CAMPAIGNERS gathered to plant apple trees during a weekend of action against the proposed third runway at Heathrow.
Actors Richard Briers and Alison Steadman and Poet Laureate Carol-Ann Duffy were among those who dug in to create an 'orchard of resistance' at the planned site of the new landing strip in Sipson last Friday.
Over in Hounslow, Christine Taylor, of the No Third Runway Action Group (NOTRAG), joined local politicians for a less star-studded tree-planting at Lampton Park the following morning.
Both events were organised by Greenpeace, who bought the field in Sipson at the start of the year in a bid to block expansion at the airport. More than 60,000 people have signed up to become co-owners of the land.
Campaigners chose to plant Cox apple trees in honour of Richard Cox, who first bred the variety near the site in the 1850s and is buried under land proposed for the runway.
Among those to adopt trees at the orchard are Alain de Botton, famously hired by BAA to become Heathrow writer-in-residence earlier this year, and Tory leader David Cameron.
Alison Steadman said: "BAA and the Government now know that if they try to build this new runway they will have to dig up trees owned by and on behalf of millions of people from every area of British society.
"Some of those people will be there to stand in front of the bulldozers if they ever roll into the new orchard."
Carol Ann-Duffy has even written a poem called Mr Scrooge, predicting the demise of the third runway as the Ghost of Christmas Past visits the orchard, which is due to be published on Tuesday.
In Hounslow, the apple tree is the first of many that eco-campaigners plan to plant across the country and 'twin' with the orchard in Sipson.
Hounslow Council leader Peter Thompson, speaking on behalf of the 2M Group of London councils, said: "Heathrow has become the intrusive shrub from a neighbour's garden acceptable when properly maintained, but if left to its own devices a damaging nuisance that needs cutting back.
"This orchard shows that millions of people think it's time to reach for the secateurs."