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To make space for the Third Runway, a significant amount of land and property would have had to be acquired by the British Airports Authority through compulsory purchase.

Compulsory purchase orders can cause considerable trauma to the families and businesses that are forced to uproot themselves. It does, however, provide some level of financial compensation, to enable them to move away. However, many residents in Harmondsworth were just outside of the compulsory purchase order zone. This meant that they would suffer the consequences of increased noise and pollution without any compensation, and furthermore would find it difficult if not impossible to sell their property.