20th June 2003

Freedom to Fly Attack “Pathetic” says Stop Stansted Expansion

Stop Stansted Expansion has attacked as ‘pathetic’ Freedom to Fly’s trivialisation of the effects of airport expansion on the lives and heritage of hundreds of thousands of people across the south east.

Freedom to Fly, the mouthpiece of the aviation industry which is largely funded by BAA and BA have condemned Terry Waite CBE and Jamie Oliver MBE – both supporters of the Stansted campaign against creating an airport double the size of Heathrow in the Essex countryside – for their humanitarian and business flying.

The front-group has yet to come up with a convincing case for devastating vast tracts of countryside, thousands of homes and hundreds of listed buildings across the south east which would be concreted over if extra runways were constructed.

At Stansted alone, 326 homes would go if three extra runways were added, including 65 listed buildings and 3000 acres of prime farmland. Ancient lanes and hedgerows would also disappear, while the National Trust owned Hatfield Forest would be severely compromised. The ‘airport in the countryside’ would grow from 16m passengers in 2002 to 129m by 2030.

“When your opponent stoops to personal vilification you can be confident that you are winning the argument,” said Stop Stansted Expansion campaign director Carol Barbone. “BAA and its ilk are clearly clutching at straws now in a last ditch attempt to get their own way.”

“The reality is that the aviation industry is hell-bent on lining its own pocket at the expense of people’s well-being, sense of community and heritage – including the environment. In fact, if greater use were to be made of existing capacity at regional airports no new runways would be needed at all,” she continued.

On the targeting of celebrity support for the campaign against expansion, she added: “This is an own goal for the aviation industry given that Jamie Oliver and Terry Waite are frank, honest, outspoken and representatives of the people with their common sense views. They, like all the campaign groups, are not opposed to flying but the unprecedented scale of expansion which is being proposed by the Department of Transport with the backing of the aviation lobby.”

The campaign group is urging all those who are concerned about expansion and its impacts to write to the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, before the public consultation ends on Monday 30 June. The address is: Department of Transport, Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR. A copy should also be sent to their local MP.

More information and sample letters can be obtained from this website or by calling 01279 870558.


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