11th February 2008

Terry Waite and Zac Goldsmith join forces for SSE

Terry Waite CBE and Zac Goldmith are to speak at a special evening concert at Mayfair’s Grosvenor Chapel on Thursday 6 March which is designed to bring together communities threatened by airport expansion at Stansted and Heathrow.

Both have been outspoken critics of BAA’s airport expansion plans from not only an environmental perspective but also because of the significant community impacts which additional capacity and new runways at the two airports would have on the regions in which they are based.

The event comes at the end of the Heathrow consultation on increasing capacity at the airport through changes in operational practices and a third runway, and as the Stansted community awaits the lodging of a planning application for a second runway at Stansted plus the outcome of a public inquiry into expansion on its single runway. It has been organised by Stop Stansted Expansion in conjunction with Stop Heathrow Expansion campaigns to inspire solidarity and further action from those under threat.

The programme will feature speeches from Terry Waite and Zac Goldsmith interwoven with a musical programme of English choral music. These will include works by Purcell (Hear My Prayer, O Lord) and Elgar (Serenade) and Bach’s E Major violin sonata, performed by members of the Ground Bass Ensemble – some 15 professional singers and music school students who are lending their support to the cause. A new composition, a setting of poems from Tagore’s Gitanjali by James Lindsay and Lucy Mulgan, will also be premiered during the evening. Musical accompaniment will be provided by Alexandra Reid (violin) and also by Jonathan Galton (piano) who has been responsible for mobilising his musical colleagues to contribute to the event. The conductor is Ben Palmer.

Commenting on the collaboration, Stop Heathrow Expansion’s leader John Stewart said: “This joint event is a visible sign of the solidarity which exists between the Stansted and Heathrow campaigners.”

Carol Barbone, Stop Stansted Expansion’s campaign director, added: “Our two communities are in the frontline of the airport expansion battle and this occasion will have a symbolic as well as practical role in demonstrating our shared commitment to overturning BAA’s plans for its airports in the south east.”

The 18th century Grosvenor Chapel regularly hosts classical music concerts and charity events and is located at 24 South Audley Street, London W1 within easy reach of Bond Street and Green Park underground stations.

Tickets for the event on Thursday 6 March (7.30pm) can be reserved in advance (£5 and £3.50 concessions) from Stop Stansted Expansion on 01279 870558 or bought on the night, subject to availability. Coach travel is also being organised for those travelling from Stansted (details available on request).

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