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Heathrow Protest Camp Aims to Block Airport Expansion

Grow Heathrow, a settlement of activists opposing expansion of the nearby international airport, faces eviction if long delayed plans to build a third runway pass legislation.

. Anti-Heathrow expansion activists arrive at the "Grow Heathrow" protest camp in the village of Sipson, near Heathrow Airport in London on Dec. 7, 2015.

The debate over a third runway at the airport has pitted environmentalists and voters in affluent west London against the country's biggest businesses and some politicians who see expansion as vital for economic growth.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. Activists chat near treehouses.

Local communities invited activists to stay in the area after the 2009 Climate Change Camp. Two years later activists established the off-grid community "Grow Heathrow" to support local villages opposing the airport's expansion.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. A man overlooks the protest camp.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. Signs protesting plans to build a third runway at Heathrow airport hang at the camp.

The prime minister ruled out a new Heathrow runway in 2009, saying "no ifs, no buts," but a government-appointed commission has since recommended a third runway, rejecting alternatives such as expanding Gatwick, south of London.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. A man and a woman hug in one of the camp's buildings.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. An activitist washes dishes at the camp.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. Activists chat at the camp.

Heathrow's chief executive told lawmakers in November he was confident that an expanded Heathrow would be able to meet EU air quality limits, but campaign groups such as Stop Heathrow Expansion says air pollution levels in some places close to Heathrow are already above the legal EU limits.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. Despite an eviction case from England's High Court against Grow Heathrow, activists still remain at the camp.

Peter Nicholls / Reuters

. A bicycle and eviction notices hang on the camp's perimeter fence.

—Reuters

Peter Nicholls / Reuters