Campaigners were delighted when the High Court yesterday only granted BAA a very limited injunction for a very limited period. The judge, Mrs Justice Swift, said that the injunction she was granting was “nothing like as wide-ranging as set out by the claimants.” HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “BAA came for the mother of all injunctions but left with the mother of all setbacks.”
BAA had asked for an indefinite injunction to stop over 5 million people going to protest in the Heathrow area. The company was seeking to injunct residents groups HACAN and NOTRAG (No Third Runway Action Group), the umbrella body AirportWatch, whose members include the National Trust, RSPB, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, as well as the smaller direct action network Plane Stupid.
The judge, Mrs Justice Swift, only imposed an injunction on Plane Stupid and those who act in concert with them. She limited it to Heathrow Airport and a few properties owned by BAA in the Heathrow area and only imposed it for the month of August. The three named individual defenders, John Stewart, Joss Garman and Leo Murray, each gave an undertaking not to visit these areas during August.
All charges against the fourth defendant, Geraldine Nicholson, the Chair of NOTRAG, were dropped, with Mrs Justice Swift adding, “It is regrettable she was ever involved in the proceedings.”
The judge refused to grant an injunction against HACAN, NOTRAG or AirportWatch and ordered that BAA pay their costs as well as those of Geraldine Nicholson. The judge also ordered BAA to pay the costs of Transport for London. She ruled that the injunction should not apply to the Piccadilly Line commenting that it was “extraordinary that no attempt had been made [by BAA] to consult with Transport for London.” She also ruled that the injunction should not apply to the road network around Heathrow.
John Stewart said, “BAA came out of court claiming victory. In the light of what the judgment actually said, this can only be spin of the worst sort by a company which had been humiliated in court.”
The judge made it clear that the injunction was not intended to stop the Camp for Climate Action, scheduled to take place from 14th — 21st August somewhere in the Heathrow area, from going ahead.
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John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650