23rd December 2003

BAA Propaganda Slammed as “Crude and Crass”

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned BAA for delivering thousands of glossy leaflets to local householders in the days before Christmas implying that a second Stansted runway is already decided. The leaflet was accompanied by a covering letter from Terry Morgan, Managing Director of Stansted Airport, and is BAA’s first salvo in a propaganda war aimed at undermining local opposition to its expansion plans.

“We fully expected Lord Haw Haw tactics from BAA” said Norman Mead, Chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, “but we thought they might have had the good grace to wait until after Christmas before launching their campaign of intimidation and misinformation. It’s disgraceful to try to frighten people in this way by implying that the battle is over before it has even properly begun.”

Although the government White Paper endorses the idea of a second Stansted runway, it makes it very clear that this is not authorisation for a second runway and that its policies will be subject to periodic review.

“At most, it’s an amber light not a green light” said Mr Mead “BAA knows very well that this project faces enormous legal, regulatory, planning, environmental and economic obstacles and may never see the light of day.   If it is just assuming that it can bully and bluster its way through, the company will soon learn that this community is made of sterner stuff.”

BAA has also announced an early buy-out scheme to those living in homes and listed buildings that would be obliterated to make way for an expanded airport. Quite simply, BAA wants to get people out of the way as quickly as possible in a shabby attempt to make the company’s position easier in the fight to come, says the campaign group. It is a pathetic sop cast from the BAA propaganda machine which only hardens the SSE resolve to defeat these plans.

“The people whose homes would be lost if these plans were ever to proceed are currently under great pressure personally and emotionally and, inevitably, very vulnerable to those who may try to take advantage,” stressed Mr Mead. “I cannot find the words to express my feelings towards
BAA’s crass and crude attempt to panic and frighten these people in the days before Christmas – a time of the year when families and communities should be entitled to a bit of respite.

BAA should remember what happened to Lord Haw Haw in the end. He paid the price for all his bluster and misinformation at the hands of the courts.

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