The public inquiry into the expansion of Stansted airport, around which a stream of retired solicitors, teachers and other professionals have mobilised in protest, is a good example of the sort under threat from the new law.
When hearings began last May, environment groups co-ordinated protests outside while inside, Friends of the Earth, the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group and the National Trust gave statements against the plans of the airport's owner, BAA.
The inquiry has heard both sides of the case: the plans – for a new terminal by 2015, with 68 million passengers a year by 2030 – will create up to 13,000 jobs, boosting the economy by £9bn, according to BAA. But the new runway and terminal would be built on 442 hectares of land, with 13 listed buildings being destroyed. Essex County Council is firmly opposed, while the SSE has described the plan as "going beyond environmental vandalism and ... tantamount to a declaration of war on the local community and global environment".