8th April 2003

Government Condemned over Aviation Birdstrike Report

Stop Stansted Expansion has issued the following statement in response to the publication by the Department for Transport and British Trust for Ornithology of a report into the increased potential for collisions between birds and aeroplanes at a new Cliffe Airport in comparison with other major airports:

“Bird strikes are of concern to those who are responsible for the safety of airport communities and the travelling public. However, focusing on this aspect alone and ignoring the health and safety of those living in a large radius around airports who will be severely affected by noise and related medical problems resulting from expansion on a daily basis – minute by minute, hour by hour – is grossly negligent of the government – especially when some 800,000 people are likely to be put at risk in Greater London and East Anglia alone.

It underlines that the whole consultation is riddled with flaws: the study should have been carried out before full proposals were developed and presented for discussion. That it was not confirms our belief that the government included Cliffe as a red herring, designed to make it appear ‘fair’, with the full intention of ruling it out on a variety of grounds – safety, environmental and industry interests. The objective was clearly to make other sites appear more favourable so that the government could pander to the aviation industry’s wishes without this being immediately obvious.

What makes the situation even more galling is that while millions of pounds have been wasted on a flawed consultation, Stop Stansted Expansion has been told that there is ‘no money’ to fund a full health impact assessment. This is desperately needed to identify the full impact of expansion on the health of those living in Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk. This pushes the burden of proof back on campaigners and we are now having to raise money to conduct our own studies in support of our case against expansion.

With the pressure now on Stansted even more than ever, we are urging all those concerned about the proposals to expand Stansted to write to the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to make their views clear. His address is Great Minster House, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR. Sample letters giving guidance on points to make are available from Stop Stansted Expansion T 01279 870558 or via the internet from www.stopstanstedexpansion.com

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