On behalf of Broxted Parish Council may I welcome you to our village this afternoon. Please do take the opportunity to have a good look around. There is a great deal to see, but, as it is a spread-out village please do make good use of the free shuttle buses.
Broxted is not a picture-book village. You won't find its image on any chocolate box or biscuit tin, but we believe it has some of the finest views in Essex, and some of the best agricultural land in eastern England. There has been a community here for more than a thousand years and many of the local farms and cottages bear witness to hundreds of years of occupation by people who have devoted their lives to their homes and gardens and to the community that is Broxted. BAA may refer to our ‘houses’ as if that was all there is of our village, but this is a living, vibrant place of homes, where people care for their neighbours, their village, their environment and for their community.
On the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren in St. Paul's Cathedral is the inscription "if you seek his monument - look around you". I would say to you today, "if you seek the reason why we are so adamant that this crack-pot scheme for a second runway shall never come to fruition - look around you".
There are many arguments against any further development of Stansted Airport. To us they seem so simple and obvious that we almost tire of rehearsing them.
But most importantly, the addition of a second runway doesn't mean just another strip of concrete. It gives the airport the capacity to become the largest airport in the world. Imagine Heathrow, or any large international airport, double the size of that and you can begin to imagine exactly what that will mean for this village, and for towns and villages for miles and miles around. Does BAA, does the Government, really intend for that to happen? As Graham Ayre, the government's inspector at the inquiry in 1984 said, a second runway at Stansted would constitute ‘an unprecedented and wholly unacceptable environmental and visual disaster’. Incidentally, that was the third public inquiry into the development of this airport, and like the previous two, it found against it. We have no reason to doubt that the fourth will come to any other conclusion.
Please do enjoy your visit to Broxted, and as the poet W.H. Davies said, do take the "time to stand and stare", and perhaps you will then understand why we are so determined that this ‘environmental and visual disaster’ will never, never, be visited upon us.