Protesters join final rally on site of new runway

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The Independent Online
Former hostage Terry Waite and Tatton MP Martin Bell joined around 500 campaigners against Manchester Airport's second runway today for a last march through the site before building work begins.

Residents of Mobberley in Cheshire and other nearby villages walked along a footpath on the site of the pounds 172m development before staging a rally.

Veteran campaigners were joined by families walking their dogs and a group of "eco-warriors" who last month were evicted from protest camps on the site.

Mr Bell (right), who defeated Neil Hamilton in the election, said he was there to support his constituents. "I happen to represent a lot of angry, upset and concerned people who believe the runway is a terrible thing. When I fought the election campaign I supported the decision on the runway, but since then I have learnt a lot about it.

"I am here to support my constituents and because I believe they are right to say `no' to the second runway."

Terry Waite, who was born in the nearby village of Styal, took part in protests against the runway during the eviction of protesters from camps on the site. "We will continue to fight the building of this runway so I hope this will not be the last time we can walk around here," he said.

"We ask the Government to review this decision and change their policy on air traffic."

Mr Waite said the matter had been referred to Europe because campaigners believed there were irregularities in the way the project was developed.

Work on the development was due to begin in the spring, but was delayed after protesters built tunnels and treehouses at camps in the Bollin Valley site. The eviction process took around four weeks and the last of the eco-warriors were removed from their tunnels at the end of June.