2nd December 2006
Appeal fund launched to fight airport expansion
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) launched a fundraising appeal today (Saturday 2 December) to raise £100,000 to challenge BAA at the public inquiry which will be held following Uttlesford District Council’s refusal of the airport operator’s plans to expand Stansted this week.
Campaign leaders and supporters met in Thaxted Churchyard to signal the start of the appeal by displaying a large barometer image showing the target for the Public Inquiry Appeal Fund and the sums already promised to kick start the initiative. Over £10,000 has already been pledged by members of the community in the last week, even before the appeal was announced. Offers of support from other airport communities around the country are also being made.
SSE intends to play a full and active role in representing the community at the public inquiry through its established volunteer team, reinforced by external specialist support in the form of expert witnesses and legal advisers. Estimates are that to fund this external support the likely cost will be in the region of £100,000 – a sum which will need to be raised very quickly indeed in order to enable SSE to commission the specialists who will be vital in challenging BAA.
As well as appealing to its 6500 supporters and members of the community to make donations, SSE is also calling on people to support the appeal by organising fundraising events throughout the coming year.
Thaxted was chosen as the location for the launch because it is already so heavily overflown and representative of the blight suffered by so many people locally. If expansion were to go ahead on the scale hoped for by BAA, it would mean an extra 115 planes per day for two out of every three days (on average) that it is overflown, making a total of around 360 planes on each of these days.
Members of the public wishing to contribute to the appeal can do so online or by sending cheques payable to SSE at PO Box 311 Takeley, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts CM22 6PY. Further information is available from the SSE Campaign Office on 01279 870558 and firstname.lastname@example.org and this website.
While SSE has called on BAA to do the decent thing and respect the Council’s refusal to allow an increase in aircraft movements and the removal of any ceiling on passenger movements, BAA has nevertheless issued its appeal against the decision. This means that the application will now go forward to a public inquiry which will is expected to start in Spring 2007 and probably last for four to five months.
After the inquiry is over, the Inspector will write a report and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State of the Department for Communities and Local Government (currently Ruth Kelly) who will ultimately make the decision. It is likely to be 2008 before the outcome is known