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Britons sign up to own land earmarked for Heathrow expansion

Heathrow Airport, London.
by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
Thousands of Britons have become "beneficial owners" of land earmarked for the construction of a third runway at London's Heathrow Airport in a bid to derail proposals for its expansion, campaigners said Tuesday.

With a government decision on whether or not to expand Heathrow, the world's biggest international air hub, due this month, around 6,000 people have signed up to the scheme -- dubbed "Airplot" -- organised by Greenpeace.

Together with Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson, British comedian Alistair McGowan and others, the environmental organisation bought the land and has said it will fight any attempts by the government to buy the land by compulsory purchase.

Those who have signed up to the plan will appear on the plot's title deeds and will be represented at upcoming inquiries regarding Heathrow's expansion.

Greenpeace added that its lawyers were also looking for other ways in which to put up legal barriers to the proposed nine-billion-pound (13-billion-dollar, 10-billion-euro) expansion plan.

The government's decision on Heathrow's expansion has been delayed as ministers thrash out the pros and cons of the project, which has pitted business groups and airlines against environmental groups and local residents.

More than 40 lawmakers from the ruling Labour party and London mayor Boris Johnson, a member of the main opposition Conservatives, are opposed, arguing there is no economic need for a third runway and it will increase pollution.

But business and trades union leaders believe the project is vital to the British economy, and would create at least 50,000 new jobs.

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Protesters buy land earmarked for Heathrow expansion
London (AFP) Jan 13, 2009
Campaigners fighting the expansion of London's Heathrow airport opened a new front on Tuesday when they announced they had bought land earmarked for the construction of a third runway.

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