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Heathrow tunnel blocked by protest over 'third runway'

Demonstrators have blockaded the entrance tunnel to Heathrow Airport in protest at plans to build a third runway.

Three activists reportedly belonging to the Plane Stupid campaign group, have blocked the inbound tunnel, preventing people from accessing Terminals One, Two and Three.



Millions needed to strengthen airport tunnels

It's costing tens of millions of pounds and will take another year to be completed.

A major project to refurbish and strengthen the famous road tunnels leading to Heathrow airport is continuing.

It's to improve safety and allow for the new generation of heavier planes using the runway above.

The work is being carried out during the night so the airport can operate as normal during the day.

Our transport correspondent Mike Pearse has more.

Heathrow's famous road tunnels get major facelift

Credit: ITV news

Tens of millions of pounds is being spent giving the famous road tunnels into Heathrow a makeover. The tunnels, off the M4, were built in the 1950's and are used by 55,000 vehicles a day. The work is aimed at improving safety and to allow a new generation of heavier planes to travel on the runway which goes over them.

Credit: ITV news

The two 630 metre long tunnels are being refurbished overnight to allow the airport to operate as normal during the day. New fire systems are being installed and are being made stronger to cope with larger planes like the A380.

Every night at 1030 one of the two tunnels is closed with the other a contra-flow to keep the airport operational, before an army of workers and vehicles move in. To keep disruption to a minimum the tunnel has to reopen at 5.30 in the morning. The two year project is now at the half way stage. Work will continue five nights a week for the next year. It's hoped at the end of the tunnels will be fit for the next thirty years.

Support for Heathrow protesters

Protesters are opposing a third runway Credit: Mike Pearse

Campaigners have gathered at Uxbridge Magistrates in support of 13 protesters who staged a demonstration at Heathrow in July.

It led to 22 flights being cancelled, with delays for thousands of passengers.

The protesters face charges of trespass and entering a secure area.

They pleaded not guilty and will face a two-week trial at a later date.

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