5th August 2002
New campaign group formed
A new campaign group has been established to fight Government proposals to turn Stansted into one of the world’s largest airports, twice the size of Heathrow. Called Stop Stansted Expansion, the group is now launching a major membership and fundraising drive to finance a high profile campaign targeted at pressurising the Government into shelving its plans for the Airport.
“Let us be in no doubt that we have a tough job ahead of us”, said campaign chairman, Norman Mead. “But it is a challenge we believe we can meet if we make enough noise and show that Stansted will be the most politically sensitive target for the Government. There appears to be a consensus that Stansted is currently the easy option for Alistair Darling. Heathrow has already proved itself to be a politically difficult area for further development, and the Gatwick Legal Agreement prohibits the construction of a further runway before 2019. The suggested estuarial airport at Cliffe with its attendant environmental problems would clearly be costly for the Government but the privately funded scheme for an island airport (Marinair), not considered by SERAS, might well provide an acceptable solution. However, Stansted cannot and must not be the soft target and we will use whatever tactics are necessary to show Alistair Darling that we will not allow his pie-in-the-sky idea to become reality.
“Stop Stansted Expansion has two objectives. Firstly we shall be challenging the Government’s claim that airport capacity must increase fourfold in the South East by 2030. Secondly we will fight tooth and nail against the proposal to build another three runways at Stansted because it will destroy hundreds of people’s homes, three ancient monuments and 65 listed buildings; it will severely impact on the quality of life – and health – of thousands more; it will also mean the destruction of an entire expanse of British countryside and wipe out whole communities. We will not let this region of England’s green and pleasant land become a sea of concrete.”
The group was formed at a meeting on 1st August in the Crafton Green Day Centre in Stansted. The meeting was attended by over 100 people representing parish and town councils from East Herts and Essex and organisations such as North West Essex and East Herts Preservation Association (NWEEHPA), the Council for the Protection of Rural England (Essex) and Friends of the Earth. In addition to an executive committee that will oversee the campaign, a number of working groups were established to drive the publicity, lobbying and fundraising campaigns and to formulate the group’s response to the Government’s consultation document.
“The formation of Stop Stansted Expansion has been an incredibly fast process and this is a demonstration of how strongly people feel about the Government’s proposals”, continued Mr Mead. “We now desperately need funds and supporters to move our campaign forward.”
Membership of the campaign group costs £10, although supporters are encouraged to donate as much as they can afford. Subscription forms can be obtained by calling 01279 870558. Alternatively, people can send cheques, made payable to Stop Stansted Expansion, to the Campaign Office at PO Box 311, Takeley, Bishops Stortford, CM22 6PY, together with their name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Those joining the group are automatically members of NWEEHPA.
The group is also asking for people to provide active support. “We are lucky to have already received many pledges of help from IT, PR, marketing, fundraising, lobbying, legal, aviation and medical experts – but we need more”, said Mr Mead. “We also need people who are willing to help on the ground with fundraising and administration and we are looking to establish a network of parish and residential area coordinators who can help distribute information in their area.” Volunteers are being asked to call the campaign office.