Teeth knocked out of BAA injunction

A far-reaching injunction which could have restricted the movement and behaviour of up to 5 million potential protesters at Heathrow has been significantly watered down by a High Court judge.

The case was based on Heathrow’s operators wishing to protect themselves and travellers from the perceived threat of climate change activists demonstrating against expansion of the airport.

While BAA, the company which runs the airport, has been granted an injunction it applies to three named individuals and covers a far smaller area than was originally requested.

The company’s application had sought to bar members of a number of environmental pressure groups, including huge organisations like the RSPCA, the National Trust and Friends of the Earth, from coming near the airport or using transport links which could feasibly be used to get there.

Many commentators and political figures, including London’s Mayor, Ken Livingstone, had condemned the proposed injunction as an attack on civil liberties (see related story).

But on Monday, High Court judge Mrs Justice Swift ruled against BAA’s request.

While a civil injunction was granted, it does not cover rail links, London Underground’s Piccadilly line or sections of the M4 and M25 motorways near the airport, as requested by BAA.

Neither does it grant any additional powers of arrest.

The focus of the protest will be the Camp for Climate Action, which will run from August 14 to August 21 on the fringes of the airport.

It will not be covered by the injunction, although organisers had previously said it would go ahead regardless of the judge’s decision.

Melanie Edmunds, the RSPB’s transport officer, said: “The judge has seen sense and we are delighted with her decision.

“It was ridiculous for the airport to try to sweep up such a wide range of organisations with such diverse backgrounds.

“Concern about climate change has been highlighted by Heathrow’s action. Governments should be doing far more to tackle climate change and UK ministers should start by including 80% not 60% greenhouse gas emission cuts in forthcoming legislation.”

Sam Bond

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