Greenpeace has bought a field the size of a football pitch and plans to invite protesters to dig networks of tunnels across it, similar to those built in the ultimately unsuccessful campaign against the Newbury bypass in 1996. The group also plans to divide the field into thousands of tiny plots, each with a separate owner. BAA, the airport's owner, would be forced to negotiate with each owner, lengthening the compulsory purchase process.The Greenpeace website suggests that dividing up the land between numerous owners is not as easy as it sounds:
Whatever their intentions, I wish Greenpeace well with this. Though I do remember Friends of the Earth trying to use a similar tactic to prevent a road being built across Otmoor in Oxfordshire and getting nowhere.
As legal owners of this plot we will take the opportunity to oppose airport expansion at every stage in the planning process. We're joined on the deeds by Oscar winning actress Emma Thompson, comedian Alistair McGowan and prospective Tory parliamentary candidate Zac Goldsmith. Along with Greenpeace UK, that's the maximum number of owners we can put on the deed, but you can sign up to add your name and stand beside us to resist all attempts of a compulsory purchase of the land.
You'll be joining beneficial owners who've already signed-up including local Labour MP John McDonnell, Tory frontbench spokeswoman Justine Greening, Lib Dem MP Susan Kramer, environmentalist George Monbiot and acclaimed climate scientist and Royal Society Research Fellow Dr Simon Lewis.