9th April 2003

EU Commission told of Folly of Airport Expansion Plans

European civil servants and politicians became the latest target for campaigners opposed to airport expansion when a delegation from Stop Stansted Expansion travelled to Brussels as part of the ongoing programme to persuade senior movers and shakers of the folly of making Stansted into the world’s biggest airport.

The Stop Stansted Expansion representatives met with senior civil servants at the Transport & Energy and Environment departments of the European Commission, where the focus was very clearly on the measures which the European Union intends to take to make sure that the ‘polluter pays’ principle is applied to the aviation industry. Meetings were also held with British Government transport aides from the Foreign Office and a delegation of MEP’s from the Eastern Region.

The two-day programme (31 March/1 April) was hosted by local MEP, Christopher Beazley. The delegation comprised two former senior Government advisers and the campaign’s specialist lobbying consultant who travelled to Brussels for the intensive round of meetings by EuroStar.

Commented lobbying consultant James Drewer who organised the briefings: “Our objective was to establish which existing or forthcoming European legislation would provide the most effective platform from which to fight the government’s expansion plans. We were also determined to forge closer ties with our European Members of Parliament to make them aware of what we are facing. We are pleased with the results and have come away armed with some extremely useful information about various European Directives and Conventions that will prove invaluable in strengthening our case.”

Commenting on European plans to introduce Environment charges on Aviation, James Drewer added: “It is clear that the Government’s air travel forecasts and airport expansion plans take little account of future European agreements that will force airlines to pay for the environmental damage they inflict. We believe that these measures will go some way to reducing the predicted rate of growth in air travel and, as such, negate the need for so many extra runways in the South East.”

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