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Curbing amorphous protest groups

Law-abiding heroes or dangerous activists? Tim Lawson-Cruttenden and Melanie Loram examine how the law can try to prevent or stop the activities of protest groups

29 January 2008

ON 10 JANUARY 2008 business secretary John Hutton announced the government’s go-ahead for a new generation of nuclear power plants. On 22 November 2007 transport minister Ruth Kelly presented a plan to build a third runway at Heathrow Airport. And the following month, the government brought its support to plans to build the world’s biggest medical research laboratory in Kings Cross.

These plans are likely to be contested by various focus groups.

Of particular interest are the intentions of groups advocating “non-violent direct action” (NVDA). Thus the nuclear power industry can expect to receive attention from environmental activists, led perhaps by Greenpeace Direct. Heathrow Airport can continue to expect NVDA from Plane Stupid. The proposed medical research laboratory cannot be complacent about groups like the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) and the SPEAK Campaign.

Understanding NVDA

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