on the runway
Here's a doozy for you: on Wednesday, the aviation industry is taking five million people - including a lot of their own staff - to court. If you're a member or supporter of a group that's concerned about climate change, the chances are you're a defendant too.
The industry seems to want to ban five million of us from Heathrow and all routes to the airport, including the Piccadilly line, parts of the rail network, and sections of the M25 and M4.
In three weeks' time, the Camp for Climate Action is due to gather near Heathrow to peacefully protest against Heathrow's vast contribution to climate change (the airport's planes emit more greenhouse gases than many individual countries) and its planned third runway expansion.
The owner of Heathrow, the British Airports Authority (BAA), seems to be, frankly, terrified.
It's seeking an injunction, which names as defendants "all persons acting as members, participants or supporters" of anti-aviation group Plane Stupid, anti-noise group HACAN and AirportWatch. The injunction is to stop people from setting foot on Heathrow and "the arterial infrastructure serving" it.
So far, so good. Just another example of the aviation industry's corporate bullying, albeit a draconian one.
But the interesting bit is that AirportWatch, named on the injunction, is just an umbrella organisation. Its member organisations include the National Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Transport 2000, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, among many others.
The combined supporter base of these organisations is well over five million people.
And it includes the Queen, patron of the RSBP and CPRE. Prince Charles, president of the National Trust, would also be banned from Heathrow and its surrounds - as would Imran Khan and Shane Warne, who recently fund-raised for HACAN.
Even more bizarrely, the injunction covers many of BAA's own staff. Their 2006 Corporate Responsibility report (pdf) tells us that BAA sent its airport staff to the RSPB nature reserve at Lochwinnoch "where they spent the day building nest boxes for the native bird population". Which seems to me to fit the description of "persons acting as members, participants or supporters".
When we got the news, after sitting around open-mouthed for a bit, we suspected that BAA didn't know who or what AirportWatch was; they'd panicked, we thought. Hadn't done their research.
But 'a source' who's spoken to BAA has just told us that BAA is deliberately making the ban as broad as possible, and leaving it up to the police to apply it with common sense. Which means, if BAA wins, the police will have the right to stop you, me or Her Maj from, say, getting on "all railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line"...
I've been trying to get hold of an electronic copy of the injunction for all the defendants out there but I've had no luck so far (the version delivered was so large it filled four ring-binders). If I manage, I'll post it here.
If you're not one of the defendants and are feeling a bit left out, feel free to show a bit of solidarity; just sign up to a green organisation of your choice. If we can get another five million people banned from Heathrow, BAA might find it doesn't need its third runway after all... In fact, they could solve all their problems of lost luggage, queues and general chaos while they're at it.
From their website: "AirportWatch's members and supporters include the Aviation Environment Federation, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, Transport 2000, the Woodland Trust, the World Development Movement, the National Society for Clean Air and Environmental Protection, the National Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds - and many more"
Demo plan divides airport campaigners
Friday, 27 July 2007, 13:45 GMT 14:45 UK
The owner of Heathrow, BAA, wants to ban 15 campaign groups from taking part in an eight-day protest "camp" at the airport next month.
Top of its list are the organisers of the Camp for Climate Action itself, who are planning 24 hours of "direct action" against the airport - and its passengers - at one of the busiest times of the year.
Also included are 10 other groups such as the National Trust, the RSPB and the Woodland Trust.
They have been listed because of their membership of umbrella organisation, Airport Watch, which unites green bodies and community groups opposed to the expansion of the aviation industry.
Not all of these groups are comfortable with the idea of direct action.
In previous protests, camp activists have occupied buildings and blocked roads.
Spokeswoman for the camp Anna Jackson said: "It's likely there will be some disruption for people going to the airport.
"I can't say exactly how much because that will be decided by the protesters themselves at the camp."
She said there would be no attempt to access runways, but insisted that causing problems for ordinary holidaymakers was justified.
"150,000 people die each year around the world because of climate change.
"Those people have a right to life more than people here have a right to fly.
"What's more moral - going on holiday or trying to stop climate change pushing our ecosystems to the point of collapse?"
Last summer, the first Camp for Climate Action was held at the Drax coal-fired power station in Selby, North Yorkshire.
The power station had gained an injunction prohibiting any trespassing, but protesters ignored it and entered the site in a bid to close it down.
The effort to hold back the protestors involved seven police forces and cost £3.8m.
[QUOTE BOX: "We're not directly involved in the camp, we're not actually encouraging our supporters to get involved with it - Ed Pomfret - Woodland Trust"]
If granted, BAA's injunction would restrict the movements of all members of Airport Watch's supporting groups.
In a statement, one of them, the National Trust, said trying to ban all protests did BAA "no credit".
"An injunction of this scope is an obvious absurdity and we are confident that it would never be granted and could never be enforced," it said.
Despite supporting the issue at stake, several of the groups have sought to distance themselves from the camp, and in particular, the planned disruption.
Ed Pomfret, head of campaigns at The Woodland Trust, said: "We're not directly involved in the camp, we're not actually encouraging our supporters to get involved with it."
He said the trust was part of the Airport Watch coalition, but added: "There's no-one in Airport Watch who actually takes part in direct action under that banner.
"That's why we feel the injunction is very heavy-handed."
Martin Harper, head of sustainable development at the RSPB, said his organisation was not linked with the camp.
But he said: "It does seem extraordinary at a time when half the country is knee-deep in water and the government is bringing forward legislation to tackle clime change that BAA is having to resort to bullying tactics to halt protests."
Another Airport Watch member, Friends of the Earth, said its protests were within the law and would not comment on how other organisations conducted their campaigns.
A spokesman said: "Friends of the Earth's rights and justice centre is acting for Airport Watch and other campaign groups in relation to an application for an injunction and will be providing legal observers at the camp, though we are not involved with organising the camp."
By Anna Davis, Evening Standard 27.07.07
Heatrow operator BAA will go to the High Court next week
Heathrow airport's owner has launched an extraordinary bid to ban environmental groups including the National Trust and the RSPB from protesting against airport expansion.
The British Airports Authority has begun moves that would allow police to arrest members of named groups to prevent them taking part in demonstrations.
BAA will go to the High Court next week to seek judicial approval for an anti-environmentalist injunction. The terms of the injunction are so wide that they would leave millions of members of environmental groups open to arrest for crimes such as travelling on the London Underground or possessing a kite.
Anyone failing to give 24 hours' notice of a protest could be arrested for travelling on sections of the motorway or from standing on platforms 6 and 7 at Paddington station to catch the Heathrow Express.
It was reported that the terms of the injunction would cover: "All railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line of the London Underground System; the M4 and all service stations between and including junctions 3 and 6; and the M25 and all service stations between and including junctions 13 and 15."
BAA said it had a duty to protect the public from disruption during the holiday season and added that it was not seeking to prevent legal protest.
The injunction is in response to a planned demonstration outside Heathrow. As revealed by the Evening Standard in May, up to 5,000 protesters were planning to pitch tents for a week near the airport from 14 August in protest at plans for a third runway.
Eco-warriors say they will set up a Greenham Common-style protest camp near the perimeter fence, which they intend to use as a base to disrupt flights at the peak of the tourist season to focus attention on climate change.
On Monday BAA served an injunction on four protest leaders who run environmental groups with more than five million members. It means members of groups including Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, the National Trust and RSPB would be banned from setting up a camp near Heathrow.
They would also be banned from carrying spades and loudhailers.
An as yet unspecified number would be allowed to meet on the outskirts of the airport providing they gave their names, car registration plates and advance notice.
Joss Garman, from Camp for Climate Action and Plane Stupid, was one of the protest leaders served with an injunction. He said: "It seems that having totally lost the arguments on climate change they are resorting to bullying tactics."
By Avril Ormsby
LONDON (Reuters) - Environmental groups have branded BAA's attempts to seek an injunction limiting next month's planned protest at Heathrow as "insanely draconian".
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The company has applied for an injunction against an environmental umbrella group, Airport Watch, which covers 5 million members belonging to 10 groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the National Trust.
The injunction, if granted, would allow police to arrest anyone demonstrating against climate change and airport expansion near its facilities.
Up to 5,000 demonstrators were planning to hold a Camp for Climate Action at the airport between August 14 and 21.
The injunction would cover protesters' movements on the underground near Heathrow and parts of the M4 and M25 motorways if they fail to give 24 hours' notice of a protest, the groups said.
Spanish-owned BAA will seek judicial approval for its injunction in the High Court on Wednesday.
The Independent, which said it has seen the legal documents submitted by BAA, said: "Protesters would be allowed to gather at three protest points on the outskirts of the airport providing they did not exceed an as yet unspecified number, and gave their names, car registration plates and advance notice."
They would not be allowed to go within 100 metres of any airport operation.
Benedict Southworth, director of the anti-poverty campaign group World Development Movement (WDM), said: "For BAA to attempt to prevent our staff, members and supporters, along with millions of other law-abiding citizens from travelling on the Piccadilly line or parts of the M4 or M25 is not only insulting but ludicrous beyond belief.
"WDM is campaigning for climate change to be taken seriously by big business and the government alike -- this insanely draconian attempt by BAA to stop peaceful protest starkly shows how much work there is to do."
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said BAA had not consulted Transport for London about the travel restrictions.
He added: "Transport for London will be writing to BAA to demand that all reference to its property and services be removed from any such injunction and will oppose any attempt to restrict the lawful use of its public transport services in the courts."
A spokesman for Heathrow said in a statement the injunction was to "protect the operation of the airport and the safety of passengers".
"We respect people's right to protest within the bounds of the law and the airport bye-laws and would invite protesters to similarly respect the rights of passengers travelling through Heathrow."
By Kevin Done and Nikki Tait
Published: July 28 2007 05:47 | Last updated: July 28 2007 05:47
BAA, the airports group, came under fire on Friday for its decision to seek a High Court injunction next week aimed at limiting the scope of protest actions planned at Heathrow airport by environmental campaigners and residents groups.
Heathrow, the busiest airport in Europe measured by passenger numbers, has suffered severe disruption in the peak weeks of the summer travel season in each of the past four years as a result of unofficial strikes and operational difficulties.
The airports group is concerned that the Camp for Climate Action due to take place near Heathrow from August 14 to 21 could lead to further problems as a result of direct action protests threatened by some environmental activists.
The application by Heathrow airport for the injunction has been brought under the Protection from Harassment Act, which was originally introduced as an anti-stalking law. Over the past few years, however, it has been used by lawyers anxious to curtail protest activities by campaigners – notably animal rights activists.
Typically, however, judges have been reluctant to extend protections sought under the anti-harassment law too widely.
For example, a number of companies being targeted by animal rights campaigners have succeeded in securing special “exclusion zones” around company premises and employees’ homes. But efforts by Oxford university to curb protest activity across a swathe of the city failed when the proposed non-congregation zone was said by a judge to be “inordinately large” and “impossible to identify”.
The BAA move was attacked by groups campaigning against the expansion of Heathrow. Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, the environmental group, said it was “a heavy-handed attempt to stifle protest”.
It showed “how out of touch they are about people’s concerns about climate change. The application for an injunction should be stopped and the aviation industry should scale down its proposals for airport expansion at Heathrow and across the UK. A strong climate change law which includes aviation would help address these concerns”.
The injunction is being sought against four protest groups: Plane Stupid; Hacan, the Heathrow association for the control of aircraft noise; AirportWatch; and Notrag, No Third Runway Action Group. AirportWatch is an umbrella group, which brings together such organisations as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the National Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Woodland Trust.
Friends of the Earth said the draft injunction was “incredibly broad” and was seeking to ban members and supporters from setting foot near Heathrow and transport links to the airport including the Heathrow Express rail link from Paddington, the Piccadilly London Underground line and nearby sections of the M4 and M25 motorways.
BAA Heathrow said the injunction was being sought to protect the operation of the airport and to ensure the safety of passengers and staff against the “planned direct action by environmental activists”.
In the summer Heathrow handles up to 225,000 passengers a day and operates far above its design capacity for most of the day.
July 28, 2007
Protesters condemn airport’s ‘bullying’
Members of charities from the Woodland Trust to Friends of the Earth may be banned from Heathrow and parts of London’s transport network if a legal attempt to prevent a protest is successful, it has been claimed.
Groups opposed to airport expansion are outraged at what they see as a heavy-handed legal challenge by BAA. The campaigners claim that the airport operator has gone to “ludicrous” lengths to try to ban “millions of people” from going anywhere near Heathrow.
BAA is seeking an injunction next Wednesday against the planned Camp for Climate Action protest at the airport on August 14-21. BAA says that it has a duty to protect the travelling public from disruption.
The campaign groups that are intending to protest claim that BAA has resorted to “legal bullying”. They say that millions of Britons could be banned from the airport, the Piccadilly Line of the Tube, parts of the mainline rail network and sections of the M25 and M4 motorways if it is believed that they are going to protest in the area.
They say that the injunction will apply not only to Hacan, the group that opposes Heathrow expansion, and to the No Third Runway Action Group (NoTrag), but would also seek to ban organisations such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the Woodland Trust.
John Stewart, the Hacan chairman, said: “Our members are furious. We are not a direct action organisation. Isn’t it time for BAA to face up to the fact that Heathrow is big enough already, rather than trying to get this ridiculous injunction? Instead of rational argument, BAA has resorted to legal bullying.”
Christine Shilling, the NoTrag press secretary, said: “It’s time BAA got it straight. We need protecting from them. They intend to bulldoze our homes, our schools, destroy our communities, erase our history and ruin our lives. But somehow we are now the threat and not them. It’s an Alice-in-Wonderland logic.”
Benedict Southworth, the director of the World Development Movement, said that the injunction was “insulting and ludicrous beyond belief”.
Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: “This heavy-handed attempt to stifle protest shows how out of touch they are about people’s concerns about climate change. The aviation industry should scale down its proposals for airport expansion at Heathrow and across the UK.”
A BAA spokesman said: “We respect people’s right to protest within the bounds of the law and would invite protesters to similarly respect the rights of passengers.”
Battle of Heathrow: From across the political spectrum, opposition to BAA's injunction grows
By Martin Hickman and Nigel Morris
Published: 28 July 2007
Heathrow airport's owner BAA was isolated and assailed from all sides yesterday as it headed for a legal and physical showdown with protesters over an attempt to ban a mass demonstration against climate change that has enraged civil rights groups.
Within hours of its disclosure, politicians, lawyers and protesters condemned an injunction that would prevent five million members of the public from attending the Camp for Climate Action as "ludicrous," " absurd" and "unenforceable".
The capital's transport authority, Transport for London (TfL), was furious at the inclusion of the Piccadilly line in a list of places police could arrest protesters and demanded it be dropped from the action. Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, denounced BAA's plans as a "serious infringement of civil liberties and an attack on the right to peaceful protest". Britain's biggest environmental organisation, the National Trust, described the court action as "over the top", warning that it "smacked of absurdity".
BAA insisted that it would not back down but said that it would amend or drop the injunction if the protesters gave undertakings about their intentions.
But the the Camp for Climate Action insisted that the week-long action from 14 August would take place regardless of the High Court case on Wednesday. Up to 5,000 people are expected to attend what could be the biggest protest against climate change in the UK.
BAA was besieged with hundreds of calls from the public yesterday asking if they would be barred from Heathrow.
On Monday, BAA served the draft injunction on four activists representing five environmental organisations opposing the airport's expansion. One of the organisations, AirportWatch, is a coalition of 10 green groups including the RSPB, the Woodland Trust and the Council for the Protection of Rural England - bringing five million members into the action. It would force protesters to give 24 hours' notice together with their names and ban them from going within 100 metres of any airport installation.
Anyone deemed to be breaking or intending to break its terms could be arrested on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground, platforms six and seven of Paddington station, which serves the Heathrow Express, and sections of the M25 and M4 motorways, as well as the airport and its vicinity.
TfL wrote last night to BAA demanding the removal of all references to the London Underground from the action. A spokesman said: "There was a huge amount of anger here because there was no consultation about the terms of the injunction. The first we knew about it was when we read about it in The Independent. An injunction of that kind would be completely unenforceable ... It would be massively disruptive to the network."
Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, said: "BAA must have taken leave of its senses if it sincerely believes that the threat of a peaceful demonstration about the environment should merit the use of police state powers to chase environmental campaigners across the London transport network. This idea is daft, illiberal and dangerous nonsense."
Theresa Villiers, the Conservatives' transport spokeswoman, said: "I can understand BAA would want to take steps to prevent the disruption of the summer rush at Heathrow. But what they seem to be applying for in court appears to be over the top."
Ed Blissett, of the GMB union, said yesterday: "We back the development of Britain's airports but cannot support anything that limits unduly the fundamental right to protest and oppose in a peaceful and law-abiding manner. "
The Department of Transport said that the issue was a matter for the courts but disliked the curtailment of peaceful protest.
BAA reiterated that it had a duty to protect the airport from protests that might disrupt passengers. The Spanish-owned corporation said it was " willing to negotiate" about the size of the three designated protest areas on the fringe of the airport. "We are not seeking to stop people protesting: that would be wrong. We are seeking to stop people who are unlawfully causing disruption," a spokesman insisted.
Protesters agreed that their action might disrupt flights while Heathrow experiences its peak season. "Almost inevitably, it will involve some disruption to the airport," said Climate Camp's spokesman, Dave Spencer. "We can't just stand in a field with some banners." But he stressed that the aim was to target the airline industry, not passengers, to step up pressure for action on global warming.
Ministers have approved in principle the building of a third runway at Heathrow, which could lead to a 50 per cent increase in flights to 800,000 a year.
John Stewart, chairman of the local protest group Hacan, complained that the injunction had wrongly targeted his organisation. "Our members are furious," he said. "We are not a direct action organisation. Isn't it time for BAA to face up to the fact that Heathrow is big enough already rather than trying to get this ridiculous injunction?"
* One of the first major public clashes between protesters and the authorities came on 16 August 1819 at the "Battle of Peterloo" in St Peter's Fields, Manchester. About 80,000 apparently peaceful protesters had gathered to hear Richard Carlile, John Cartwright and Henry Hunt appeal for the abolition of the Corn Laws, when, at about lunchtime, the nervous magistrates, having never seen anything like it, read the Riot Act before the police ordered 60 cavalrymen to charge the speakers' platform. Eleven demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured.
* The original working class political movement emerged called the Birmingham Political Union, founded in 1830 by Thomas Atwood. Its stated aim was for the House of Commons to "be achieved by a general political union of the lower and middle classes of the people".
* This made way for the Chartist movement, an umbrella movement in favour of stepping up the pace of liberal democratic reform in the mid-19th century. Its anchor was the People's Charter, founded by six MPs in 1838, the stated objectives of which included universal suffrage, for men only, over the age of 21, voting by secret ballot and regular elections to Parliament. On 10 April 1848 50,000 marched on Parliament from Kennington Green.
* One huge area of reform had been left off the agenda, however: women's emancipation. The 1832 Act had actually prohibited women from voting and throughout the next hundred years the women's rights movement grew. In 1889 its leader, Emily Pankhurst founded the Women's Franchise League, which became the Women's Social and Political Union. On 4 June 1913, the militant Suffragette Emily Davison ran out in front of the horse of King George V at the Epson Derby, and died. The dramatic gesture paid off, with voting rights for women beginning in 1918.
* The 1960s saw all manner of protest for social reform, from racial equality and civil rights to female and homosexual rights, all of which were the focus of legislative reforms in subsequent years. The late 1960s witnessed violent protests outside the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square against the Vietnam war. While not immediately successful, they highlighted the extent of international discontent at the apparently futile and destructive war.
* In the 1980s, there was the Miners' Strike and the poll tax riots. The former, started after the beginning of mass pits closures under the Tories, was the defining moment in British industrial relations. Arthur Scargill, who refused to call a ballot of the National Union of Mineworkers, led his men into defeat, resulting in the crushing of union power by Mrs Thatcher and, later, Tony Blair. The coal miners were, in electricians' leader Eric Hammond's description, "lions led by donkeys".
* Mrs Thatcher's introduction of the Poll Tax (or community charge) - a flat-tax for all working adults, regardless of wealth variation - in 1990, resulted in some of the most violent peacetime clashes and on 31 March 1990, more than 200,000 demonstrators marched through London. Starting in Kennington, the rioters ended up in Westminster and Whitehall, cramming into Trafalgar Square in the early hours for the "Battle of Trafalgar".
* In November last year, some 25,000 marched from the US embassy to Trafalgar Square to protest for action on climate change.
* But perhaps the most famous modern protest came in February 2003, when more than a million people marched on central London to stop the drum-beat to the Iraq invasion.
We protest: The legal bid to stifle opposition to the expansion of Heathrow has been met with outrage and incredulity
Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London: 'I regard BAA's proposed injunction as an attack on the right to peaceful protest'
Brian Haw, anti-war campaigner: 'They're making a mockery of the law, turning innocent protesters into serious criminals'
Julia Stephenson, environmentalist: 'I'm a member of most of the groups they hope to target and I intend to go to the demonstration'
Mark Thomas, comedian and campaigner: 'This injunction reflects the attack on civil liberties that has been led by the Government'
Ed Pomfret, Woodland Trust: 'Airport expansion threatens ancient woods and we should be able to highlight this'
Tony Juniper, Friends of the Earth director: 'This bid to stifle protests shows how out of touch they are about climate change fears'
Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner: 'This is an outrageous example of corporate power exploiting the legal system to suppress protest'
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty: 'The fact is that British Airports Authority is attempting to make a mockery of our courts'