16th September 2003
Respect the Will of the People and our Heritage, Terry Waite Warns
Terry Waite CBE has made a plea for the government to show respect for heritage and the views of ordinary people in producing its Air Transport White Paper, due out in December. He has also warned that it would be unwise to ignore the collective will of the communities which would be so severely affected by making Stansted bigger than Heathrow and ultimately the world’s largest airport with the addition of even one extra runway.
In a statement issued via Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), Terry Waite said: “Our heritage is a priceless and dwindling asset and we all have a duty to protect it. Whenever our heritage is destroyed we all suffer whether we live near to an airport or not.” The lives of countless country dwellers living near to Stansted would, he said, be disrupted by noise and other forms of pollution that would come with an airport serving four times as many passengers than at present.
The former hostage who pledged his support to SSE earlier this year stressed that those who live around Stansted have a right to enjoy their heritage rather than sacrificing it forever to the big business interests which are pressing relentlessly for additional runways at the airport. He also drew attention to the need for a coordinated transport policy rather than focusing all attention on the three BAA-owned airports in the south east.
“I make a plea for sensible planning, proper respect for the views of ordinary people, a healthy respect for our heritage and a recognition from big business corporations that there is more to life that increasing profits,” he said. “Life is for living and the people around Stansted have a right to enjoy their heritage rather than being made slaves to big business ambitions.”
Terry Waite, who is due to lead the seven mile Horseshoes Hike protest walk for Stop Stansted Expansion on Sunday 28 September, is supportive of all the communities under threat from airport expansion proposals which would obliterate or severely impact on countryside, heritage and entire communities. He has a long-standing association with Stansted, however, through John McCarthy whose family lived in Broxted, close to the airport.
The Horseshoes Hike will echo last year’s highly successful Runway Ramble and will begin at The Three Horseshoes in Duton Hill (between Thaxted and Dunmow) at 11am and culminate in a rally at the end of the walk opposite the Three Horseshoes at Molehill Green at 3pm. It is designed to send a clear message to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling that the people of Stansted remain committed to protecting the region’s priceless heritage and environment.
The walk itself passes through countryside which will be severely blighted or swallowed up forever by an enlarged airport if expansion is allowed to go ahead. Thousands are expected to take part and many people will be collecting sponsorship in support of the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign.
Further information on the walk and rally is available from Stop Stansted Expansion T 01279 870558 or www.stopstanstedexpansion.com.
A copy of Terry Waite’s full statement appears below:
“Contrary to what has been reported I do not live near to Stanstead Airport. I live over one hour away. However, I continue to protest about the proposed expansion for several reasons.
First, why is it that major expansion is being suggested for three airports. Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted? Could it be that all three airports come under the control of BAA? Would it not be more sensible to spread development across the country and develop a coordinated transport policy that takes into account road, rail, sea and air transport. A clear policy is sadly lacking in the UK.
Second, in respect of Stansted, this airport is situated in an area of considerable natural beauty and historical heritage. Should the proposed expansion go ahead then over sixty grade two listed buildings would be demolished FOREVER. Once they have gone they can never be replaced. Our heritage is a priceless and dwindling asset and we all have a duty to protect it. Whenever our heritage is destroyed we all suffer whether we live near to an airport or not.
Third, the lives of countless country dwellers living near to Stansted will be disrupted by noise and other forms of pollution. The vast majority of people living near to the airport are not impressed by the suggestion that many more jobs will be created as experience in other parts of the country has shown that this not to be the case. At the moment they have been admirable it making their voice known through peaceful protest. It would be very unwise for any government to ignore the feelings of country people.
Finally, let me emphasise that the British Isles is larger than the Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick regions. It is madness to concentrate development in these three areas. It is madness to destroy our heritage. I make a plea for sensible planning, proper respect for the views of ordinary people, a healthy respect for our heritage and a recognition from big business corporations that there is more to life that increasing profits.
Life is for living and the people around Stansted have a right to enjoy their heritage rather than being made slaves to big business ambitions. Any government that seeks to serve the people properly will do well to listen to the people of Stansted and district.”