18th November 2021

Member Letter – Fly Less

Dear Supporter,

Fly Less

It’s only been four weeks since our last newsletter but, during that time, the important COP26 Climate Change Summit has taken place in Glasgow, attended by representatives from almost 200 countries.

Aviation accounted for 9.4% of UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2019 and, on present trends, could be our largest single source of CO2 emissions by 2050.  That is why, to coincide with the start of COP26, we launched our ‘Fly Less’ campaign. This is not about telling people that they must not fly or that they cannot have a well-deserved annual family holiday. This is about asking people to try to reduce their carbon footprint. The train can often be a realistic alternative to a domestic flight and a Zoom meeting can often avoid the need for a business flight. It doesn’t require a huge change in lifestyle to make a meaningful reduction in your carbon footprint.

The Government’s independent Climate Change Committee has called for a slowdown in the level of air travel and a freeze on UK airport expansion until the aviation sector can show a significant reduction in its CO2 emissions. To date, the Government has rejected this call and is putting its faith in potential technological solutions, despite there being little prospect of any financially viable technological solutions for the aviation sector becoming available in the next twenty years.

One of the main disappointments of COP26, which was chaired by the UK Government, was the failure to reach an international agreement to curb aviation emissions. The UK’s lack of leadership was unhelpful in this regard.  For example, the Government’s announcement, just ten days before the start of COP26, that Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights was to be halved, sent completely the wrong signal.  By contrast, France recently announced proposals to ban most domestic flights.

We are writing to the chairmen of the FTSE top 100 UK companies, encouraging them to support our ‘Fly Less’ campaign by reducing business flights and so help to combat climate change.  First Class and Business Class flights have a far higher carbon footprint compared to economy class, and private business jets are estimated to be up to ten times more damaging, in terms of emissions per passenger kilometre.

We hope that our members will want to support this initiative and encourage others to do likewise. You can print off our ‘Fly Less’ poster by going to our ‘Campaign Material’ page via https://stanstedairportwatch.com/library/campaign-material/ and our car window stickers can be purchased from our campaign office for £1 which includes postage. Just send in a request with a cheque made out to ‘SSE’ for £1. For more information see https://stanstedairportwatch.com/press-releases/fly-less/.

Dig for Victory

One of the key agreements at the COP26 summit was a commitment to stop global deforestation by 2030 and then begin to replenish the world’s tree cover in order to help combat climate change.  We all need to play our part and so, earlier this month, volunteers from Stansted Airport Watch planted more trees to increase the size of the ‘SSE Wood’, near Broxted Hill.

The SSE Wood was first established in 2004 on the site then proposed for a second runway.  Our Patron, Terry Waite CBE, planted the first tree and another 500 trees have since been planted including maple, oak, hornbeam, hazel, hawthorn, blackthorn, beech and ash. The threat of a second runway has receded but it has been replaced by the existential threat posed by climate change and, once again, trees may come to our rescue.

We would like to encourage our members to support this initiative and ‘Dig for Victory’ by planting a tree in their garden, allotment or other plot of ground to help win the war against climate change.

The original ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign was set up by the UK Government during World War II to encourage men and women across the country to assist in the war effort by growing their own food in times of harsh rationing.  The current climate emergency merits the same rallying call.

Stansted Airport Watch adviser on climate change issues, Mike Young, commented: “You don’t need to be a tree-hugger to help combat climate change. Trees can make a difference and if you have a garden, you can hopefully find room for at least one more tree, be it large or small.  That’s surely not too much to ask to help protect the future of your children and your children’s children.”  For more information, see stanstedairportwatch.com/press-releases/dig-for-victory/.

Community Calendar

Finally, a reminder that the 2022 edition of our Community Calendar, the twentieth to be produced, is now on sale priced at just £8.00, the same as last year. The Calendar makes an important contribution to our campaign funds and, as always, features superb local photographs, all taken by volunteers. The Calendar is available at the outlets listed below.  See also the “Take Action” page on our website via https://stanstedairportwatch.com/take-action/sse-community-calendar/.

Barnes Flooring, 72 South Street, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 3AZ

Elsenham Post Office, 1 Ambrose Corner, Elsenham, CM22 6EH

Guildhall Stores, 34 Town Street, Thaxted, CM6 2LA

Hatfield Broad Oak Post Office, 1 High St, Hatfield Broad Oak, CM22 7HF

Henham Village Store, Henham High Street, CM22 6AS

James Jewellers, 23 Church Street, Saffron Walden CB10 1JW

Little Hallingbury Post Office, Village Hall, Lower Road, CM22 7RD

Perry’s Nursery, Chapel End Broxted, CM6 2BW

Saffron Walden Tourist Information Centre, 1 Market Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1HR

SAW campaign Office (phone 01279 870558 or email info@stanstedairportwatch.com

Stansted Pharmacy, 2 Lower St, Stansted Mountfitchet, CM24 8XG

Takeley News, Dunmow Road, Takeley, CM22 6SH

The Three Horseshoes, Duton Hill, Great Dunmow, CM6 2DY

The Tuck Shop, 33A Bell St, Sawbridgeworth CM21 9AR

Willet’s Newsagent, 6 High Street, Great Dunmow, CM6 1AG

YZ Minimart, 7 Chapel Hill, Stansted Mountfitchet, CM24 8AB

With many thanks for your ongoing support.

Yours sincerely

Brian Ross,

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits