7th December 2003

Jamie Oliver speaks out against Stansted Expansion

Jamie Oliver has spoken out yet again of his concerns about the devastating impact on the region that would result from making Stansted Airport the world’s biggest airport and nearly five times bigger than its present size.

When asked whether he intended to carry on fighting against proposals to expand Stansted if it featured in the Air Transport White Paper, due out before Christmas, Jamie replied:

“Of course –  no-one in the country would want to see the whole area that they love, and where they have grown up, and where they want to see their children grow up, being destroyed.  I think it would be an enormous mistake – and no-one would be able to reverse a decision once it had all gone forever.”

Jamie also spoke about what he found especially troubling about the proposals to expand Stansted and his concerns about the countryside and villages under threat:

“Personally, I have no interest in politics, except in certain areas (where it concerns food for example) but I know that the feeling in the community is that if Stansted is chosen, it would have been chosen for the wrong reasons.  It isn’t just the beautiful countryside and the villages that will be destroyed by an extra runway, but also the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people. This country has such beautiful countryside that we should cherish it.”

In answer to those who claim that the benefits of expansion outweigh the harm, Jamie added:

“Everyone who I know living around here is really worried about the obvious effects of living next to a massive airport, especially those who were looking forward to bringing their kids up here.  I have always clearly said that I am not against flying or airports  – I have to travel all round the world by air in my line of business – but what I am against is the destruction of vast swathes of English countryside and the massive increase in noise and pollution to be suffered by millions of people in the South East of England.

What I have been saying all along is that we need a serious look at options which would minimise environmental damage and maximise happiness to communities. It is a chance for this government to come up with something really cutting edge if they really think about it. They have really got to get this one right as it will affect so many people all over the country. One of the bizarre things about this is that I  remember going on a march about Stansted expansion with all our local people when I was about 8 years old.  It seems to me that the Government – or successive Governments – just use time to get what they want in the end, softening people up over a period of 10, 15, 20 years.”

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