Farnborough Airport’s top critic, Tilford man Colin Shearn, has revealed he has already spent £16,000 in legal fees fighting a police gagging order related to his campaigning against the airport’s flightpath and expansion plans.

Mr Shearn appeared at Aldershot County Court on Tuesday, October 11, for a preliminary hearing – at which Surrey Police decided to proceed with its application for an Anti-Social Behaviour Injunction (ASBI) against him, and the judge ruled a one-and-a-half day hearing will take place at Winchester in February.

The ASBI is being sought by Surrey’s chief constable Tim De Meyer after complaints against Mr Shearn by Farnborough Airport, Farnborough Aerodrome Consultative Committee (FACC) and his neighbours in Tilford.

Afterwards, Mr Shearn revealed the case had already cost him £16,000 in legal fees, “and will probably cost the same again to completion”.

The police is yet to present any evidence of the harassment claimed in its ASBI application, but Mr Shearn has strongly denied any wrongdoing. 

He cites his democratic right to protest against the airport’s airspace and expansion plans, and says his dispute with neighbours relates to his role as a tree warden with the Tree Council.

“So of course when protected trees and hedgerows are cut down by anyone and I am made aware of the fact, I will raise this with the relevant authorities – those being Waverley Borough Council and Surrey Police in this area,” he said.

“Environmental legislation is there to protect nature and the authorities are empowered to enforce it, so if that doesn’t happen, they should be held to account. Doing so is clearly not harassment.”

He added his laser range finder used to judge the height of low-flying aircraft, which the police application states he has received “words of advice” over, uses non-visible light and presents no danger to aircraft.