1st August 2003
Stop Stansted Expansion Celebrates Solid First Year
But, say the campaign’s leaders, there’s still a tremendous amount to be done behind the scenes to influence the Aviation White Paper, due for publication at the end of the year.
The campaign’s efforts are now more firmly focused than ever on persuading the Government of the strength of the case against expansion at Stansted – made in a 107-page response put together by an expert team of advisors and incorporating information from a number of specialist reports by independent consultants.
SSE has also made it clear that if Stansted is included in the White Paper, it will not hesitate to pursue a legal challenge, either independently or in conjunction with other campaign groups and communities under threat. SSE was, of course, successful in challenging the Government at the High Court in late 2002, leading to a seven month extension of the consultation which originally was only meant to last for 17 weeks.
Said SSE chairman, Norman Mead: “The coming months will be critical to our future and, while have much to be proud of on our first birthday, we won’t be slackening our efforts to ensure that those responsible for drafting the White Paper – or for signing it off – are fully persuaded of the overwhelming case against building any more runways at Stansted and of the massive local opposition to any such proposals.”
SSE was formed in response to Government plans to add up to three extra runways at Stansted by 2030. SSE has since waged a relentless campaign – locally as well as in the corridors of Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels, in the courts and in the media – to make the community’s overwhelming opposition to expansion abundantly clear.
A huge number of volunteers have pledged time, professional services and financial support to the campaign which has gone from strength to strength under a full-time director and manager, supported by parliamentary, media and other specialist consultants.
Today, the campaign has 4200 members including over 60 parish and local councils and the support of every local MP, MEPs and over 20 eminent environment and heritage groups including the National Trust, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, Friends of the Earth and Essex Wildlife Trust. SSE also works closely with other communities threatened by airport development and expansion to share intelligence and reinforce the united stand against the Department for Transport’s over-indulgence of the aviation industry’s demands for growth.
Achievements have been significant and even the aviation industry privately acknowledges the strength of the case against expansion at Stansted and the success of the campaign to date which has registered strongly in both the national media and in Parliament.
“A year ago we were caught unprepared by the Government’s expansion proposals for Stansted but we have since demonstrated that we are capable of fighting these proposals through every avenue, at every opportunity and with every breath. We now have an army of committed volunteers working with us – people from all walks of life from professional experts to our campaign co-ordinators in every local community,” continued Norman Mead.
“We do not yet know whether this fight is nearing a satisfactory conclusion or is still just at the beginning. Either way we embark upon our second year with the confidence that we will prevail,” he concluded.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Over the past year Stop Stansted Expansion has:
* Made two detailed and powerful responses to the Department for Transport’s proposals* Successfully challenged the legality and rationality of the consultation in the High Court
* Met with senior Ministers and Government advisors on health, environment and economic issues
* Persuaded many industry, UK and EU experts, MPs and MEPs of the merits of its case
* Commissioned specialist independent reports which have confirmed why Stansted should not be expanded
* Run a polished media campaign resulting in excellent broadcast and print coverage
* Staged a series of profile-raising events demonstrating community opposition to expansion
* Attracted celebrity support from Jamie Oliver MBE, Terry Waite CBE, Barrington Pheloung and others
* Held numerous fundraising events, including auctions, race nights, quizzes and a major concert to keep the campaign going
* Produced a range of fundraising merchandise including the sell-out community calendar
* Published information to people across Hertfordshire, Essex, North London, South Cambridgeshire and Suffolk of the expansion threat
* Created a website which even the Government uses because of the quality of its information
How to continue the fight against expansion:
1. Write to your MP c/o House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA to ask him to raise your concerns with relevant Ministers about the impacts of expansion.2. Sign up as a member of Stop Stansted Expansion to add weight to the campaign against expansion (£10 minimum donation)
3. Sign up for free email news from Stop Stansted Expansion at www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/mailing_list.html
4. Make a donation to the campaign or a pledge to the legal fund
5. Organise a fundraising event or activity or take part in one to keep the campaign going
6. Talk to SSE’s volunteer coordinators if you think you could offer help. Further information: 01279 870558, firstname.lastname@example.org or this website