BAA has won a partial victory in its High Court battle to ban protesters from demonstrating at Heathrow airport during a week-long climate change camp.
However the ban will apply only to members of Plane Stupid which it is claimed have a history of “direct action” and certain members of Hacan Clearskies and the No Third Runway Action Group.
BAA failed in its attempt to secure a ban against members of umbrella group AirportWatch which includes members of the RSPB and National Trust. The ban was opposed by London Mayor Ken Livingstone after BAA sought to include Transport for London property in the catchment area without first seeking permission from TfL.
Today the Mayor said he welcomed the “decision of the court to effectively reject BAA’s application for an injunction so wide that it could have potentially affected millions of people.”
“The judge clearly recognised that such an injunction would have been unreasonable and unworkable and agreed that it was extraordinary that Transport for London was not consulted about their inclusion in BAA’s original proposed injunction and its widespread affects on London Underground.”
Mr Liviningstone said it was one of the responsibilities of the office of Mayor to “uphold the elementary principles that people have the right to engage in peaceful, lawful protest”.
The Mayor’s stance was echoed by One London leader Damian Hockney who said the protesters “should have the right to protest providing they do so peacefully and do not disrupt passengers.”
“BAA says it is seeking to prevent disruption at Heathrow Airport. This will be welcome news to millions of passengers who have to put up with appalling conditions inside the airport which BAA has failed to address.”
Representatives of some of the organisations which would have been affected by the ban have also been giving their reaction:
Peter Hendy, Transport Commissioner “We welcome the fact that the Judge’s decision makes clear that any injunction will not affect Transport for London property.”
“The Judge rejected the much wider injunction which would have applied to millions of our potential passengers with no unlawful intentions. She agreed that it was extraordinary that Transport for London was not consulted over a proposed injunction which, if granted, could have had a significant effect on the capital’s transport network, not just at Heathrow but right across the city.”
John Sauven, Director of Greenpeace: “BAA went to court speaking of the mother of all injunctions. They have left having suffered the mother of all failures. BAA lawyers tried to prevent Greenpeace members and 5 million others from protesting about climate change. This was a deeply illiberal step that failed. We hope for a big turnout for the protest they tried to ban.”
Melanie Edmunds, the RSPB’s Transport Officer: “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 per cent not 60 per cent greenhouse gas emission cuts in forthcoming legislation.
“Aviation expansion is totally at odds with the government’s claim that it wants to tackle climate change. Flying is causing major pollution and must be made to pay its way.”