BAA will not take the next step towards building a third runway at Heathrow until after the general election, it has said. BAA secured government approval a year ago for its plans to expand Britain's largest airport resulting in renewed protests from green groups and local residents. For the last seven years, a loose coalition of Sipson villagers, more seasoned environmental campaigners and celebrities have been battling BAA's plans to expand northwards. The company says Heathrow � and Britain � are greatly hampered by a main airport with only two runways � Charles de Gaulle in Paris has four, while Amsterdam's Schiphol has six. But now, BAA has confirmed it will not launch a public consultation on a planning application until after a general election. With expansion strongly opposed by the Conservatives, who are ahead in the polls, any planning proposal could be quashed by a Tory administration.