Government officials have been monitoring environmental campaign groups and then passing intelligence on to the police, according to documents seen by the Guardian.
An internal risk report from the Department for Transport reveals that a unit referred to as the comms directorate Â”continuously monitor[ed]” peaceful protest groups opposed to the expansion of Heathrow airport and then briefed detectives about their findings.
The disclosure is the latest evidence of a wide-ranging crackdown on environmental campaign groups and has been condemned by MPs and civil liberty groups.
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Earlier this month it emerged that government officials had handed confidential police intelligence about environmental activists to the energy giant E.ON ahead of a peaceful demonstration at Kingsnorth, the proposed site of a new coal-fired power station in north Kent.
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Last week the Guardian revealed how undercover police were running a network of hundreds of informants inside protest organisations who secretly feed them intelligence in return for cash.
The latest documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal how the comms directorate at the DfT was monitoring campaign groups in the consultation period leading up to the announcement about the planned expansion of Heathrow airport.