On Thursday, 1st August I attended, on behalf of the Parish Council, a meeting called by NWEEHPA to discuss the campaign against the plans for additional runways in the south-east, with the possibility of three more planned for Stansted Airport.
It was a busy, crowded and noisy meeting but the following items were agreed:
- There would be formed a separate campaign body to be called STOP STANSTED EXPANSION under the auspices of NWEEHPA, to campaign against the construction of any more inland runways in the south-east, particularly at Stansted.
- Norman Mead is to be Chairman of the campaign, and Peter Gowan Vice-Chairman. Together with the leaders of various sub-committees they would form the campaign committee.
The purposes of the campaign would be to:
- Undermine the Governments’ position, as set out in the consultation document, by disproving the statistics and querying the assumptions in the report
- Make any development at Stansted Airport politically unacceptable
- Stress the case for an off-shore airport
The target of the campaign would be Alistair Darling, the Minister for Transport, who would be taking the final decisions.
However, the campaign would not be:
- Suggesting that any of the other sites were more suitable (we are against inland runways anywhere)
- Making this a party political issue
- Allowing what differences we may have with other organisations associated with the campaign (CPRE, FoE etc.) to get in the way of the promotion of this campaign.
Several sub-committees were established: Lobbying and Publicity; Legal & Compensation Matters; Membership; Finance & Fundraising; Health & Related Matters; and a number of people volunteered to lead and join these committees. I was impressed by the people coming forward – professional political lobbyists, professional and experienced environmental campaigners and barristers etc.
The NWEEHPA office in Takeley is being put on a "war footing" and is being staffed full-time.
Some form of mass protest is being planned for the autumn, in order to get maximum publicity and public support for the campaign.
Posters, car-stickers and information packs will be produced.
A "road-show" is being prepared to tour local villages (and outlying areas which may not realise just how they will be affected by noise, flight-paths, aircraft stacks, roads and other development).
An umbrella organisation AirportWatch exists – a close link will be maintained with it, and with the campaigning groups at Heathrow and Gatwick.
Copies of the summary of the SERAS Report, and the questionnaire, are being delivered to every house in the village (by the Post Office, and delivery does appear to be a bit erratic). The advice was given NOT to complete the questionnaire at this time, as it was ambiguously worded and the "wrong" conclusion could be drawn from some answers. Some advice would be forthcoming on this later. Further copies of the report and questionnaire can be obtained by calling 0845 100 5554, or by e-mail to email@example.com, or by download from www.aviation.dft.gov.uk/consult/airconsult/se/main/index.htm.
Broxted Parish Council will be holding a public meeting in the Village Hall on Wednesday 21st August at 8.00 p.m. to explain what individuals can do to help the campaign.
If you have any questions in the meantime please call NWEEHPA on 01279 870558
More information can be found at www.stopstanstedexpansion.com
Roger Clark (01279 850638)