| SSE NEWS ARCHIVE - August to November 2002
29 November 2002
AIR TRANSPORT CONSULTATION DEEPLY FLAWED: REQUIRES TOTAL RETHINK
The Sustainable Development Commission today takes the Government to task
for the way it has conducted its consultation on the future of air transport
in the UK.
Responding to the Department for Transport's consultation, Commission
Chairman Jonathon Porritt said:
"The Government's approach to air transport is stuck in the old mindset of
'predict and provide'. But asking which airports should be expanded or
built before appraising the balance of costs and benefits in any expansion
programme is missing the point. It will be crucial to engage the public in a
proper debate on how air travel fits into the broader picture of sustainable
transport, and how it helps to deliver sustainable development here in the
UK and further afield."
In its response to the consultation, published today, the Commission says
* All Government policy in this area must be founded on the need to
take forward its own sustainable development strategy. This document fails
that test by taking a narrow focus on the economic benefits of airport
development, implicitly accepting that any environmental and social costs,
however great, are the necessary price of progress.
* The analysis is based on the flawed and old concept of 'predict and
provide', which will only lead to unconstrained growth.
* A full analysis is needed to bring out the true environmental and
social costs imposed by the aviation industry, including those from airports
and their users, so that they can develop innovative ways of meeting those
* We need an engaged national debate, set within a proper sustainable
development framework, to explore the balance of the costs and benefits
entailed in any airport expansion.
* Climate change is a far more serious issue than is acknowledged at
any point in the consultation documents, and the contribution of emissions
for air transport much more significant than acknowledged. Unless Government
addresses the continuing growth of air transport, this global problem will
only get worse.
"It's clearly time for a major rethink. Not least because the Chancellor's
pre-budget statement has reaffirmed the urgency of developing economic
instruments to help the industry reduce its environmental footprint", added
Sustainable Development Commission Press Release 28/11/02
27 November 2002
HOUSE OF COMMONS WRITTEN STATEMENT
In October, Kent County Council and Medway Council applied for a judicial
review of the Government's decision not to include any options for new
runways at Gatwick airport in the consultation on airport capacity. The
Government had taken that decision after careful consideration of various
factors, including our conclusion that it would be wrong to seek to overturn
the legal agreement entered into by West Sussex County Council and BAA (then
in government ownership), preventing construction of a further runway at
Gatwick before 2019.
Yesterday, Mr Justice Maurice Kay held that the Government was wrong not to
have included any options for new runways at Gatwick. However, the Court
granted permission for the Government to appeal against this decision.
Having considered the matter, I believe it would be wrong to extend the
uncertainty that would inevitably result from a lengthy appeal process, and
so I have therefore decided to accept the judgment. As a result we will
include Gatwick in the consultation. This will regrettably mean that the
publication of the White Paper will be delayed.
I will make a further statement setting out how we intend to proceed
The Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Alistair Darling)
26 November 2002
HIGH COURT RULING ON GOVERNMENT'S AIR TRANSPORT CONSULTATION
"We are delighted with the result and that common sense has prevailed. It is, of
course, the first round in a fight for justice for tens of thousands of private citizens
and to save some of the most beautiful countryside against wholesale desecration by
outdated proposals. We sincerely hope the Secretary of State, Mr Alistair Darling, will
turn his attention to the pressing importance of this and consider alternatives, for
example the construction of a modern state of the art offshore airport such as
those already in operation in a number of other countries including Singapore, Hong Kong
and South Korea."
Head of the Stop Stansted Expansion Legal Committee
18 November 2002
MINISTERS MUST BE BOLD ON NEW LONDON AIRPORT
The Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group (SASIG) of the Local Government Association
Local authorities across England today called on ministers to find a "visionary solution" to tackle airport congestion by building a major 24-hour airport near London.
Some 70 authorities are backing a report that presses the Government to build a fourth major airport serving South East England, accommodating up to 150 million passengers a year.
The new four/five-runway airport would avoid the need for massive expansion of London's three biggest airports - Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick - sparing hundreds of thousands of nearby residents additional disruption.
In a detailed report submitted to the Government, backed by an independent economic study, SASIG calls on ministers to reject demands for new runways at existing London airports. It also says that strict limits should be imposed on the number of aircraft and passengers using the three major London airports to control the impact of noise and pollution on large local populations. Regional airports should be expanded to provide local residents with better services, says the SASIG report.
SASIG issued a warning that ministers should move away from "growth by stealth" at major airports and make a fresh start in airport development. Cllr Richard Worrall, chairman of SASIG, said: "The time has come for bold, imaginative solutions. The days of ad-hoc, incremental growth - an extra runway here, a new terminal there - must be ended forever. Expanding airports that are already congested or in the wrong place is a short-term answer that fails to address the needs of future generations."
In July, the Government suggested a fourth airport as an option in trying to meet national demand that is expected to rise from the present 180 million passengers a year to 500 million by 2030. Of these, up to 300 million are forecast to use South East airports.
SASIG, which comprises more than 70 local authorities with aviation interests and responsibilities within their administrative areas, accepts the Government's mid point forecasts of 500 million passengers per year at 2030, as a basis for long-term planning. However, as past forecasts have been too low, the SASIG report insists that the Government develop a strategy that has viability for at least another 10 years beyond 2030 to accommodate higher or slower growth.
The SASIG document says that development of smaller airports in the South East, as well as in the South West, Midlands and the North of England are necessary to "predict and plan" passenger demand and airport provision.
In its response to the Government's consultation papers "The Future Development of Air Transport in the UK", SASIG says that a new airport would remove the "unacceptable" impact of noise and pollution on local populations surrounding the three main London airports.
It would also come much closer to meeting the South East forecast of 300 million passengers, while expansion of existing airports would fall well short of this figure and would face a string of expensive planning inquiries.
The SASIG document acknowledges that there is likely to be "strong, local opposition to any individual project proposed by Government. That should not be a reason for the Government to avoid taking those difficult decisions."
The Department for Transport has suggested Cliffe, in north Kent, as a potential site for a fourth airport and SASIG's response includes a technical report, written by Berkeley Hanover Consulting, that compares the costs and benefits of building a new airport at Cliffe.
Although there are environmental difficulties in building an airport at Cliffe, the independent report concludes that the costs of providing mitigation measures for bird life would be less than a quarter the cost of a compulsory purchase of up to 15,000 homes if a new runway were built at Heathrow.
Cliffe offers the opportunity to build an airport on a site that has adequate land, but which would impact on a much smaller number of people than developments at existing airports, says SASIG. However, SASIG also calls on the Government to look more closely at the impact of Cliffe and also to examine other areas to see if an even better new airport site can be found.
The SASIG document says that building a new airport would be similar to past decisions made in France to develop Charles de Gaulle airport at Paris when Orly (close to the built up area of Paris) was judged to be "full". The SASIG report says: "Cliffe has the potential to be a better hub than Charles de Gaulle - and hence a stronger, more attractive airport."
SASIG Press Release
18 November 2002
GOOD NEWS OR PIE IN THE SKY?
Aviation industry sets sustainability targets
The European aeronautics industry recently announced strategic
research goals that aim to help aviation move into "the age of
sustainable growth" by yielding big cuts in emissions and other
environmental impacts by 2020, at the same time as improving quality,
safety, efficiency of the transport system and security.
In its maiden report, industry advisory council Acare, comprising
European Commission, member state and industry representatives, points
out that its strategy aims to prevent the industry's projected
expansion being curtailed by "unacceptable environmental impacts".
The environmental goals on Acare's agenda are to halve fuel
consumption and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per passenger kilometre;
cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by 80%; reduce perceived external
noise levels by half; and minimise the industry's environmental impact
during manufacture, maintenance and disposal of aircraft and
The group acknowledges that current technology is yielding diminishing
environmental returns. Innovative aeronautical designs and alternative
fuels have to be researched to meet these goals, it says.
The agenda's main strategic goal is, however, to help the air
transport system "triple its 2000 figure for passenger, freight and air
traffic by 2020", according to an EU statement. Even if Acare's
environmental goals can be realised, all other things being equal, it
seems unlikely that industry growth will fail to outstrip environmental
Acare Executive Summary
European Commission and Tel: +32 2 299 1111
COMMENT BY PAT DALE
Worthy aims but if they aim to triple the 2000 figure for air traffic the reductions would be minimal. At the moment we understand that reducing fuel consumption leads to more NO2 production as does noise minimisation. If a green plane engine can be designed we will be the first to book a seat (and pay any taxes required). Let's have more details.
16 November 2002
AIRPORTWATCH REFUTES RUNWAY CLAIMS IN THE TIMES
An article in today's Times newspaper, "Protesters concede need for two more South East runways" (Ben Webster, The Times, 14 November 2002) claims that the AirportWatch campaign acknowledges the need for two new runways in the South East. This is not the case.
As indicated in the article, AirportWatch does advocate the need for the aviation industry to pay for its social and environmental costs in full, a desire that is also shared by the Government. We estimate that this might increase air fares, on average, by up to 20%. This will slow the growth in air services and avoid the need to build at least one of the three new runways that industry says it requires to meet demand in the South East over the next 30 years.
But this does not imply support for two new runways. We also continue to argue strongly for the removal of subsides and tax concessions afforded to the industry which help to inflate demand through artificially low air fares, encourage the use of rail as an alternative to some short-haul flights, and wish to see reasonable environmental limits imposed at airports to prevent any increase in exposure to aircraft noise and pollution.
Our analysis suggests, that the cumulative impact of these measures will be to limit the growth in air traffic over the next 30 years to a level that can be accommodated within existing or approved capacity at South East airports. This would avoid the need to build new runways and the destructive impact that this would have on our landscape, heritage and sensitive habitats.
To highlight the environmental costs argument in isolation from the package of measures we have proposed, and to suggest that this implies acceptance of the need to provide new runways, is misleading. The AirportWatch campaign, and its supporters, will continue to oppose plans for new runways based on unsustainable growth forecasts.
AirportWatch Press Release
9 November 2002
SSE FUNDING SUMMARY
1 August to 5 November 2002
To date Stop Stansted Expansion has received £42,800 from Membership Fees, Donations, Collections & T-shirt sales
Campaigning payments made and creditors owing amount to £31,780. This breaks down into the following headings:
Office - General Expenses: £3,550
Publicity Materials (posters, car stickers etc): £9,790
Ramble Costs: £1,880
Economics, PR, Graphics & Lobbying Consultants (up to the end of November): £16,560
The Legal expense in connection with the Judicial Review is being treated as a separate funding exercise and the intention is, in the longer term, that none of the Membership contributions will go towards it. However, it has been necessary to provide a deposit of £10,000 with the lawyers handling the Judicial Review.
SSE will be needing considerably more funds to continue the campaign until and beyond the publication of the Aviation White Paper next Spring. All donations and fund raising activities are warmly welcomed!
6 November 2002
THE NATIONAL PRESS REMEMBERS THAT THERE IS AN AIRPORT CONSULTATION!
No doubt the huge majority in Uttlesford voting against Stansted expansion will produce a few headlines. Will it last? During the last 2 weeks there have been several accounts in different papers about the reactions to airport expansion in different parts of the UK. The families' lobby of Parliament was reasonably well reported with interviews in the Evening Standard featuring three families who would loose their home if expansion of Stansted went ahead. The Guardian reported on anti-expansion groups in the midlands and at Cliffe. They also included views from Brenda Dean's "Freedom to Fly" group, rather suggesting that it was representing the Trade Union view, when in fact it is mainly engaged in promoting the need for cheap air travel.
Other articles have given potted versions of the consultation document statistics with some brief comments from AirportWatch and Jamie Oliver.
There has also been an exposure of the fact that some of the consultation documents have not been available, especially those on safety. Are they really now available? The air safety report quoted refers to Cliffe and the restrictions that would have to operate in the airspace affecting Heathrow, and, if the route map is consulted, Stansted as well. We await further information on this vital safety issue. Can all these proposed flights really be safely operated over the UK?
In the last few days two very important news items have emerged.
First: Travel Trends, regularly published by the International Passenger Survey
This is an ongoing survey published annually and the figures for 2000 - 2001 have just been published. They highlight the dominance of the tourist industry by airborne UK tourists. Here are some figures:
* Overseas residents paid 22.8 million visits to the UK in 2001, 3 million fewer than the peak of 1998. (Some loss will be due to terrorist fears but the fall started before September 11th).
* They spent £11.3 billion in 2001.
* Two thirds came by air, about 30% were business visits. 65% from Europe.
* UK Residents made 58.3 million visits abroad in 2001, nearly 8 million more than 1998 and 2 million more than 2000.
* They spent over £25 billion in 2001.
* Nearly three quarters travelled by air, about 14% were business visits, 81% to Europe.
This means that the loss to the national economy was just under £14 billion! Air Travel is certainly encouraging the UK economy! Or do they mean the National Debt?
These figures do not consider the potential losses, fuel tax, VAT and environmental costs. In addition only 14% of UK trips were for business purposes, though somewhat better for overseas business visitors.
We should also ask why tourist visitor numbers are falling, (business visitors have only fallen by 100,000 since 1998) - perhaps they are not getting the kind of holiday they expect. Our tourist centres are already very crowded, could they cope with the predicted additional tourist numbers in 2030?
Travel Trends should be presented to the Department for Transport as valuable evidence against encouraging any expansion or air traffic. Gordon Brown might be interested as well.
The second news item: BAA threatens not to build terminal 5!
BAA are demanding that the CAA allow them to raise airport charges. If not they say that they will not proceed with the building of Terminal 5. The airlines, especially BA, are of course opposing any higher charges. Who will win the battle? Perhaps both sides should reflect that whoever wins it is the British taxpayer and those who live round the airports who lose most both financially and in the degradation of their living conditions. Their profits come at the expense of residents and the long term health of the environment.
6 November 2002
SAFFRON WALDEN'S TOWN MAYOR GREETS THE GOOD NEWS
"What wonderful news" said Councillor Daphne Cornell, the Town Mayor, when she learnt of the overwhelming Uttlesford vote against the imposition of extra runways at Stansted Airport.
She went on to say that residents must not become complacent and think that the proposals will go away. The Government still has to be persuaded that the expansion of inland airports is not the answer. Extra runways at Stansted will change Uttlesford for ever, and not for the better. Everybody must write their own letter of objection to the Minister and to their MP.
Councillor Russell Green, who is Leader of the Labour Group on Uttlesford
District Council, when asked for his comments, said how pleased he was that
residents had supported the District Council's decision to oppose extra
runways at Stansted airport. He had been born and brought up in Uttlesford
and no development should be allowed that would change the character of the
area and create a huge congested urban area stretching into London.
5 November 2002
89% SAY NO MORE RUNWAYS AT STANSTED
A massive 89% (33,546) of Uttlesford residents have voted for no more runways at Stansted Airport. Uttlesford's historic referendum was carried out by the independent and respected Electoral Reform Services. Voters were asked "Do you want more runways at Stansted?" Over 69% of the ballot papers were returned - a bigger turnout than at the last General Election - with the overwhelming majority voting NO.
Councillor Robert Chambers, Leader of the Council, said
"When I put forward the idea of a referendum on possible expansion of Stansted Airport I had no inkling of the fantastic response we would have. To achieve a higher turnout than at the General Election really shows how strongly the local people feel against these proposals which would decimate Uttlesford. May I thank all the electors for their help and can I assure them that the Council will do all it can to protect this beautiful district in which we live."
Councillor Alan Dean, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, added "This was a unique democratic event. The voters of Uttlesford have spoken for people everywhere. No inland monster hub airport in anyone's backyard!"
Councillor Mrs Margaret Caton, Leader of the Independent Group said "I am delighted with the turnout and the result fully endorses the Council's opposition to more runways. I am grateful to the electors of Uttlesford for taking part."
The result of the referendum will now be delivered directly to the Government so that they are aware of the views of the people of Uttlesford.
UDC Press Release
2 November 2002
HERTS CC MAINTAINS STRONG LINE AGAINST AIRPORT EXPANSION
Hertfordshire County Council has set out its objections to government plans
for airport expansion. The council's cabinet agreed on Monday 28 October to
four resolutions that outline how it will make a stand against the
County Councillor Iris Tarry, Executive Member for Environment, said:
"Setting out the resolutions shows our commitment to making sure that any
proposed airport expansions will not have a detrimental effect on
Hertfordshire. People need to know that we are not going to simply stand by
and watch part of the county's environment be destroyed."
"They can be sure that we will do everything that we possibly can to stop
this from happening."
The resolutions are:
- That the County Council expresses its grave concern over the government's
threatened attack upon Hertfordshire's environment and the quality of life
of its residents that would inevitably result from increased noise, traffic,
pollution and urbanisation associated with the grossly excessive proposals
for the expansion of Luton, Stansted and Heathrow airports.
- That without prejudice to its formal response to the government's SERAS
consultation, the County Council indicates that it will object to any
airport proposals which have an unacceptable impact upon residents in
- That against this background, the County Council takes every opportunity
to raise awareness of its concerns and to encourage public response to the
- That the County Council works closely with Essex County Council and other
neighbouring authorities to raise the profile of Hertfordshire's concerns
with Central Government and other appropriate agencies, and to influence the
preparation and consideration of any legislation following the SERAS
The County Council has also set up a number of public meetings Hertfordshire
to give people the chance to have their say on the plans and to keep people
fully informed about the likely effect on their communities. These include:
- County Hall, Hertford, Monday 4 November, 7pm for 7.30pm start
- Old Town Hall, Berkhamsted, Thursday 7 November, 7pm for 7.30pm start
- Sworders Fields, Bishops Stortford, Sunday 24 November, 2.30pm
30 October 2002
"WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME SITUATION AND WE MUST WORK TOGETHER"
This message was loud and clear from John Stewart (Heathrow) and Jeff Gazzard (AirportWatch), both of whom spoke at the Stansted meeting on the 29th in St Mary's School Hall. A large audience heard John Stewart describe what it was like living under a flight path in south east London with a plane overhead every 90 seconds. He did not even live within the 57 dBA contour and when he first moved into the area there was only the occasional plane then, without warning, flight paths were changed, and now his family's life was consumed by noise. John was convinced that the Government figures for the expansion of air traffic were not correct - they were being challenged, the predicted major expansion of tourism would be a financial drain on the UK economy and there was no shortage of business seats today or likely to be a massive increase in demand. He did not believe that any more runways were needed. All the selected development sites must stand together and reject the forecasts.
Norman Mead had earlier described the progress of Stop Stansted Expansion, since the initial packed meeting at Stansted Secondary School when over 1,000 people attended and many had to listen to relayed speeches outside the building.
Peter Gowan read from an official answer letter sent to a member in which it was admitted that no flight plans have been drawn up for the future options proposed for Stansted airport. The conclusion - noise contours are based on assumptions that that could be found to be entirely wrong when NATS gets round to considering how and where all these additional aircraft are going to be routed. The recent SSE Press Notice quotes the view of their Chief Executive. In a speech to the UK Aviation Club on September 19th he actually condemned any idea of building a new airport in the south east - "The stark reality we then face is either to close or severely to limit capacity at one of the other London airports". Peter also told us that it is still impossible to obtain several background documents on the SERAS list, including two key reports from NATS and the CAA on airspace capacity.
(Are we really expected to make comments without even knowing if the projected number of planes can actually be accommodated? We might add, what about European airspace, especially French - every plane to Europe and the Far East travels over France - has anyone consulted their Air Traffic Control?)
We also learnt that the anti Rugby group (the proposed new airport in the midlands) had actually suggested that their members should recommend Stansted as the best place for an airport expansion. Jeff Gazzard reassured everyone that it was a mistake, and that the group were not going to make any such recommendation. Emails had been flying to and fro and we were all good friends opposing the whole idea of the need for extra runways.
He also reminded us not to spend time and energy in arguing about the approval of the BAA application for expansion to accommodate 25 mppa. (Many people asked questions as to why Councillors had not rejected this application.) He reminded us that the Inspector had at the original Stansted inquiry made it clear that Stansted could increase up to 25 mppa, though he had also said that there should not be a second runway. Parliament had approved the development of Stansted Airport and in his view it would have been impossible to win at any public inquiry. The question of a major expansion was quite different - objections should not be deviated into discussions and recriminations over the 25 mppa expansion which, realistically, was inevitable. The SERAS options were not.
The meeting was reminded that this Saturday was Red Letter Day. Letters of objection were essential. Help would be available all over Uttlesford and in Bishop's Stortford.
Get on and write your letter! To your MP - to Alistair Darling - and object to the consultation document. If you don't have the document, and can't join SSE on Saturday, telephone 0845 100 5554 for a free copy.
24 October 2002
NO 10 PETITIONED ON AIRPORT
Times Article by a Correspondent
Nearly 200 children took part in a protest walk to Downing Street yesterday against proposals to expand Stansted airport.
The children were escorted by about 100 adults from Trafalgar Square to present a petition to the Government opposing plans for increased traffic at Stansted airport.
The children also handed over a collection of photographs of villages, countryside and places of interest that the protesters claim will disappear or be blighted by any redevelopments. They say Stansted would be twice the size of Heathrow if the development went ahead.
The Government has proposed building up to three extra runways at the Essex airport. The plan is one of a number being considered to increase capacity at airports across the country to deal with predicted future increases in passenger numbers.
23 October 2002
PLANNING CHIEF URGES CLOSURE OF HEATHROW
Guardian Article by David Walker
Sir Peter Hall, the country's most eminent town and country planner, will
today call for the closure of Heathrow airport - and its replacement by a
new airport in the Thames estuary, east of the capital.
Sir Peter, emeritus professor at the Bartlett school at University College
and a former adviser to Tory and Labour governments, will throw his weight
behind the embryonic plan to construct a multi-runway international airport
at Cliffe on marshland on the north Kent coast. Environmentalists may be
soothed, he argues, if part of the airport is built offshore in the Thames
In his first speech as president of the Town and Country Planning
Association he said the government has got to take a long term - at least 50
years - view on air travel. This must mean replacing the "socially and
environmentally damaging Heathrow" with a new hub where noise problems will
be less and transport links better.
The TCPA has lobbied for years to redirect development in the south-east of
England away from the London-Reading M4 corridor towards Essex and north
Kent. As a special adviser to Tory environment secretary Michael Heseltine,
Sir Peter was influential in forming ambitious schemes for development at
Dartford and the Medway towns and aligning the high-speed rail link from the
channel to St Pancras via London's East End.
The TCPA once put in a planning application for a new airport at Maplin
Sands, also called Foulness, off the Essex coast. In a previous book Sir
Peter labelled the failure to develop a new airport east of London one of
the "great planning disasters". Maplin remained the officially preferred
option until 1984.
Now, believing demand for access to Heathrow to be "unsustainable", Sir
Peter wants to revive the idea of a coastal or estuarial airport. The idea
is that the north Kent airport be partly built offshore, which might reduce
In the summer, the transport secretary, Alistair Darling, published options
for airport growth and included Cliffe, where a bird sanctuary would be
threatened. Sir Peter tells Mr Darling to avoid getting bogged down and
think as far ahead as the end of the century.
"The location of Heathrow is poor on many counts. Developing a new airport
in the Thames estuary, potentially offshore, will alleviate problems of
noise and allow a direct connection to the Channel tunnel rail link."
An airport at Cliffe, which is opposite Canvey Island in Essex, would be
linked with a new Thames bridge near Gravesend and possibly a tunnel under
the river at Benfleet.
23 October 2002
WOODLAND TRUST AIRPORTS PETITION
The Woodland Trust has come out strongly against any additional runways at Stansted and have excellent background information on their website.
They are also running an Airports Petition and you do not need to be a member to take part. Please do!!
23 October 2002
EAST OF ENGLAND LIBERAL DEMOCRATS OPPOSE MORE RUNWAYS AT STANSTED
Liberal Democrat members in Uttlesford have received the backing of party members from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk to oppose extra runways at Stansted airport. A motion proposed by members from Bishop's Stortford was passed with an overwhelming majority on 12 October at the inaugural conference of the Liberal Democrats' new East of England Region held at the Charis Centre in Bishop's Stortford.
Rickling and Widdington district councillor Peter Wilcock spoke in the airport debate, the first policy debate for the new region.
Uttlesford's Liberal Democrat leader, Alan Dean, said after the conference: "This decision backs the national party's recent agreement at its Brighton conference to oppose further runways in the South-east. The Liberal Democrats oppose a monster airport twice the size of Heathrow and eight times as big as Stansted today in anyone's backyard; at Stansted or
at Cliffe in Kent. These monster hub airport plans depend on fuel and VAT tax breaks to companies like BAA and Ryanair. It's as though the government wants to subsidise them to pollute the people of Britain."
22 October 2002
GOVERNMENT AIRPORT EXHIBITION TO RETURN
Following pressure by Uttlesford District Council and the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign, the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, has agreed to hold a further Exhibition in the Stansted area on airport expansion.
It will be at the Charis Centre, Water Lane, Bishop's Stortford on Saturday, 2 November, and will be open between 9am and 6pm.
Even if you went to the first Exhibition at the Hilton Hotel, Stansted, we urge you to visit this one to see for yourself the different proposals for expanding Stansted Airport and to question the officials.
22 October 2002
REPORT POLLUTED POND WATER
As a number of people have reported seeing films of oil on their ponds, we would like to have these analysed professionally. If you spot any such pollution, please contact Dr John Drewer as soon as possible on 01799 540278.
17 October 2002
HARLOW SAYS NO MORE RUNWAYS AT STANSTED
Harlow Councillors tonight unanimously voted to oppose any additional runways at Stansted. The following Agenda item was proposed by the Conservative leader, Andrew Johnson, and seconded by the Lib Dem leader, Lorna Spenceley:
Harlow District Council opposes any proposals to build additional runways at Stansted, and furthermore calls on the Government, train operating companies and BAA Stansted to address the outstanding issues relating to present and planned levels of usage of the existing runway, including:
* Levels of noise generated by existing aircraft over-flying Harlow
* Numbers of night flights
* The height of aircraft over-flying Harlow
* The need for improved surface access to the airport by rail and road, including upgraded services for Harlow on the Stansted Express line.
The Council authorises the Director of Regeneration to prepare the Council's response to the SERAS report as outlined above, in consultation with the group leaders and including responses from any of the three council groups wishing to provide additional documentation in support of the above position.
17 October 2002
NATIONAL TRUST AGAINST ANY MORE RUNWAYS AT STANSTED
The National Trust announced on 15 October that it intends to oppose Government plans for additional runways at Stansted Airport. The Trust has made the decision in light of the adverse effects that one, two or three new runways would have on both the local, regional and national environment.
Amongst the places that would be badly affected by any new runways is the internationally important Hatfield Forest, which is the last remaining intact medieval hunting forest in Europe. Hatfield Forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve.
You can download the NT Press Release as a .doc document
17 October 2002
COMMONS ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON AVIATION POLICY
Report by Councillor A Dean - 16 October 2002
I attended the adjournment debate this morning for the Council and was there with several supporters of Stop Stansted Expansion. Mark Prisk, the MP for Stortford and Hertford, had called the debate. Unfortunately, we missed the first 3 minutes of the debate and Mr Prisk's introduction owing to a one hour's train delay from Stansted!
The overall debate was very well informed and thoughtful from members of all political parties. What was clear throughout was that no one thought a monster 4-runway airport should be built in anybody's backyard. The other main theme to come through was widespread dissatisfaction with the Government 's process and timetable. There were numerous complaints about exhibitions taking place with no proper advertising. The Government spokesman, Mr David Jamieson, did say that the Secretary of State would decide in the next few days about a follow up exhibition in the Stansted Area. Mark Prisk put emphasis on the alternative to an inland hub airport saying that this should be in the Thames Gateway, probably in the Thames estuary but not necessarily at Cliffe. He did feel that a new hub airport was a good idea for regeneration in that area and his preference was for an offshore airport on the lines of Hong Kong.
It was interesting that none of the MPs from Kent or South Essex supported the Cliffe proposal and Mr Pond from Gravesham said that a hub airport in the Thames Gateway did not make economic sense and would be more of a blockade rather than a gateway. Other local MPs to Stansted who spoke were Oliver Heald, (North Herts) and Alan Hurst (Braintree). They both described the environmental damage that a monster hub at Stansted would cause. Alan Hurst said that the case for Cliffe was very weak and that the Government's paper pointed to Stansted as the least bad option. He said people in the villages around Stansted would no longer be able to smell honeysuckle but would instead smell aviation fuel. Oliver Heald was concerned about the additional road traffic that Stansted would generate, and that it would be a disaster for his part of Hertfordshire. He said that the Government should look at the Thames Estuary as an option. He paid tribute to Norman Mead and the SSE team.
Other MPs from the Heathrow area spoke and were against an additional runway at Heathrow; none of them said it should go at Stansted instead. John Macdonald (Hayes and Harlington) described the consultation as a charade and said that the questionnaire was dubious. Mr Randall (Uxbridge) said we must not ask for this to be dumped in anyone else's backyard, that demand had to be managed and that alternative better rail services were needed.
Front bench spokesmen for the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats then spoke. Tom Brake (Carshalton and Wallington) spoke for the Liberal Democrats and congratulated Mark Prisk on asking for the debate. He supported the view that the consultation was flawed; there were no questions about demand management, reducing CO2 emissions, etc. He was critical of the Government in its presumption in favour of a massive airport; he wanted to know how the Government would meet its international commitment from Kyoto to reduce carbon emissions when 30% of the required reduction would be undermined by the extra air travel forecast. He wanted the Government to look more closely at alternative rail links such as using Eurostar from Charles de Gaulle airport in France. He said it didn't make sense to build a large airport at Stansted, an area of low unemployment with a shortage of housing. Where would the extra 80,000 employees come from? He was concerned that the Government was trying to steer the debate towards Stansted.
For the Conservatives Anne McIntosh (Vale of York) said that the Government should be putting people first and she was also keen to see improvements in the rail network to reduce inland air travel. She acknowledged that airports and airlines do have a business to run but they mustn't lose sight of the impact on local residents. She also regretted that there had been insufficient consultation.
Mr David Jamieson (Plymouth, Devonport) replied for the government. On the question of the consultation process, in answer to criticisms about length he said that the Government wanted to decide soon to remove the blight on people's houses but he said the Government would make a decision after proper consultation. He said that 180,000 jobs in the South East depended on air transport and they had to recognise the demand. The Government did not have an option of doing nothing. On the question of Stansted he said there is no planned development at Stansted - there are only options. He did not respond to many of the broad points that had been made such as pollution, and he questioned whether the Liberal Democrat policy of trying to restrict demand and hence peoples' ability to fly was politically acceptable.
At this point the debate came to an abrupt end. Over coffee afterwards with Alan Haselhurst ( who had been in the chair for the debate), Oliver Heald and Tom Brake, we agreed that the debate needed to be continued at Gwynneth Dunwoody's Transport Select Committee. Tom Brake is a member of this committee and has promised to keep me advised.
15 October 2002
A special 90 minute "Adjournment Debate" on a "Second Hub Airport" will take place on Wednesday 16 October in the Westminster Hall, House of Commons starting at 9.30am.
This has been arranged by Mark Prisk MP and he says that he intends to (a) press the Minister on the rationale for a second hub airport for London (b) argue the case specifically against Stansted and (c) argue that if London must have a second hub airport this should be located in the Thames Gateway.
The Transport Minister, John Spellar, is expected to reply.
We are keen to fill the public gallery, so please do attend if you possibly can. This will also help encourage press interest!!
15 October 2002
LETTER TO THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
Let Hong Kong show the way - 12 October 2002
Sir - I find it surprising that Alistair Darling, after promising a genuine
and open public consultation on airports policy for the South-East, excludes
the option of an offshore airport in the Thames Estuary from all the
consultation documents (letter, Oct 4).
He has published a mass of technical data and detailed costings for the
Cliffe and Stansted options, but no comparable data or costings for the
offshore estuarial option, thus restricting consultation to a straight
choice between Stansted and Cliffe.
This cannot be acceptable when the plan is for an airport that will handle
up to 129 million passengers a year, twice the size of Heathrow and bigger
than any other airport in the world.
For a project on this scale, the public is entitled to a more serious
debate, and proper information, on all the options. If he and his officials
believe the offshore option is too outlandish for serious consideration, I
suggest they pay a quick visit to Hong Kong or Seoul.
Brian Ross, Birchanger, Hertfordshire
15 October 2002
THE SSE ROADSHOW AT SAFFRON WALDEN
The Consequences of Stansted Expansion - an Airport even larger than Heathrow
Town Mayor Daphne Cornell welcomed this exhibition to Saffron Walden Town Hall on Saturday 12th October. She said that the Town Council were speaking with one voice, "no more runways", the options for Stansted proposed in the consultation document were not acceptible, the area would be changed forever and it could not be a change for the better. The countryside, the villages and Saffron Walden itself would become a congested urban sprawl. It would be inevitable and no amount of mitigation could reduce these effects.
The exhibition highlighted these consequences and the Town Council would support all those who were opposing this development. All the political Parties were in complete agreement. She hoped that residents would vote "No" in the coming referendum. She was asked why the Town Council had supported the application for expansion of the airport to accommodate 25 mppa. She said that they had considered it from the point of view of local residents, they believed that the extra jobs would help shield local people from the risk of unemployment.
Full employment at the moment did not mean that there might not be losses in the future. The Council believed that the fact that the application had been agreed to, with conditions, meant that local people could not be accused of being "Nimbys". The Town Council was holding a public meeting at the end of the month to describe their objections and she hoped members of the public would contribute.
Councillor Jim Ketteridge, Chairman of Uttlesford District Council then took over - the important fact was that all were united in opposing the Government's options: "We do not want more runways, not even one. Any of the increases proposed would destroy our way of life for ever and we do not believe that such an expansion is needed." Everyone must work together. The District Council will be considering their consultant's report early next month at a special meeting and preparing their response. Meantime residents should send their voting forms back and support the District Council's objections.
Richard Freeman, who was to have represented the Lib Dems had been taken ill. He sent his own message - even one extra runway would irreversibly change this part of Essex. Look at the plans. The option with one extra runway takes in almost as much land and houses as that required for three extra runways. This is because it is sited about 2.5 Kms distance from the present terminus. This means that both runways can be fully used, there will be maximum noise effects over a much wider area and massive in-filling in the area between the new runway and the existing terminal. There will be plenty of room for two more close parallel runways without too much extra expenditure. One extra runway now means three extra in the future. He could see no obvious case for such a huge increase in the UK air capacity, except that BAA as the dominant airport owner wishes to remain so. Remember what has happened in the electricity industry, predictions of a massive future need, and now we have too many power stations and too much electricity generating capacity with an unnecessary waste of natural resources.
The exhibition is visiting Sawbridgeworth on Tuesday, and at the SSE meetings at Felsted on Wednesday, and Hadstock on Friday.
Saffron Walden public meeting on Stansted expansion is to be on Thursday, 31st October at 8pm in
the Town Hall, Saffron Walden.
15 October 2002
STANSTED AIRPORT - HISTORIC SITES UNDER THREAT
(Extract from the Saffron Walden Historical Journal, Autumn 2002 issue, published end of October and available at Harts or the Local Tourist Office)
A number of historic sites are under threat of demolition if the current
proposals to expand Stansted Airport go ahead.
The Department of Transport's
report* shows that all three options being considered - to build a further
one, two or three runways - would result in the loss of two Scheduled
Ancient Monuments and the medieval moated sites of Waltham Manor and The
Grange. The 3-runway option might also endanger the site of the Benedictine
prior at Warish Hall. The 2-3 runway option would lose a Grade II Starred
site, and half of Elsenham Wood SSSI would go.
In addition at least 29 Grade
II Listed Buildings would disappear if only one new runway was built, rising
to 50 with two runways and 64 with three new runways. Most of these are in
the hamlets of Molehill Green, Bamber's Green and Brick End. The proposed
area of expansion also includes other archaeological sites - if those
discovered in previous airport excavations are anything to go by, these
would include Prehistoric, Roman, Medieval and Post-Medieval evidence: 18
further areas of archaeology are known in the expansion area (information
from National Monuments Record as supplied by Royal Commission on Historical
Other documents show that within the surrounding 500m corridor lie a further
64 buildings at risk of being affected, including Takeley and Stansted
Mountfichet parish churches. There is also the effect on Hatfield Forest, an
SSSI, National Nature Reserve and historic parkland; there is further
historic parkland at Elsenham Hall Park and Stansted Hall Park, also SSSIs
at Wall's Wood and Monk's Wood, and conservation area of Great Easton nearby
(refs SERAS EIA Groups 2 & 3, Stage 2 Report, AppD-11, D1.4 Heritage).
Having taken part in the recent anti-expansion 'Runway Ramble', my own
observations suggest that much of this area is Ancient Countryside, with
field patterns dating back to late Saxon times, medieval hedgerows and
trackways whose origins may well be Prehistoric. Those wishing to comment
are urged to send their views by 30 November to the Secretary of State for
Transport, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London SE1 5DU, with copies to our
* The Environmental Appraisal, Groups 2 and 3, Volume 2, accompanying 'The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East: A National Consultation', the latter available free by ringing 0845 100 5554 (local rate).
Further information: Jacqueline Cooper
11 October 2002
LETTER TO THE FINANCIAL TIMES
Limit demand for air travel
Sir, By focusing just on the dire environmental impact of the Cliffe airport
proposals, Kevin Done missed the main issue.
Any of the government's proposals, whether at Cliffe, Stansted or Heathrow,
would be equally damaging to the environment. The Stansted area has even
lower unemployment than Medway, and is also at full capacity in terms of
schools, hospitals, transport and other infrastructure, and the area
contains some of the finest Essex countryside.
Mr Done rightly notes that the government proposals are premised on
"unconstrained" demand. Why not constrain demand? How come, indeed, that I
must pay 85 per cent tax on filling my car with petrol to fulfil the
government's "green" pledges, whereas Ryanair pays no tax on filling its
aircraft to charge customers close to zero to fly overseas?
If the government meant what it says in terms of commitment to reducing CO2
emissions and protecting the environment, it would impose higher landing
charges and fuel taxes on air transport, saving the environment and boosting
local tourism in the bargain. Think again, Mr Darling.
Frank Knowles, Clavering, Essex
8 October 2002
The air quality assessments made for SERAS are inadequate and it is very doubtful if any computer modelling can beat a crystal ball when it comes to 2015 and beyond. In spite of these handicaps, we are told that there will be air pollution outside the airport even with one runway. BAA in their recent application for 25 mppa came to the same conclusion - we await action on this.
In other words, the law will be broken, one of the substances listed by both EU and UK legislation, namely the irritant gas nitrogen dioxide, will be present at concentrations over the limits laid down by these laws. To plan an airport expansion that will lead to the law being broken seems somewhat irresponsible, and not a desirable option for any Government.
One of those residents likely to be affected has written to the Department for Transport
and asked what will happen to those who live in these polluted areas. What answer does she get?
The Government must be satisfied that EU limits are met for any development option at any airport. Should people living in property outside the proposed airport boundary be exposed to levels of NO2 in exceedance of the EU limits, then steps would need to be taken to overcome this situation if the Government decided to take this option forward. This would have to be looked at seriously and measures could be taken constraining the operators of the airport such as limiting the type and size of aircraft being used. Property take is also an option that might need to be considered if the situation could not be resolved by other means. Yours sincerely...
So now we know! Spend millions building new runways that cannot be fully used or compulsorily purchase the houses affected! This may present interesting legal problems - it would create a precedent to allow the purchase of property purely to avoid breaking environmental legislation. We suspected that such a move might be on the Government's agenda which was not included in the consultation document. Now we have it in writing.
8 October 2002
THE SSE ROADSHOW
The SSE Roadshow was formally opened in Bishop's Stortford Methodist Hall last Saturday by the Town Mayor, with the help of the MP for the area, Mark Prisk.
This is an exhibition designed to show the economic effects on the area of an expansion of the airport. Jobs, houses, traffic - all the statistics provided in the SERAS Appraisal have been collected and analysed by Berkeley Hanover Consulting and committed to a visual presentation by volunteer graphic designers, mounted on panels loaned by a local firm. Berkeley Hanover had already presented, for SASIG (the aviation committee of the South East Local Government Association), an analysis of the huge unconstrained aircraft expansion forecasts made for the Government by Oxford Forecasting. They demonstrated the many flaws in these predictions and we were fortunate in being able to have their help in assessing the economic aspects of the SERAS documents.
The idea of the roadshow came from Joe Mishan of Stort Valley Friends of the Earth and he has been responsible for guiding its creation. It does not include environmental information, and noise maps and air quality information can be separately displayed. The idea was to show that the consequences of a massive airport expansion will extend far beyond the area which will suffer airport pollution. Housing, new businesses, thousands of jobs and commuters will mean a loss of the countryside and urbanisation joining up Harlow to Stansted and Braintree and thence to Cambridge, east to Colchester and Chelmsord. New Rail and new motorway links as well as a widening of the M11 and M25 will affect hundreds of homes from London to Cambridge.
The Roadshow joined the recent SSE meeting in Wimbish and will next visit the Town Hall Court Room in Saffron Walden on Saturday 12th, where it will be welcomed at 10.30 a.m. by Town Mayor Daphne Cornell, and the Chairman of the Uttlesford District Council, Jim Ketteridge, who will be joined by Alan Dean's deputy representing the Lib Dems - a show of cross Party Unity not often seen in this or any other area!
We hope you will come and support it and bring your neighbours. An SSE stall will be outside the Town Hall and coffee will be available after you have climbed the stairs to the Court Room.
It will proceed to Sawbridgeworth on the 15th, to Felsted on the 16th and Hadstock on the 18th. Book for further visits through the SSE office.
8 October 2002
REMINISCENCES FROM A RAMBLER
Approximately 2,500 ramblers, many of them families with children in appropriate fancy dress and most carrying placards, converged on the Gardens of Easton Lodge, near Dunmow, on the last day of September to picnic and then join the rally against the proposed extra runways at Stansted Airport.
Starting from many of the villages directly affected by the proposals the ramblers crossed the fields and walked down the lanes due to be covered with concrete if even a single extra runway is built. Notices fixed to trees proclaiming messages like 'You are now standing on runway number 4' were met with expressions of incredulity, horror, anger and even grief. The ramble, which was expertly stewarded by numerous volunteers, succeeded in achieving its main 'aim' of driving home what will be irrecoverably lost if any of the government's options are allowed to go ahead.
The highlight of the rally was the appearance of an 'aircraft' in the livery of 'EasyKill' trailing an exhaust banner on which were written the names of the scores of toxic chemicals which aircraft emit as they take off and land.
People were left to ponder the irony of a proposal which will create a further noisy polluted urbanised soulless environment in order to enable more tourists to escape the noisy polluted urbanised soulless environment in which they increasingly live.
It is becoming clear that residents in Uttlesford are not simply saying 'not in my back yard' but are reacting against yet another misconceived development which destroys both quality of life and environmental sustainability in pursuit of corporate profit. What the day made abundantly clear is that there are better paths to the good life than the flight path.
7 October 2002
JAMIE OLIVER BACKS AIRPORT EXPANSION PROTEST
by Amanda Brown, Environment Correspondent, PA News
TV chef Jamie Oliver is backing a protest against moves to expand
Stansted airport following Government claims that air travel
must increase fourfold in the South East.
Oliver, who has declared his opposition to another three runways at
the Essex airport, said he and his wife Jules had grown up in the
He said: "We love it - we are going to bring our children up
here. We are amongst the thousands of people in this area who are
really worried and upset by these proposals. We just can't begin to imagine the devastating impact that three
new runways would have on the whole region. Everyone I know is deeply concerned about how their children will
be affected by the pollution and the intolerable noise associated
with an airport twice the size of Heathrow. It's not just about the pollution and noise. It would spoil one
of the most beautiful areas of countryside in this country. Villages will be demolished and woodland and green belt lost
The campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion claims that if the plan
goes ahead, hundreds of homes will be destroyed, including three
ancient monuments and 64 listed buildings.
The effect of concreting over a swathe of the countryside would
have a severe impact on the quality of life and health of thousands
more people, added the group.
5 October 2002
A NATIONAL CONFERENCE ON AIRPORT EXPANSION
The conference was organised by the main UK environmental organisations together with representatives from the many objectors' groups that have been formed all over the UK. It was hosted by Dr Caroline Lucas, our Green MEP, and Darren Johnson, Green Party member of the London Assembly. The surroundings, the futuristic glass domed City Hall looking across the river at the sombre Tower of London perhaps served to emphasise how far society has progressed.
The purpose of the conference was to emphasise that all plans that claim to be progress may not be desirable, may be unnecessary and may even be dangerous. In other words, is airport expansion as proposed in the Government's consultation documents really necessary for the economic well being of the UK? Even if this were the case would it justify the damage to communities all over the UK and to the environment?
Since those invited to the conference were all members of opposition groups to the expansion of airports from Scotland to Bristol and the South West, there was no doubt as to the answer. Stop Stansted Expansion was well represented.
Caroline Lucas opened the proceedings - her message was that there was a need for a National Campaign. Local groups had been formed and were meeting all over the country and the united message must be that the expansion proposed was totally unacceptable, the Government could proceed at its peril or take note of what was being said.
Unconstrained growth had been dismissed for roads and houses, why now for air traffic? The Aviation industry received over £7 billion pounds in subsidies, papers were full of adverts offering cheap air travel, without any thought as to the environmental damage, notably the aggravation of climate change. At the moment we all paid £182 towards the aviation subsidy, this was very unfair on those who never flew - nearly half the population - and they were mainly the less well off members of the public. Air pollution round airports was already a health risk and noise an irritant and a deterrent to education and sleep.
She was a member of the Transport Committee of the European Parliament and they wanted an emissions tax on all flights from EU airports. The EU Commission is considering this and will report to the EU Council. A fuel tax would need international agreement and would be more difficult to achieve, as would an official inclusion of international air traffic in the Kyoto agreement. The EU could though impose an emissions tax. The UK could impose such a tax on domestic flights. Why not an Air Traffic Reduction Bill to match the Road Traffic Reduction Act?
She was followed by Mike Fawcett from the Aviation Department of the Dept. for Transport. He went through the main proposals in the consultation document, reminding everyone that no decision had been made over how much expansion was needed. He then countered with the Minister's quote, "Doing nothing is not an option". He made the following interesting points, in addition to those that have already shocked so many people.
The figures for passenger demand to 2030 are based on estimates of the future GDP of the UK and other countries. This includes an assumption that prices will fall and that demand will slacken off, and, that the external environmental costs (climate change) will be 10%.
He emphasised the curious statistics that presents a loss of 73 million imaginary passengers in 2030 if there is no airport expansion.
In the cost benefit analysis he admitted that no environmental costs had been included but £1billion had been added for public transport improvements and some unspecified mitigation measures. There did not appear to be any allowance for compensation payments.
He admitted that predicted data on air quality was not very reliable.
He was questioned and lectured from all sides but managed to keep smiling and did not concede any departure from what was clearly the "official line".
He was followed by speakers from the Aviation Environmental Federation, CPRE, Friends of the Earth, HACAN and the Manston Group. All gave useful advice from their experience of previous battles and highlighted weaknesses in the Consultation documents.
The absence of "joined up thinking" across Government Depts. A policy of reduction in greenhouse gases in one dept. is cancelled out by unconstrained air traffic growth in another.
The document itself lacked detail. It was not a proper consultation, it was misleading, as was the exhibition.
On noise, it should be recognised that noise contours were not enough, the individual experience of numbers of planes passing over was most important, the minimum contour should be between 51 and 55 decibels as recommended by the WHO. The phrase "noise annoyance" downplayed the effects of noise on individuals, a recent survey found 15% of people highly annoyed by only 53 decibels exposure. There was not going to be any further improvement in engine noise.
Former military airports (as crown property) were under a disadvantage in the present planning system as neither formal planning permission nor an environmental impact assessment were required. This needed changes. We were also still awaiting the Government's decision on whether to remove the right of a public inquiry for major developments.
On Air Quality. The document was very casual in its attitude to climate change - "It required international solutions". This might be so but the UK Government had it's own Treaty target to meet. There had been improvements in emissions, about 1% each year, but these were being and would be out-stripped by an increase in the number of planes. There was a limit to further technology improvements and the often expressed expectation of more improvement was too uncertain. There was now legislation on local air quality world wide and targets had to be met because of health effects. The Government had to take note or legal action could follow. It must put limits on airport development. Carbon dioxide emissions would have to be tackled through international agreement and the UK Government should push more through the EU. It must be remembered that CO2 was the cause of only one third of the overall greenhouse effects of air traffic - contrails of water vapour/ice and nitrogen dioxide emissions had more influence when emitted into the upper atmosphere.
The formation of and aims of Airport Watch was described, the most important being to speak to the Government with one voice, representing as it did all the major environmental organisations who campaign on Aviation.
It was essential to win the economic arguments. A fall of 1% annually in air prices was factored into the predictions of traffic growth. Why not make an assumption that prices might go up 1% like all other forms of travel? In that event it could be possible that there would be no increase in demand. The industry is heavily subsidised, why not decide to make air traffic pay for its external costs?
Susan Ring, the lawyer from Richard Buxton, the solicitors who successfully fought the night flights claim at the `European Court of Human Rights gave an interesting account of the case, which could be very helpful to those living round other airports if the Appeal against the decision is lost. It will be heard in Strasbourg on 13th November and will probably depend on whether the UK Government has produced stronger evidence to show that night flights are necessary for the economic well being of the UK. A familiar phrase!
The conference continued with a series of workshops at which the differing groups could exchange experiences and ideas and learn from each other's campaigns.
As Darren Johnson said, In Aviation here are many options, alternatives and opportunities that can be explored but building new runways is not the answer.
4 October 2002
SSE RUNWAY RAMBLE AND RALLY
The Runway Ramble and Rally at the Gardens of Easton Lodge on 29 September
was a great success. Over 2,000 people attended the rally in the historic
gardens in the afternoon.
Ramblers left around noon to walk across the countryside from many
directions. The largest group of 340 left Molehill Green, threatened with
being wiped out of existence by an enlarged airport, to walk the 4 km to
Little Easton. There were people of all ages, including babies in buggies
and children in trailers hauled along the footpaths and green lanes by their
parents. Over 80 people walked all the way from Thaxted, a distance of 10
The sight of nearly five hundred people walking down the final stretch of
farm road at Brookend, banners in full display, and crying "No more
runways!" was a sure sign of the mass protest and determination of people
around Stansted not to allow the 8-fold growth envisaged by the Government.
These sentiments were echoed at the rally by Norman Mead and Alan Dean from
the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign. Alan Dean said: "I dream that my
grandchildren's children will be able to picnic in this countryside and that
it will not have been buried in concrete".
The rally was compered by world famous campaigner against unsustainable air
transport, Jeff Gazzard. He assured the crowd enjoying the late September
sunshine: "This campaign can be won! We have recently stopped airports in
France and Sweden, so local people can be reassured it can be done here - if
they fight hard."
The rally included a children's fancy dress competition, a prize for the
most distant participant - a man from New Zealand, and for the best protest
display. This was won by a group from Manuden with a large model aeroplane
and a massive vapour trail banner listing all the pollutants that planes
Perhaps the highlight of the afternoon was the first public performance of
the campaign song "Voices of the Future" with lyrics by Kim Blake and music
composed by Barrington Pheloung. The song is due to be launched on CD in the
next few week. SSE vice chairman, Peter Gowan, said "This could get into the
Ramble organiser Alan Dean commented after all the ramblers had left for the
trek or drive home: "Sunday's ramble put the Stansted campaign on the
national and international map. We had television cameras, including BBC
World. The unsustainability of inland monstosity airports anywhere, not just
at Stansted, is firmly fixed in everyone's mind now."
Photographs of the event can be found at:
24 September 2002
SAFFRON WALDEN COUNCILLORS SAY
"NO MORE RUNWAYS AT STANSTED"
Town Councillors met yesterday at a special meeting to consider the SERAS options for the development of the Airport. They decided that they would oppose all the options, and they will be holding a public meeting, probably in mid-October, as soon as it can be arranged and well advertised.
Councillors will then explain why they supported the current application to expand to 25 million passengers but are all against the massive changes that more runways would bring to the area. They made it clear that they are against any massive expansion of air travel. They will not be "NIMBYs" and suggest that other airports should be burdened with the problems that are not wanted in Uttlesford.
We congratulate them on their decision, Uttlesford is now unanimous in opposition!
We also learn that Braintree Council has taken a similar line, and the Labour Party Constituency Party has joined the Lib Dems and Conservatives in voicing their opposition as well. We await the decision of Harlow Council. Both Braintree and Harlow are targeted for expansion in the M11 study. BAA has, of course, suggested that both towns would provide the necessary extra employees to work at Stansted. With 80,000 more jobs forecast for a 4 runway airport, a lot of houses are going to be needed! Enough to join Harlow to Bishop's Stortford and thence to Braintree, swallowing up the villages en route.
Harlow will need to think very carefully over the consequences of expansion . A doubling in size would change the character of the Town and could create a dormitory town for the airport. Do the present residents want such a change? Would local businesses benefit? They could be swallowed up by bigger 'immigrants'. What about the traffic? How many more people driving to work? More trains? That means more rail lines, where would they be built? Would there be any countryside left?
23 September 2002
"NO NEW RUNWAYS IN THE SOUTH EAST"
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT CONFERENCE
The Liberal Democrat Conference in Brighton today voted for no new airport runways in the South East of England following an amendment moved by Saffron Walden Local Party.
This makes the Liberal Democrats the only party to adopt a policy that explicitly opposes the Government's plan to build three new runways at Stansted Airport.
You can download the full Press Release as a .rtf file
23 September 2002
CROWDED SKIES 'WILL NOT ALLOW FOURTH AIRPORT'
The London Evening Standard reported on Friday 20 September that the head of Britain's air traffic control system has warned that Government plans for a fourth London airport, on the north Kent coast, are a "non-starter".
Richard Everitt, chief executive of National Air Traffic Services, said that air space would "simply not support the introduction of arrival and departure routes for a major new airport without serious implications".
You can download the full article as a .doc file
23 September 2002
HEATHROW EXPANSION PROBLEMS IN THE NATIONAL PRESS
The Guardian reported on Saturday that at Heathrow the proposed "New Runway puts 15,000 homes at risk". No mention of Stansted.
The SERAS consultation document has already been criticised in our briefings for their concerns over the predicted air quality situation at Heathrow if another runway was built, and their failure to show the same concern over Essex residents faced with the same situation. At Heathrow an estimated 35,000 people would be exposed to air pollution by the irritant gas Nitrogen Dioxide at levels above the limits imposed both by the European Directive and by our own regulations. At Stansted only "small numbers of people, ...just over 300 by 2030". No mention in the Guardian of those near Stansted airport!
At Heathrow, this is taken seriously - "sensitivity tests" are applied, further thought is given as to how these aircraft emissions of oxides of nitrogen can be reduced. Calculations of as yet unproven engine improvements, reducing the engine thrust on take-off, reducing the reverse thrust on landing, and more fuel efficient aircraft. Amazingly, the emissions fell and fell and finally only 5000 residents were likely to be affected. All based on hope, what we used to call a "pie in the sky".
However, the consultation document recognises that even 5000 people have their rights, and to quote, "Another runway at Heathrow could not be considered unless the Government could be confident that levels of all relevant pollutants could be consistently contained within EU limits".
What about Stansted? No such concern about a mere 300 people (ignoring the inevitable influx of new residents wanting to fill the 93,000 new jobs). "It is likely that such impacts could in practice be prevented". What does that mean? Reliance on computer - induced improvement predictions? Or, perhaps, as is suggested in the Guardian article, pulling down the affected houses? At Heathrow that would cost about £2 billion for about 12,000 homes.
In the case of Stansted only 100 to 200 homes - much cheaper - plus a ban on building new homes near the airport in the polluted area, though there would remain a risk to the public visiting the area and to the vegetation, which is also covered in the EU Directive.
The fact remains that however many people are likely to be affected, the law would be broken and even one person is entitled to protection. The idea of demolishing homes to prevent environmental legislation being broken would introduce a new concept into EU and UK law, in fact it would make nonsense of such legislation.
The Guardian article also reports that AEA Technology has calculated that NO2 emissions from UK aircraft will double by 2020 from 12.89 to 22.49 Kilotonnes. We add that improved air quality will be sacrificed for cheaper holidays and, remembering that the same amount of nitrogen dioxide will be liberated at the other end of the flights, will the tourists still be so welcome when their numbers begin to seriously affect the well being of the holiday resorts?
21 September 2002
BAA ADMITS INCREASE IN NOISE COMPLAINTS
Terry Morgan, Managing Director of BAA Stansted, has admited in a letter to Michael Young of Wimbish that "Due to the number of complaints currently being received by the FEU (Flight Evaluation Unit) it is not possible to respond to every complaint..."
Up until now BAA has claimed that relatively few people were complaining about aircraft noise. Clearly the threat of four runways at Stansted has alerted people to the need to complain. We are encouraging people to make use of our noise complaint form so that we can also keep a record of complaints.
19 September 2002
CPREssex CALLS FOR PUBLIC ENQUIRY ON STANSTED
CPREssex says a Public Inquiry must be held into plans to increase the
capacity of Stansted Airport to 25 million passengers per annum (mppa) from
the current limit of 15 mppa.†
CPREssex argues that approval of the planning
application at this time would be premature and would seriously prejudice
proper consideration of† the SERAS (South East Regional Airports Study)
options. Furthermore, the application is a major departure from the
Uttlesford Local Plan.
You can download the full Press Release as a .rtf file
18 September 2002
TAKELEY SCHOOL PROSPECTS
SSE supporter, Vere Isham, has created this composite photograph to show what it would be like for Takeley School with the new runways at Stansted.
At higher altitudes, Leventhorp School also will suffer.
Vere asks: "Can this be good for the childrens' learning?"
Click here for a much larger image
18 September 2002
WOODLANDS TRUST RESEARCH PLEA
Crispin Aubrey (Researcher, The Woodland Trust) writes:
On behalf of the Woodland Trust charity I am researching the ancient woodlands which will be affected by the proposed Stansted Airport expansion to up to 4 runways. The woods are (with grid references):
Eastend Wood (TL561254) Round Coppice (TL528224) Priory Wood (TL533215) Priors Wood (TL564217) Runnels Hay (TL564217) High Wood (TL602219) Airfield Wood (TL583230) Eseley Wood (TL598271) Home Wood (TL596267) Philipland Wood (TL582245) Pledgdon/Lady Wood (TL559264) Hawland Wood (TL565280)
If anybody has any personal knowledge or interesting stories about these woods, including their history, trees, wildlife etc please let me know by email.
15 September 2002
NOISE COMPLAINTS SCANDAL?
SSE supporter, Clive Totman from Dedham Vale, reports that he has heard that the computer programme for recording complaints about noise is so sophisticated that after a person has complained a few times their complaint is downgraded in the stats sent to the Minister. If this is the case, then someone could complain ten times and their complaint would be weighted to record as only one. This has worrying connotations for the campaign. We need to get all those people who have never complained before to do so making use of our noise complaint form.
The idea that someone's complaint is less valid just because they have phoned up before is offensive as well as being a blatant attempt to distort statistics. Can anyone in the know please confirm to SSE that Clive's information is correct.
15 September 2002
EVENING STANDARD CRITICAL ARTICLE
We have just come across an excellent article written by Christian Wolmar which appeared in the London Evening Standard in late July when the SERAS Report was published. In it he tears apart the assumptions of the Report.
You can download his article as a .rtf file
15 September 2002
LETTER TO DFT ABOUT THE QUESTIONNAIRE
S.R. Winter has written an excellent letter to the Department for Transport pointing out the many flaws in their SERAS Questionnaire.
You can download his letter as a .rtf file
15 September 2002
SSE RUNWAY RAMBLE
The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign invites everyone concerned about the Government's proposals for Stansted to a 'Runway Ramble' on Sunday 29 September. Starting points will be: The Downs at Great Dunmow; Bambers Green; Stansted Airport Terminal; Mole Hill Green; Brick End at Broxted; Moor End Farm at Broxted; the Guildhall at Thaxted; Tilty Abbey; and Great Easton. Start times are all 12 noon to 12.30pm except for Thaxted which is 10.15 to 10.45am and Stansted Airport Terminal which is 11.30am to noon. The ramble will end at the Gardens of Easton Lodge where a Rally will take place at 2.30pm.
You can download a PDF Flyer giving details of the ramble and the starting points with a map.
15 September 2002
COMMUNITY NETWORK LAUNCHED
Keith Lawrence and colleagues have launched an independent Community Network to create a two-way region wide email communications network with the sole purpose of uniting the community in support of the SSE and others in their fight against the SERAS proposals. Although quite separate from SSE, they hope that their network will contribute
towards giving SSE the huge public awareness and support that it needs.
Their web address is www.stopstanstedexpansion.org.uk and their email is email@example.com
15 September 2002
SSE EMAIL NEWSLETTER LAUNCHED
The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign has launched an email Newsletter to
keep members and supporters better informed about what is happening in the
campaign. Anyone can sign up to receive the weekly communication by going
to www.smartgroups.com/groups/SSENewsletter and registering. They don't have to be SSE members.
The Newsletter will contain a digest of the main developments in the campaign, notice of meetings and events as well as appeals for help. Members and supporters are being encouraged to submit items for circulation
in the Newsletter, including requests for help and details of meetings, and
to submit questions, which will be either answered individually when there
is time, or collected into a 'Frequently Asked Questions' file.
You can send in news items, offers to help etc to SSENewsletter@BTOpenworld.com
For those who prefer, the Newsletters can also be read at www.smartgroups.com/groups/SSENewsletter
11 September 2002
COUNCILLOR WRITES TO OVER 600 MPS
Peter Wilcock, Uttlesford District Councillor for the Rickling Ward, has written to over 600 MPs to express his strong opposition to any more runways at Stansted Airport.
You can download a RTF file of his letter
10 September 2002
AN AIRLINE PILOT'S ANALYSIS OF SERAS
A working pilot has written a fascinating and detailed analysis of the SERAS proposals. The fact that s/he wishes to remain anonymous is understandable and in no way detracts from the excellent points made.
You can download a RTF file of the analysis
8 September 2002
TERRY MORGAN, BAA's STANSTED MANAGING DIRECTOR, PUTS US IN THE "PICTURE"
BAA took a whole page advert in this week's Saffron Walden Reporter to give a summary of the Managing Director's Report to the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee - given in July this year. Perhaps the timing of the summary has been influenced by the fact that the Uttlesford Development Control Committee are this week considering the application for expansion of the airport to 25 million passengers per annum. Terry Morgan reminds us that this expansion can be accommodated with the existing runway. He then claims that approval will deliver multi-million pound benefits, but he doesn't say to whom - Uttlesford? BAA? The Airlines? He promises safeguards for the environment - but how can he safeguard the environment? It is not possible to fly an additional 50,000 planes a year and not further damage the environment.
We are then reminded that Essex County Council has recommended approval with conditions, which originally included an obligation not to build a second runway! Now, that might be the start of a good bargain, in view of the SERAS options.
We are also reminded that refusal means a costly public inquiry and that according to a recent Mori Poll 7 out of 10 residents support BAA's plans. No mention of the loaded question on approval asked by the Pollster, reported in Latest News at the time (our report can be found in the archives).
Lest we should fear that acceptance of an expansion to 25 mppa would make another 3 runways more likely we are reassured that this application has nothing to do with the Government proposals. BUT, BAA support the need for more airport capacity in the south east (they suggest that Germany might attract business away from the UK). They recognise that air transport must meet its external environmental costs and they are at present considering their own response to the SERAS consultation.
It is interesting to note that total flights fell during the last year by 3.5%, cargo flights by 10% though passengers went up to 14.5 million. Average noise levels, according to the Department for Transport, went down because of the phasing out of chapter 2 aircraft. We have reported on this in Latest News (see the archives) and we have pointed out that our own noise survey taken during the same period showed how much annoyance from noise depends on the number of flights passing overhead, not on average noise levels. Chapter 2 aircraft are significantly louder but the noise effects from an overflying chapter 3 plane using Stansted is still too loud and too disturbing for those who live under or near a flight path.
Good track keeping (which, it is claimed, has improved) does not help these residents, though it does reduce the overall number of those who live further away from the flight paths and suffer from planes taking short cuts.
With no expansion, and the hope that hushkitted chapter 3 aircraft will also be phased out, there might be the prospect of some relief for everyone! Stansted could continue to operate as an attractive airport, still within a country setting, and be satisfied with what management and employees have already achieved. That would be the best Report for 2002.
Further comments on the Consultation document
Jean Muir, who lives in Saffron Walden, has sent us comments on the consultation document and on the SERAS options. She has already sent them to the Government. They are short and sharp and to the point. Note that she too considers that the official questionnaire is biased.
The questions posed in the official questionnaire are disgracefully manipulative (in particular 'issue 1') and the answers will be open to distortion. A great deal of public money is being wasted in this blatant attempt to steer the results of a 'public consultation' in the way government ministers want. This document is barely credible as the basis for an objective piece of research. It only adds to the general cynicism of many (and the despair of those directly affected) that the decision to expand Stansted Airport is already made.
Furthermore, it beggars belief that the government can honestly think that there is infinite growth in demand for air travel (by person and freight). There will come a saturation point, as there is in the market for any goods or service - because consumption is finite, not infinite - and your projections will then simply fall apart.
Why not apply some logic now, before huge and irreversible damage is done?
The forecast of ever-increasing demand for air travel is seriously flawed. It is completely wrong to assume a trend in demand which is permanently rising (look at the mistakes recently experienced in the technology sectors - why haven't lessons been learnt from that???). This is no reflection on reality and it undermines the credibility of the statisticians who have produced these figures. Their models must have been simplistic in the extreme. Their forecasts are clearly nonsense: it presupposes that all adults in the UK will be travelling by air 8 times a year!! Have they even considered:
(a) Business travel will gradually decline as technology increasingly allows video conferencing and electronic exchange of data, resulting in less need to travel for business, not more.
(b) The decline in pension funds means that increasingly the retired will have less money to spend on travelling abroad.
(c) Given the above, it leaves in large part a model based on the assumption that the majority of the ever-increasing demand for air travel will come from among the working population - but
(i) the number of working people is in demographic decline;
(ii) the number of days leave per year available to working people for holidays abroad is unlikely to increase;
(iii) it is probable that we shall shortly be obliged by the government to save more of our net income into personal pensions (that's such a good idea at the moment, which is why that too is no doubt inevitable), so we'll have less to spend on leisure and travel, not more.
(d) Furthermore, it is likely, eventually and possibly quite soon, there will be worldwide agreements on air pollution control which will result in some form of penalties on air travel - either a reduction/withdrawal in subsidies, or the imposition of higher taxes on aviation fuel. These will be passed on to the consumer and will result in increased fares and a disincentive to travel by air.
(e) The cheap-rate airlines will not be able to sustain their low-cost fares indefinitely (they simply cannot afford to keep up the cross-subsidy) and prices will gradually increase. It is the low-cost competition which is presently driving up demand for air travel - but it is unsustainable. And if cutting corners to keep it cheap results in compromised safety, which it inevitably will, the first air disaster resulting from maintenance failures will kill off the present cut-throat fare competition.
I hope some common sense will prevail at the Department of Transport, before an enormous white elephant is created at huge expense. The destruction which is planned (yet again) at Stansted will be irreversible. If the demand for air travel is as great as you believe (think again) - build an airport where it will benefit the locality (if that's really possible), not destroy it.
Jean Muir - Saffron Walden
8 September 2002
EAST HERTS LAUNCH QUESTIONNAIRE
East Herts District Council have launched an online questionnaire over the expansion of Stansted Airport. It can be found as part of their Stansted web pages at: www.eastherts.gov.uk/district/stansted_intro.htm
1 September 2002
DFT EXHIBITION OF THE STANSTED AIRPORT PROPOSALS AND THE PEACEFUL PROTEST
Many hundreds came to see the options proposed for Stansted airport as presented by the Department for Transport on 30 and 31 August. On the Saturday, by mid-day, the queue stretched from the exhibition suite at the airport's Hilton Hotel right across the main reception area.
At the same time a demonstration against these proposals was taking place at the main entrance road to the hotel. It was led by Norman Mead, Chair of Stop Stansted Expansion and Alan Dean, Uttlesford District Councillor for Stansted. A forest of posters greeted vehicles turning into the hotel. Demonstrators held aloft red cards and chanted "NO NO" - "NO MORE RUNWAYS". It was all very restrained and very peaceful, the only disturbance being the noise of arriving and departing planes. The lone policeman chatted with Norman and the cameras clicked and a brief moment even reached the BBC TV "Look East", complete with the smiling children proclaiming "Save our village".
Then, suddenly, things changed - the hotel fire alarm sounded, the hotel was rapidly evacuated to the sound of loud speakers advising all to remain calm. More policemen appeared and ushered the demonstrators back to the hotel, and so lining the forecourt with NO MORE RUNWAY posters, together with the staff and the (probably) bewildered guests. (What did the tourists think? Would the airport be closed? Was this a terrorist threat? Or just another British oddity?) We awaited the arrival of the fire engines, which seemed somewhat tardy considering the possibility of a fire in a major airport hotel not too far from the fuel storage area. They were followed by a van load of policemen. The loud speakers continued to advise people to leave the hotel.
After a relatively short space of time we learnt that there was no fire, all was well. What happened? The Manager appeared - at first only guests and staff were allowed back. He was later heard claiming that one of the demonstrators must have interfered with the fire alarm, perhaps by inserting that little red card into some vital part. However, in spite of his suspicions, everyone was eventually allowed to return and business proceeded as before.
What about the exhibition itself? Councillor Alan Dean had managed to negotiate space in the Hotel reception area for a table for Stop Stansted Expansion objectors to dispense posters and leaflets. This must be an unusual event in the Hilton especially when associated with an official Government exhibition and the Manager must be congratulated for his initial decision, even though it appears that he may have had second thoughts! The table attracted most of the people who came to visit the exhibition and many departed with posters and leaflets, leaving a variety of comments behind.
The exhibition material was scanty. Visitors, after signing in, were presented with a single sheet providing 11 "Key Facts" ranging from statistics about the numbers of passengers using airports in the south east, to the key forecast of demand in 2030 of 300 mppa. (No mention that it is a somewhat disputed forecast.) Unlimited supplies of the consultation document were available as well as the CD Rom.
The only materials on show were 6 large size maps, two for each of the proposed options that required one or more additional runways. For each option, one extra runway, two extra, and 3 extra, there was illustrated the land take required and, separately, in the second map, the predicted noise contours. Details were given of the number of houses that would be destroyed, the agricultural land needed, the number of people exposed to an average noise level of over 57 decibels - all the information which is given in the consultation document, but presented in a form that is easier to comprehend.
People living in Bambers Green, for instance, could see which option would destroy their village. People living in Henham, for example, could more clearly see the sweep of the new connecting road up to the M11 skirting round their village.
No attempt had been made to predict where a new railway to London would run. On questioning it was suggested that it "might" run alongside the existing WAGN line.
Neither was there any indication that the M11 would need widening from the Harlow junction up to the A11 turn off.
A few other written panels informed us of various points such as "Why are we consulting?", answered by the oft repeated phrase "Forecasts predict that demand will grow", "Evidence of a shortfall of runway capacity in the South East", "Other airports in Europe are expanding and there will be greater competition", "How much extra capacity is needed and where?", "What is a hub airport?"
* Nothing about Air Quality. (In answer to a question, why no maps? - "The predictions are that very few people will be affected by air quality exceedances" - but - the SERAS predictions are much less than the forecasts produced for the 25 mppa expansion application by the same consultants! - the answer - "well, computer predictions of air quality are very imprecise, only about 50% correct, and very dependent on weather patterns".
* Nothing about the inevitable extra houses, schools, hospitals, retail and other services required, for example, for 93,000 employees (the 4 runway option) - just a statement that some extra houses would be required! No maps showing the suggested expansion of Harlow, of Braintree, of the 'settlements' in West Essex or even of a proposed new town east of Stansted where all these houses could be built.
Nothing about the extra traffic - where are those predictions for 2015, 2030?
Nothing about the new flight paths - "They will have to be modelled for the CAA, a major exercise that would take years to produce".
Could any Government really be foolish enough to determine a 30 year airports policy without some idea as to the feasibility of actually routing aircraft in and out of the chosen airport? When even the District Council's consultants cast doubts upon the ability of the airspace to accommodate safely the number of flights required for 25 mppa.
How can those living outside the 57dB noise contour estimate how they will be affected? Would they be subjected to a continuous stream of overflying aircraft?
Our verdict on the exhibition. A minimal presentation. It cannot be described as a serious study of the effects of expanding an airport into a predominately rural area, urbanising the nearest stretch of genuine countryside for Londoners to visit and changing for the worse the way of life of thousands of residents. They may be fewer in number than in other areas such as Heathrow, but the life of every person is important, decisions should not be made on this kind of number comparison. Neither should the loss of the countryside be underrated. It has been preserved by good planning throughout the development of the present airport. That in itself has been an achievement. It should not now be sacrificed to the perceived needs of possibly non-existent air travellers.
24 August 2002
CAMPAIGN POLICY STATEMENT
WHAT WE ARE CAMPAIGNING FOR
Our overall objective is to contain the development of Stansted Airport within tight limits that are truly sustainable and, in this way, to protect the quality of life of residents over wide areas of Essex, Hertfordshire and Suffolk, to preserve our heritage and to protect the natural environment.
Specific objectives are:
*||Stansted shall remain an "airport in the countryside"
*||No further increase in authorised passenger numbers without stringent environmental constraints
*||No further increase in passenger numbers unless the necessary infrastructure is both in place and operational
*||No expansion outside the existing boundary
*||No more runways
Wider objectives are:
*||To challenge government forecasts for air travel up to 2030
*||To demonstrate that SERAS has failed to consider measures to reduce demand ('demand management')
*||To demonstrate that it would be irresponsible to make provision to meet these forecasts because of the irreversible environmental damage that this would inflict
*||To ensure that the extra time created by demand management is used to give serious consideration to long term alternative solutions
WE SHALL USE ALL NECESSARY MEASURES TO CONVINCE THE GOVERNMENT THAT THEIR PROPOSALS ARE SERIOUSLY FLAWED AND ARE AGAINST THE WISHES AND WELL-BEING OF MANY THOUSANDS OF RESIDENTS
21 August 2002
SOME NEWS OF INTEREST TO ALL
Easyjet, based mainly on Luton Airport, has recently brought up Go, which operates largely from Stansted. Both offer cheap flights and some anxiety has been caused amongst employees that the take-over could involve job losses.
Easyjet has apparently revised its timetables in order to offer a wider range of services and has changed the rostering arrangements for the crews. This resulted in a big mix up with planes not being where they should be and cabin crew being faced with too many quick turnarounds and too little rest time. Staff and passenger complaints reached the media and it was suggested (and denied) that Ryanair also pressurised their staff too much.
The whole question of the cheapness of the air fares was raised by the media and the means by which it was possible for the companies concerned to keep them so low. There is clearly a limit to production efficiency and cheap (tax free at 27p a gallon!) aircraft fuel is available to all airlines. How can the companies provide such a service without either exploiting their staff or cutting corners with maintenance?
Perhaps it is because they use small cheap airfields on the continent This of course may be beneficial to the foreign airports themselves as it encourages tourists to that locality. However it does not help business passengers, who want to travel to the larger towns. Neither do we try to do this in the UK. Stansted attracts only a small number of foreign tourists, the greater number gravitate to Heathrow simply because it is perceived as being actually in London and our major airline BA provides a through service to all major European airports for incoming travellers, whether the are only transit or stop off for a few days.
21 August 2002
FOUR COMMENTS ON THE SERAS PROPOSALS
Dear Stop Stansted Expansion,
I moved to Takeley almost 1yr ago. I had moved away from Bishop's Stortford briefly (after 25yrs) before realising how much I missed the area, especially Hatfield Forest, where I walk to exercise my dogs and preserve my sanity!!
Imagine my delight when I saw for sale a property that backs onto the 'Flitch Way' (the old railway link, closed down in 1960). A short walk down what has become a public footpath/cyclepath/bridleway, and I'm in my beloved Forest.
Imagine my horror then on reading that 3 new run-ways at Stansted Airport, means the re-instalment of the Braintree rail link; and yes! it will be re-installed along the bottom of my garden.
There was no sign of any description in the searches that were carried out on my behalf less than a year ago that such a catastrophic undertaking was in any pipeline.
I can't believe all these proposals have materialised within 12 mths. I am numb with disbelief as I realise that not only will train noise drown out the sounds of the countryside but that 2 of the new runways place me on the edge of the flight paths so the peace and calm of my little piece of England will be shattered on all sides.
Please hear my one small voice now, because no-one will be able to hear any voices in a few years time!!
Barbara White - Takeley
Dear Stop Stansted Expansion
I've just read your web site at work (I'm not on the internet at home).
You will see my letters in the Saffron Walden Recorder (the first letter
printed this week with a supporting headline) and in the Saffron Walden
I've also written to the Herts & Essex Observer and am waiting to see if it
is in this week's edition.
Some crucial points are:
* The region designated as South East is too large and diverse. It
stretches from the Wash to the Sussex coast. It should be divided into two
regions: East and South East. The proposed Stansted expansion is clearly in
the Eastern region.
* For such a large-scale change to be proposed indicates that the
government had it in mind some time ago. It was not in the election
* All schemes presuppose a willingness to promote low-cost air fares.
Indeed, the questionnaire asks of they should be continued as a matter of
policy. It is just such pricing policies (well below cost) adopted by Easy
Jet and Ryan Air that are causing the problem. More people are using
aircraft because of this current irresponsible pricing policy which simply
cannot continue. No other products are priced in this way. If the true
economic cost was charged - say £150 return to Paris - then fewer people
would be flying. Is airline fuel included in the Kyoto Protocol? I don't
think it is. Two weeks ago the respective managing directors of Easy Jet and
Ryan Air had a spat about the relative age of their aircraft in the
Financial Times. This gives a strong indication of the real state of
* 'No change' is an option, whatever Mr Darling says. Why do we need a
hub airport? Passengers transferring between flights do not benefit the UK
* Make no mistake about this - Cliffe is not an option. This is a red
herring placed to look as though a consultation process has been taken
forward. It's another 'airport on stilts' like the Maplin proposal by the
Heath government in the 70s. It would be an engineering nightmare. Stansted
is the real focus for development. Witness the new town proposal with over
200,000 new homes planned.
* The government consultative paper says that the British airline
story is a success. It is nothing of the kind. Only last Friday BA gave a
warning about falling revenues. What about Laker, BEA, BOAC, Richard Branson
always threatening BA with court action, and the endless and unsettled
rigmarole about an 'open skies' policy with the US? What about the financial
state of NATS?
I would like to join in any protest based on informed knowledge and one that
is vocal, intelligent and gets noticed. I am in full-time work at the FSA so
cannot afford a great deal of time. But a few letters drafted quickly would
be up my street, if that helps.
Alex Smith, Saffron Walden.
To: Stop Stansted Expansion
Today I received my copy of the airports consultation documents for the SE
region (including the East and London), and I also had a glance through the
other regional documents on the website at http://www.airconsult.gov.uk.
This message is intended to provide my personal view on what we have a right to
ask for. It is NOT intended to be my preferred option. Others may think that our ecological crisis is so urgent that we should demand reductions in air travel, or, alternatively, that my less drastic programme is not enough of a compromise to impress the Government. I have sympathy with both viewpoints. I may say that I have not fought shy of courting controversy, as I see this as the best way of getting an informed debate going. I would particularly welcome comments from people from other regions.
I have the following general criticisms.
(a) It is assumed that the level of "climate change levy" will be the same for
all time. In fact, surely, the appropriate rate should rise in line with gross
world production -- or even faster on the basis that the damage done by sea
level rise will increase more than linearly.
(b) I am mystified as to how the report arrived at the rail investment
requirements. It seems to me that they are based on the idea that rail
improvements are things to avoid until they can be proved necessary. For
example, why does Stansted have to have 4 runways before the reopening of the
Braintree link can be justified, and why is there still no link from the west
even with 4 runways ?
(c) There is no recognition of the value of providing surface public transport
access by through routes; this would considerably reduce the passenger flows
required to justify a given service, as air travellers would only be a part of
the overall corridor flow.
(d) It is stated that airports are normally required to finance transport
improvements which they have necessitated. This is seriously misleading. If an
airport expansion is expected to overload a given road, then the airport may
indeed be required to pay for its "improvement". But what if it merely
contributes to an overloading that won't appear till later ? What about the
general increase in traffic levels on local roads, generated both by the airport and by the road improvements designed to accommodate it ? I believe that airports should have a duty to finance sufficient public transport improvements to offset the traffic they generate in such ways.
(e) The value of tourism to the economy is underlined. But some tourism is more
sustainable than others. Foreign tourism is normally less sustainable than home
tourism, not only because it involves travel over longer distances, but because
foreign tourists are more likely to stick to the "honeypots" (I live in one),
and those who wish to explore in greater depth are more likely to hire a car
given that they don't know the ropes about using public transport. Note that by
"foreigners" I mean not "non UK citizens" but people who happen to be in their destination country. The above considerations apply equally to visitors
to and from the UK. The last of these factors could be dealt with by making it
easier for people to find out how to use public transport effectively, both
before and during their journey (and I would consider such a programme to be
urgently necessary independently of aviation factors) but the tendency to visit
honeypots would be harder to change.
(f) There is very little discussion of air/rail substitutability. It is assumed
that longer journeys are not substitutable, but I simply don't believe this,
especially when the opportunity to develop overnight trains (which would often
avoid the need to get up in the small hours to catch a flight) is considered.
This applies both to medium haul journeys and to feeders to long haul flights.
My general principles are as follows:
1. Targets should be set for each airport about the modal split in access by
both passengers and staff (weighted for distance, and allowing for positioning
runs). The target should average at least 50% by means other than car or taxi.
Roughly speaking, this would mean that every incoming passenger who was met by
car, who hired a car, or who took a taxi was countered by at least one outgoing
passenger who used public transport, and that airport staff would be expected to live where they can get to work by public transport at all relevant times. Put that way, I think the target is very modest and would like to see it
2. Until the above target was met, airport expansion should normally be on a
"road traffic neutral" basis, i.e. the airport operator would be required to
ensure that use of the car declined as use of the airport rose. Note that this
is intended to cover non-airport travel too, and, indeed, I see this programme
as a key to regenerating our inter-urban rail and bus network.
3. Public transport improvements should be financed both by Section 106
agreements and by the proceeds of the "airport premiums" referred to in the
document as being the consequence of failure to expand capacity in line with
4. The above should also be used to finance a network of overnight trains
covering both domestic and international journeys. Services via airports could
also provide for longer journeys (e.g. Scotland-Continental Europe via
Heathrow). This would strengthen the "hub" role of relevant airports without
adding to their number of flights. Tickets on these and other international
trains should be marketed on a "bums on seats" basis; it is time that this
country got rid of its tradition (which I believe has been in existence ever
since railways were invented) of making profits through high fares rather than
high patronage. I would regard the level of comfort currently available on
seated trains in North America as adequate, though upgrade options should be
5. Only airports capable of being served by through trains -- preferably at the
airport terminal, but possibly at a nearby "parkway station" -- should be
allowed to expand significantly. Any parkway station should have a direct link
to every terminal in multi-terminal airports.
6. No low cost airports. If an airline can't make a profit on one of the main
airports, which are least likely to generate car traffic, then it should not be
entitled to compete on the basis of ducking out of its share of the cost of
operating such airports.
7. Cooperation with our EU and other European partners to develop a strategy
that controlled the rate of aviation expansion.
For the south-east I propose the following specific policies:
A: Cliffe to be built as a 2 runway airport.
B: A legal agreement to halt Stansted expansion short of "maximum use" levels.
C: Phasing out of poorly located Heathrow Terminal 4 when Cliffe, T5 and long
distance trains via Heathrow are available.
D: Maximum use for Gatwick and Luton
and the following rail access facilities:
E: Central Railway with add-ons to serve a Heathrow Parkway station near M25
J13. This would be served by Gatwick-Luton semi-fasts and Inter-City and
international trains calling at a station (possibly Redhill) which would fulfil
a parkway function for Gatwick.
F: New spur off the Brighton line to Gatwick North, to which most trains
terminating at Gatwick would be diverted. These would call at the parkway
station referred to above.
G: Crossrail to serve East Anglia (Norwich, Stansted Airport and Southend), also
Cliffe, and the west of the region, the latter including services via Heathrow
then using Central Railway to join the existing line near Egham.
H: East-West route through Stansted Airport. This would use the former Braintree
line; west of Stansted there should be a route to Stevenage via Harlow and Ware.
Either this should extend further to Flitwick, Milton Keynes and Oxford, or a
line should be provided via Whittlesford, Shepreth, Sandy and Bedford to
Northampton and the West Midlands.
I: North-south route between the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Peterborough via
Cliffe and Stansted. A possible route would be via the proposed Lower Thames
Crossing, then alongside the M25 and M11 to Stansted.
J: A Medway crossing to provide a rail link between Cliffe and Sheerness, which
would then become a practical source of labour for the airport. This would be
served by through trains from London via the Lower Thames Crossing to
Sittingbourne and East Kent.
K: A through service between Luton and Milton Keynes, capable of being used by
international trains to the West Coast Main Line. The route suggested above via
Flitwick would provide this.
L: Possible LRT between Hitchin and Aylesbury via Luton Airport, Luton,
Dunstable and Cheddington. Construction of this would start at Luton and work
and the following bus improvements:
M: 24 hour network linking population centres in the region and focused on the
airports as interchanges. Fares should not be in excess of those for other
routes in the region.
N: Regular non-motorway buses between Heathrow and Gatwick, by various routes
serving Surrey's main urban centres.
O: Frequent services linking Heathrow Parkway with Slough, Windsor and Staines
and serving intermediate villages west of Heathrow
and the abandonment of all airport-generated road improvement proposals except
for the Lower Thames crossing (but the Benfleet crossing still further down
WOULD be abandoned).
Parts of the region might choose to use airports outside the region (Birmingham,
Bristol Severnside, East Midlands) and would benefit from the surface access
links proposed therewith.
Simon Norton (Cambridge)
Dear Stop Stansted Expansion
I have written to The Minister for Local Government and Planning as well as The Eastern Regional Office.
I made note that:
Stansted expansion not only impacts Essex and its AONB of Dedham Vale. There will be a destruction of the AONB of the Suffolk Coasts. To-day I counted an intrusive jet every 3 minutes. When in a holding circle they can be lower and we often observe paths crossing. Expansion will have the effect of destroying the special nature of our own region - and its fragile tourist economy. It will destroy the quality of life.
There is demand for travel as costs are artificially low. There is plenty of economic proof that shows that when product prices fall, profits fall and eventually are reduced. Indeed low cost providers destroy shareholder value over time. Sadly, not until they have destroyed the value of our region.
Bentwaters was halted here for the reason of impact on the area by local protest. Locally many of us support Stansted as our regional airport - but not as a second Heathrow.
Finally, I add that an interesting note is the wholesale destruction of listed buildings in the proposed plan. To those of us that live in and maintain a listed building ( both our Church and our own home) what a mockery this wholesale destruction makes of the whole listed buildings process. Why all the expense and effort when they can just be bulldozed for economic gain?
Jeffrey Manton - Suffolk
14 August 2002
UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL SAYS 'NO' TO FURTHER RUNWAYS AT STANSTED AIRPORT
A very comprehensive motion was passed at an extraordinary meeting of the full Council on August 13th. The public gallery was full and extra seats were provided in the small committee room next door where it is just possible to hear what is said - provided councillors speak properly into their microphones!
Councillor Ketteridge, this year's chairman, welcomed members of the public. Five individuals had asked to speak before the meeting. These included Simon Latham, from Thaxted Parish Council, who reiterated Councillor Walsh's concerns made to the public meeting on the 12th (see our report), and Norman Mead, who gave the meeting a brief description of this meeting and the actions that would be taken by the new community group. All 5 speakers opposed the proposals and gave reasons for doing so.
Councillor Ketteridge opened the debate by reminding members that there could not be any discussion about the current application from BAA for an expansion of the Airport to 25 mppa, this was still under consideration by the Development Control committee.
He considered that it was quite wrong for a major consultation document to be published just at the beginning of the holiday season. The proposals were intended to lead to a decision on the development of aviation for the next 30 years. In addition, John Prescott had made a statement on 1st of July about the extra affordable housing that the Government wanted built in the south east. One of the four areas chosen was the M11 corridor. Both proposals had profound implications for Uttlesford. The Government had said in connection with the air traffic proposals that "No option was not an option". There would be a regional conference in the autumn on the housing plans.
Data had been summarised for the information of Councillors and all had a copy of the document itself. The Council had established a principle last February when they passed a resolution that they would oppose any second runway at Stansted. There was also a long standing agreement that for any major proposals there would be a public referendum.
Up to the publication of the document there had been no thought of an additional 2 or 3 runways. This meeting had been called to decide how the Council should proceed in preparing an answer to the document.
The Motion that was before the Council was as follows:
Council notes recent Government proposals on the future of air transport in the UK and housing in the south-east of England and expresses its initial deep concern that the proposals could be fundamentally damaging to communities and the quality of life of individual people and families in the Uttlesford District and beyond its boundaries.
Council acknowledges that currently there are benefits and disadvantages from Stansted Airport's operation but will not accept expansion on a scale that destroys or could lead to the destruction of villages and quality of life.
Council acknowledges the need for housing that can be afforded by all local people and will encourage solutions that do not ruin the rural aspects of the district.
1. To analyse critically the recent Government statement and consultation papers on the future of air transport in the UK and to consider principally the long-term quality of life of the residents of Uttlesford District when making its response to the Government.
2. To authorise the Chief Executive, in consultation with Group Leaders and the Chief Finance Officer, to allocate sufficient resources, including the commissioning of external advice and expertise, where appropriate, to compile a robust response for submission to the Council on 18 November 2002 and to support media and lobbying activity.
3. To work with other local authorities, local and national action groups and individuals to oppose the aviation proposals as they stand and to promote alternative and more acceptable proposals from both a local standpoint and from regional and national standpoints.
4. To request its Stansted Airport Advisory Panel to consider the proposals urgently by meeting as often as necessary with a view to advising the Council's Environment and Transport Committee on the content of the Council's response as soon as possible within the Government's consultation period.
5. To urge central Government to conclude its consideration of these matters quickly and to this Council's satisfaction so that the blight that has been imposed on many people and their homes in recent weeks can be removed.
6. To seek the support of legislators, Members of Parliament and Members of the European Parliament for truly sustainable solutions by means of public statements, by lobbying (including at national party conferences in the autumn) and through regular briefings.
7. To invite Secretary of State Alistair Darling, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and Gwyneth Dunwoody, Chairman of the Transport Select Sub-Committee for a short stay in Uttlesford to see its present qualities, to witness the impact of Stansted Airport today and to learn at first hand the feelings of local people.
8. To confirm the previous decision to hold a referendum on the future development of Stansted Airport.
9. To inform and consult its residents - including holding member-led public meetings - about the issues involved and to enable each household to obtain a copy of the Department for Transport's consultation questionnaires on the aviation paper.
10. To conduct this debate in an all-party, non-party political manner and to issue future press and media statements on an all-party basis.
11. To call another Extraordinary Council Meeting on Monday 18th November 2002 to approve the formal response of the Council to Government.
The four Council Leaders then spoke, all indicating their support for the Motion and their fears for the future if the proposals went ahead. Robert Chambers (Conservative) pledged to put party politics aside and referred to "the catastrophic proposals to put Uttlesford under concrete". Alan Dean (Lib Dem) referred to the launch of the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign. He said, "The objective is to persuade Alistair Darling that he has got it wrong. We should also invite Michael Meacher to visit us. People are looking for leadership from the Council. This is war. Some people say the result is inevitable, I say that what is inevitable, if these proposals go ahead, will be the biggest environmental protest the UK has ever known".
Margaret Caton (Independent) agreed. She said that people power can be successful. We must fight the battle on all fronts. The growth of cheap flights has been possible because of the absence of taxes on air travel. There has to be a fair comparison with other forms of transport.
Russell Green (Labour) said that he had been born and bred in Essex. Only too often progress involved the invasion and destruction of rural areas of peace and quiet. We have to oppose this expansion. The present airport has benefited Uttlesford but such a large expansion will destroy the countryside. He did not believe that the local management wanted it either.
There was then a debate during which most Councillors spoke and all expressed great concern over the effects on Uttlesford of such an expansion of the Airport and also on the rest of Essex and Hertfordshire. The importance of involving Essex County Council was emphasised as well as Bishop's Stortford and Braintree. There was a need to explain to people exactly what this kind of expansion would mean in terms of buildings, houses and services for the thousands of employees needed to operate an expanded airport, businesses attracted to the area, acres of concrete. This urbanisation would spread for miles around.
Some Councillors believed that a case could be made for an offshore airport, others that the programme of unconstrained air traffic demand was unsustainable and could not be supported. All agreed that no one should have to live next to any 4 runway airport. What was the point of a second hub airport? What local or regional gain was there from transit passengers?
All also agreed that a lesser package should not be accepted.
Councillor Copping (Great Dunmow) then put an Amendment to the Motion. This required the Council to oppose by every possible means any expansion of the Airport. This caused some difficulty and legal and planning advice was sought. With the original application still awaiting a decision any vote on the amendment could be taken as exerting undue and irregular pressure on the members of the Development Control Committee even if they did not vote. BAA would be entitled to complain and take action by demanding the application be referred to a public inquiry.
The Chief Planning Officer's advice was accepted by the chairman and he asked Councillor Copping if he would withdraw the amendment. Councillor Copping did so, saying that he wished to make the point that many opposed any expansion. We can well understand his concerns - Great Dunmow is the nearest settlement of any size to the Airport and residents have had to accept some hundreds of airport related houses and have been threatened with an asylum seekers detention centre. Now they are threatened with virtual civic extinction and all the other consequences of proximity to a major airport.
The final vote was unanimous. The Councillors must be congratulated on the promptness of their response and the content of their new policy. We await further action, a referendum and associated public meetings. We hope that these meetings are adequately advertised - notices sometimes languish in a small corner of the local papers. We need good publicity!
13 August 2002
NO - RUNWAY
No seats either!
Stansted Mountfichet School Hall was packed to capacity well before the beginning of the meeting on Monday. Over 800 people attended and there was room for only 500 in the Hall, many of whom had to stand.
About 300 waited outside and the speeches were relayed outside until the school dining room could be opened and accommodate the overflow. Fortunately this was one evening without rain.
The meeting had been organised by Councillor Alan Dean, the Lib Dem Leader of Uttlesford District Council, and in a new display of political unity Uttlesford's MP Sir Alan Haselhurst joined him as a co-chairman.
Alan Dean welcomed everyone and explained the reasons for calling the meeting. Norman Mead, well known as a long time campaigner against the creeping expansion of Stansted airport, would describe the recent proposals put forward in the Government's Report. Forms had been placed on every chair, anyone with a question to ask or a comment to make could fill it in and it was hoped that there would be time for everyone to make their contribution.
The SERAS document claimed that expanding airports were great for prosperity. Here it would destroy our present way of life and the adverse effects would be felt over a very wide area. There was wide agreement that we must all work together and we must be non-political. The battle itself must be to persuade Alistair Darling that his advisers have got it wrong.
Get the Report through the post and read it. The expansion is not inevitable. If it does go through then the Government will have its biggest fight ever. These are our homes and our way of life. The Government would be taking on a whole community, not just pressure groups.
We need alternative views to undermine the Government's economic case which is very questionable. We need people to design and print leaflets and posters to inform people exactly what is proposed. Volunteer your talents, any musician to compose a campaign song? Some may wish to dig tunnels or chain themselves to trees. Probably this is not the right time for this kind of action. We must first use the democratic process and take it through to the end. If this fails, then Direct Action will be inevitable.
Sir Alan then took over. He was surprised to learn that there was a "Swampy" in Stansted.
He had formed a view very early on in his career that airports should not be built inland. There had been a big battle over the initial building of the airport and now we had another one. Some people were still taking rather a romantic view of Stansted airport and thinking of a minor expansion. It must be realised that what is proposed would completely transform the area. At the first inquiry the Inspector said that there should be no second runway.
He made it clear that if he is to present the best case against the proposals directly to the Secretary of State, then he needed the proven backing of all his constituents. It must be made clear that Stansted is not a soft option. The local Councils must join forces, including Braintree and also Essex County Council.
He had formed a cross party group of local MPs to fight the expansion. BUT, the battle would not be fought in the House of Commons, it would be fought in the corridors of power. Stansted must be removed from the list of expansion options. Not only clamour was required, quality arguments were needed, all the forces available must be martialled against the proposals. Objections must be clear-cut and made to all the expansion options, beware of creeping into a "just one runway" position.
The firing pistol had been set off.
Norman Mead first paid tribute to Sir Alan's stand, and also to the support given by the local press, notably the Herts and Essex Observer and the Essex Chronicle. Even David Beckham had been upstaged in the Times.
He continued: Local residents are faced with a two pronged attack, the M11 study and the SERAS proposals. The M11 study proposes several options for development from London to Cambridge and these include doubling or tripling the size of Harlow, doubling the size of Braintree, increasing all the local settlements and the possibility of a new town east of Stansted.
This takes us back a few years to Professor Crow who discovered Stansted airport during the inquiry into the Regional Plan and said that the M11 corridor must support development together with a new town on the "flat country east of Stansted".
The SERAS study is part of the insidious growth of the airport that has taken place since the initial inquiry. The new proposals are not just for one runway, but for four, in two groups of close parallel runways, which could now be operated in conjunction.
He then showed a series of slides illustrating the suggested plans.
First, the existing airport, with one runway, a terminal building, 3 satellites and an emergency runway with all the associated buildings. The noise map showed the contours for average noise levels of 54 decibels, 57, and higher. Officially noise was considered to be intrusive within the 57 decibel level contour. However, nearer the runway, with average levels over the 60 decibel level, life was already becoming intolerable for many with conversation drowned for at least 20 seconds by over flying aircraft every 2 minutes at peak time.
The second runway was proposed outside the present limits, on the east side of the present airport site. This meant that all the land between would have to be purchased. After this the third and fourth runways would be built parallel to the first two.
The "Airport in the Country" becomes "The Airport that swallows the country".
Over 200 homes would have to be demolished and that would include over 60 graded buildings. Many other houses and buildings would be badly affected by noise and pollution and would become unsuitable for public use.
There were many areas that would be affected of special landscape value, 747 Hectares of the Countryside Protection zone, the SSSI at Elsenham would largely disappear and Hatfield Forest would be at grave risk from pollution.
In addition land would be required for a new more northerly road link to the M11 between Junctions 8 & 9, cutting through the countryside near Henham and Newport. A new Rail would be needed to go into London and a new link with Braintree.
Any suggested mitigation measures are a nonsense. The scheme is arrogant and monstrous. It could be that being a rural area it is assumed that fewer people will be affected and so there will be fewer protests. There are though 28.000 people living in the local parishes who will suffer and the travelling public must consider those affected by ever increasing air travel. Unlimited demand is not sustainable .
He illustrated this by showing the noise contours for a 4 runway airport. The 57 decibel contour extended well beyond Great Sampford in one direction and up to the edge of Harlow southwards. The area was much wider than before reaching over to the Rodings and towards Great Dunmow.
No Plan is provided in the proposals for stacking areas, will there be new ones ? Dedham Vale, an area of outstanding beauty is already affected by the present stacks, What will happen in the future?
This meeting should make a resolution to send to Alistair Darling, - Withdraw these proposals.
Peter Sanders was then asked to explain what had been done to date.
He praised Norman for all the work he had done over the years, both as an individual and with NWEEHPA. With this new challenge there had to be a new approach. All the interested parties met on August 1st to form a working group led by NWEEHPA. 130 people attended and £1000 was raised as a beginning. Norman was elected as chairman and Peter Gowan as vice-chair. The new name is "STOP STANSTED EXPANSION - SSE. NWEEHPA are providing their office in Takeley which is now in action. Several working groups have been set up to look at special aspects of the proposals such as campaigning, legal and medical issues, and to draw up a response to the consultation. Stansted airport expansion will be the main target. Airport Watch is a new national grouping of organisations set up to oppose the excessive air traffic expansion that has been proposed. They will be available to provide expertise on national issues. We have to move quickly as we have only 4 months to provide a response.
We have a joining form which you will find on your seats. We also have this website where you will find a list of our objectives and information about progress and a joining form that can be down loaded. Please join us, let us know if you have any special skills and how much time you can spare. The strength of our representations will depend on the number of members we have. Please also donate towards our expenses and sign the petition to Alistair Darling before you leave the hall. We have never been so threatened before.
Alan Dean then opened the meeting to questions and comments. There were many points raised which are summarised below.
One of the best was from Parish Councillor Eileen Walsh, who lives in Thaxted. She said that Thaxted had 7 grade 1 and 200 grade 2 listed buildings, already suffering from a steady stream of over-flying aircraft. She agreed with all the points that had been made. The suggested increases would ruin the area for miles around. The original permission said there was to be no 2nd runway. Now 3 more are suggested. How can anyone forsee demand for the next 30 years/ There must be a limit! Where will the fuel come from? Why choose a small rural corner ? Many people come from the north and stay for one night only to fly the next day. Better that they should fly from an airport nearer home.
There is no unemployment here. Why provide more jobs where they are not needed? There will be disastrous consequences, loss of sale of houses, professional people, doctors, nurses and teachers will not want to move into an airport area. The Sunday Times last year described Uttlesford as the best area just off the M11. Why turn it into the Hell off the M11?
John Hall of the Essex Wildlife Trust reported that the Trustees were joining the campaign. He would be writing to his 16,000 members. He was concerned that there was no tax on aircraft fuel, it was cheaper to fly to Prague than by rail to London!
Norman Mead pointed out that the original runway capacity was estimated at 25 mppa. Recently BAA upped it to 35mppa. SERAS now suggest 45mppa!
Chris Bennett from Hadstock suggested that noise nuisance ought to be based on personal experience, not average contours. Can you hear aircraft noise above the TV when indoors? Can you hear it at night with the windows shut? Will it drown music you want to listen to? Does it interfere with your conversation? He urged everyone to complain about noise annoyance. Telephone as often as you are disturbed. or we are told that very few people complain!
Sir Alan was asked if he would resign as Speaker and speak for his constituents on the floor of the House. He answered that in this case of Stansted expansion it would not be decided in the House of Commons. As Speaker he had access to all Ministers and they had to reply. This was much more valuable since the decision would be taken by the Minister.
Mary Porter asked if the traffic forecasts would be queried and can the aircraft traffic controllers cope? Is there room for all the extra flights?
Norman Mead commented on the lack of consideration as to demand management rather than "predict and Provide". A fuel tax alone would reduce any extra demand.
Peter Gowan said that air traffic control would be working with a new system in about 10 years time called global positioning system. Aircraft could then go straight from point to point and it was supposed to allow more aircraft in the air. However it had not been tried out as yet in the UK and it might not be workable round London.
Why issue documents in a holiday period? Why only 4 months to reply? (Answer. Some of the technical documents are not yet ready. Sir Alan promised to make representations for an extension of reply time).
Why take up so much land for a second runway. (Answer, by having the runways a long way apart you can use each for up to 50 mppa, and then build 2 more in parallel with the excuse that you do not need any more land!).
Can EU Laws be used to block the proposals? (Answer, the Legal Group would be looking into this)
Should people fill in the official Questionnaire? (Answer. No, the questions are biased. Write comments in the space provided).
Allegations are being made that some activities have been going on near Elsenham that could be concealed developments awaiting an already decided decision. Norman had heard of these and wanted more information so it could be investigated.
When could Direct Action start? (Answer. Must make considered reply first. Think of something original that will not be unpopular)
What about the immediate blight on property? Some people have to move and house sales are being cancelled. (Answer. There is no legislation that can help during this period while we wait for the decision).
Any more information on the proposed new road? (Answer. It will inevitably attract more development round a new M11 junction).
What about the application to expand to 25 mppa? (Answer, this should be kept separate. However, S S E is opposing all expansion).
Climate change;-why is CO2 production costed at £70 per tonne?
The current air traffic demand has been created by cheap air fares. There is a price war, what will happen when this ends after recent take-overs?
Airline accidents are bound to rise with increasing traffic.
Do we need another hub airport ? It makes no sense to have two. The danger would be that there will be a transfer of some of Heathrow's traffic.
The Government is in favour of the increasing use of IT yet the document says that there is a need for more opportunities for business travel. Why aren't they using IT conferencing?
Bishop's Stortford resident;-the noise is abysmal and the smell of kerosene worse. Lets have Alistair Darling down here to sleep a few nights. He could get his food at the airport and experience the exorbitant prices.
There ought to be more publicity about the High Risk areas. (Answer. Experience has shown that the so called public safety zones are a nonsense, they need challenging).
There should be a fuel tax, (airlines pay 27p per gallon). There must be cooperation between all the Councils, and please don't promote Cliffe, it is a major world bird habitat.
There is a need to get more coverage in the national press.
The meeting finally finished with exhortations to sign the petition, to join and to contribute both with help and with money, and, very important, write to Sir Alan or your own MP and express your views. (address, House of Commons, Westminster, London SW 1A OAA)
FOR YOUR INFORMATION. THERE IS A JOINING FORM ON THIS WEBSITE WITH DETAILS OF THE OFFICE TELEPHONE AND EMAIL.
AIRPORT WATCH, THE NATIONAL ORGANISATION, CAN BE CONTACTED ON 020 7248 2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org and website www.airportwatch.org.uk
ORDER YOUR FREE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT AND THE QUESTIONNAIRE FROM 0845 100 5554. Remember not to answer the questions. Give your views at the end!
3 August 2002
Decision on New Action Group Name
At a meeting last night of the main working group of the new Action Group, it was decided to call the new campaign "Stop Stansted Expansion".
Saffron Walden & District Friends of the Earth has agreed to the use of this website for the new campaign. The site will be adapted as necessary over the coming days and weeks.
2 August 2002
A New Campaign
Proposals for a new Action Group
The Crafton Centre in Stansted village was packed with people who had come
to hear the proposals to form a new community Action Group against the
"horrendous" proposals for Stansted expansion.
It had been called by the
lead group, NWEEHPA (North West Essex and East Herts Preservation
Association) who had already entered into discussions with our own Friends
of the Earth, CPRE and other environmental groups. The proposals had been
approved by the AGM of the Association the previous week.
Norman Mead, secretary of the Association, chaired the meeting. He is well
known locally as the original campaigner against having any airport at
Stansted and he has served on the local airport advisory committee ever
since it was set up.
He put the situation bluntly. There was already an application in for an
expansion to accommodate up to 25 mppa. This was being opposed by very many
local people. The present situation at 14 mppa, nearly the maximum permitted
level, was almost intolerable for many people and had already interfered
severely with their quality of life. Stansted had already reached its
environmental limits. Uttlesford Council had not yet decided whether they
would approve the application and it looked as though it would depend on
what conditions BAA were prepared to agree to to mitigate the effects. The
new proposals were beyond anyone's imagination and would change this area
To mount the most effective opposition Peter Sanders, a member of
NWEEPHA and of Uttlesford Local Agenda 21, had suggestions for organising an
Peter made it clear that he was speaking as a NWEEHPA member. He said that
after discussions with other groups and approval by the AGM it was agreed
that the best and quickest way to set up a group was for NWEEHPA to invite
all interested groups & individuals to join a Working Group, serviced by the
Association's Norman Mead and its Treasurer Richard Cheetham. It would
choose its own Chairman.
The aims and objects would be:
* To consider all matters relating to the operation and development of
Stansted Airport in the context of sustainable development
* To conduct or to commission relevant enquiries and research
* To increase public awareness of these issues
* To liaise with other organisations as appropriate
* To conduct campaigns and to make representations as appropriate to Government
departments, local authorities and other relevant bodies.
The working group would operate through several committees specialising in
different fields each with their own chair. Volunteers would decide which
group they wished to join. The committees' activities and conclusions would
be coordinated by the core working group.
The suggested groups were:
Fundraising and membership
Lobbying and publicity
Setting up a road show to tour the area
Giving advice on legal and compensation issues
Exploring the medical issues, the effects on the health of residents
Formulating the response to the consultation paper
There would be an office in Takeley which would be manned daily. Already
there was a volunteer to act as secretary who was able to provide her own
computer. A person experienced in PR work, Melissa Cowley, had agreed to advise on
the campaign and it was intended to contact all the Parishes so that there
would be local contacts all over the area.
Norman Mead was then elected as the Chairman of the new Group and Peter Gowan as the Vice Chairman.
There followed a discussion during which the following points were agreed:
* The organisation must be non-political
* The objections should be to any further expansion
* They should be centred on Stansted Airport, but would include objections to
any overall increase in air traffic in the south-east. Support would be
given to 'Airport Watch', a national organisation set up by the national
environmental organisations to oppose the massive air traffic increase
proposed in the White Paper.
* There would be liaison with the other Airport objection Groups at Heathrow
and Gatwick and opposition would not include suggestions for airports or
increased air traffic elsewhere in the south-east.
It was also agreed that the working committees suggested should be set up by
appointing a chair and those present who wished to participate actively
would sign up before leaving and indicate what their special interests were.
Melissa then presented her suggestions for a Campaign which would be
considered in detail by the lobbying group. Volunteers were appointed to
chair the other groups. Peter Sanders would take over the preparation of the
response and gather together all the expert opinions. Members of the initial
group had already contacted an aviation economic/employment consultant
Martin Shenfield, who had produced the original report for SASIG and he
could supply basic predictions for local effects on employment, the economy,
the infrastructure - especially housing and transport.
Norman Mead would continue to liaise with other groups.
There was a long discussion about the name of the Group. It was agreed that
it must include the name "Stansted" and that it must be short, sharp and
easy to remember. It was left to the original working group to make the
It was also suggested that there was one action everyone should take right
Complain to BAA if you are disturbed by air craft noise. Most of us do not
bother because it makes no difference, the excuses are the same, also it
means interrupting work to go to the phone - often impossible. HOWEVER, it
is important because the complaints go to the Minister, and very few are
made. The natural and misused assumption is that local people are not
bothered by noise!
SO, MAKE THAT COMPLAINT WHEN THAT PLANE OVERHEAD INTERFERES WITH YOUR WORK
OR YOUR CONVERSATION. IF YOU CANNOT GET TO THE PHONE, OR IT'S IN THE NIGHT,
REMEMBER THE TIME, MAKE A NOTE. ALTERNATIVELY, COMPLAIN ABOUT A SERIES OF
NOISE EVENTS DURING THE DAY OR NIGHT GIVING THE DATE AND THE PERIOD OF TIME.
Further details will be announced. Meantime you can join by filling in our
website form saying your interests are to join the action group against
Stansted airport. Please say which particular activity you want to be
involved with. We will see that the new office receives your details once they are up and
29 July 2002
Saffron Walden & District Friends of the Earth Press Notice
Proposals for the New Look Stansted Airport
Imagine an airport twice the size of Heathrow placed not many miles from
where YOU live. 3000 acres of countryside concreted over, 200 houses
destroyed, all to satisfy a predicted demand for air travel that may never
The New Look Stansted Airport would handle twice as many passengers as the
present Heathrow. For us this would mean about 9 times as much road and air
traffic with all the extra noise and pollution.
Can this destruction of our way of life be justified?
We are joining up with other groups to oppose these plans. We aim to show
that such an expansion of air traffic is environmentally unacceptable and
unsustainable and also economically unnecessary, both for Uttlesford, Essex
and the UK. We, the taxpayer currently subsidise the aviation industry by £7
billion each year and this would rise to over £17 billion per year if the
Government's proposed plans go ahead.
The Government's consultation papers, with a questionnaire to answer, can be
obtained free from 0845 100 5554.
'Airport Watch' has been set up nationally to oppose the plans. Contact them
at 020 7248 2223 or visit their website at www.airportwatch.org.uk.
Locally you can join Saffron Walden & District Friends of the Earth by telephoning 01799 585016.
THERE WILL BE A MEETING OF LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS THIS THURSDAY (1ST AUGUST) TO SEE IF WE CAN FORM AN OVERALL BODY TO CO-ORDINATE EFFORT AND PROVIDE A UNITED
AND EFFECTIVE VOICE IN RESPONSE TO THIS HORRENDOUS PROPOSAL.
The Lead Organisation is NWEEHPA, the Northwest Essex and East Herts Preservation
Association, secretary - Norman Mead. They have opposed the airport from the
We will keep you posted. We shall need all the support we can get. Please
fill in our website form if you want to get involved. Put 'Airport
expansion' as your special interest.
24 July 2002
"Horrendous" says Sir Alan!
When questioned on BBC 'Look East' last night about the SERAS proposals for Stansted airport expansion which were announced in Parliament yesterday afternoon, Sir Alan Hazelhurst - our MP - had one immediate, very apt comment: "They are horrendous", he said, "this kind of transformation defies description. The Inspector at the Public Inquiry said that another runway would have too bad an effect on the local environment. What more do the business community want? We have enough jobs in the area. We haven't got the transport links for three extra runways and a five fold expansion of passengers and flights."
Alistair Darling, the new Transport Minister, had given a brief description to Parliament of the proposals for expanding the UK airport capacity to cope with the expected increase in air traffic over the next 30 years. The consultants employed by the Government, Oxford Economic Forecasting, had predicted that air traffic demand would double within the next 20 years. This forecast has, of course, been welcomed by the Aviation industry, and by many business interests, who appear to believe that an expanding air service attracts inward investment.
In the south-east, Heathrow is to have another runway, but not full length, primarily for European traffic, Stansted is to have 3 new runways, Gatwick would remain with one, and a new 4 runway airport is suggested for the Thames Estuary at Cliffe.
In East Anglia Alconbury is put forward as a base for low cost flights, a new airport for Cambridge, and another runway for Luton.
Over the rest of the UK extra capacity is suggested for Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, West Midlands, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and another runway at either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
Stansted has the biggest expansion! Where, we ask, would 3 extra runways be built. We know that BAA have had their eyes on Molehill Green for their hoped for second runway and have bought up many properties there, but a third and fourth..
It was estimated on TV that 3000 acres of land would be required and 200 homes would have to be demolished, including 60 listed buildings - including the 300 year old pub in Molehill Green, featured on TV, with a worried landlord faced with losing his home and his livelihood. Surprisingly, other villagers appeared to welcome more job opportunities! Had they really grasped the extent of the likely development? It has been calculated that one runway used to full capacity (up to 40 mppa) demands a new town the size of Crawley in Sussex.
Three new towns between Stansted and Colchester? How many new roads? How many cars? A new rail line to London? More destruction of houses and countryside. In fact there would be urban sprawl all the way from London to Cambridge and to Colchester and Chelmsford. This would affect Londoners too. They can spend a day in the country by taking a tube to Epping or Ongar. All that would be left would be Epping Forest and Hatfield Forest, both probably seriously affected by pollution from the constant parade of aircraft overhead.
As for the number of flights, this is difficult to imagine. 180,000 annually now, with 15 mppa. Each runway can carry 35-40 mppa so eventually there would be about 140 mppa and possibly over 800,000 flights annually.
We must all ask, is this expansion really necessary?
To answer this question, the five main environmental groups in the UK who campaign on transport have joined together to form 'AIRPORT WATCH'. It was launched on Friday 19th July to oppose unnecessary, unsustainable and irresponsible airport expansion across the UK.
It has published its first report, 'Flying Into Trouble' and a manifesto for sustainable Air Transport. It is arranging a touring road show that will illustrate how an expanding airport affects people who live near it, and how too much expansion can bring economic disadvantages as well as environmental harm.
The organisations forming this group are: The Aviation Environment Federation, Friends of the Earth, CPRE, Transport 2000 and the National Society for Clean Air.
You can visit the website for information at www.airportwatch.org.uk or you can email at email@example.com.
You can join the network and the Campaign as an individual or as a group.
A set of Friends of the Earth briefing papers has been published. The introductory briefing sheet follows in 'Latest News' below and from it you can access the other sheets. They tell you why the forecasts published by the Government are grossly exaggerated and why we do not need this huge increase in airport capacity. In fact, it represents the old 'Predict and Provide' mentality, now abandoned in road building. What is needed is to assess the true demand, to realise that air travel is subsidised by the taxpayer, does not pay its way as a polluting activity should do, and why , for travel in the UK, money should be put into the rail system, not into airports.
What are we doing locally? We hope to form a similar joint group and oppose the Stansted Monster. We hope to demonstrate the likely consequences for Essex and we also hope to get support from those who do not wish to see a total loss of the quality of life for large numbers of people.
The knee jerk reaction of so many people, even in this area of full employment - "more jobs must be good" and "more cheap holidays will enable more people to go to new places" - has to be put into perspective. More jobs means more houses or more cars. Where are the houses to go? Do people want to live near an airport? What about the cost of houses? Congestion on the roads? Crowded trains? More pollution? Are there really all that number of people unable to find a cheap holiday because of aircraft space shortage? Why should we all subsidise cheap air travel when British holiday centres need more visitors?
And, possibly the most important, is there space in the sky for all these extra aircraft? (The TRL Consultants report for Uttlesford Council suggested that there might be problems even with 25 mppa because of the nearness of Luton Airport and Heathrow to the South.)
Remember that these are only proposals and that they are out for consultation. Alistair Darling said on TV that the Government wished to hear all views and that the first decision would be on the amount of expansion that was needed. There will be at least 3 months to respond and everyone should do so.
Expect meetings to start in September. Meantime we shall be reading the small print of the proposals.
The Regional Air Studies and the Economy
Introductory Briefing Sheet
Government Prediction: Passenger numbers to more than double
The Regional Air Studies are based on the prediction that the number of passengers using the UK airports will more than double in 20 years - from 180 million a year in 2000 to 400 million a year in 2020.
Where will that growth come from?
It will be almost entirely made up of leisure trips. Most of these new leisure trips will consist of people flying off for more weekend breaks.
The essential fact to remember is that the growth in air travel of the next 20/30 years in the UK will be almost entirely accounted for by more people taking more weekend breaks.
Key facts to note:
* Only 20% of flights are for business purposes.
That figure is likely to remain constant over the next 20 years. If it were not for the leisure trips, there would be no need for any increase in airport capacity.
* There is a £8.6 billion annual deficit in aviation tourism.
That is the difference between the amount of money spent abroad by Britons flying out of the UK for leisure and holiday trips (£17.7 billion) and the amount visitors into the UK spend here (£9.1 billion) - see aviation and tourism briefing.
* It is tax concessions which are stimulating the soaring demand in leisure travel.
Air fares are so low because of the huge hidden subsidies received by the aviation industry. It pays no tax on aviation fuel, no VAT on the purchase of planes or any of the components of air travel, nor does it cover the costs of the noise and pollution it causes - see aviation and tax briefing.
* Higher fares and less subsidy to aviation would benefit low-income households.
Most people on low-incomes do not fly off on weekends abroad. They make fewer air journeys than anybody else. They, therefore, receive the least benefits from the subsidised fares - see aviation and equity briefing.
* Subsidies are socially divisive.
Everybody would benefit if the subsidies to the aviation industry were cut. The Exchequer would get a big increase in tax revenue which would help fund public services without needing to increase income tax.
* Yet the Regional Aviation Studies are based on the assumption that these subsidies will remain.
They assume that, over the next 30 years, fares will decrease by 1% per year.
* Subsidies distort the value of the aviation industry to the UK economy.
The total annual subsidy to the industry is estimated to be in the region of £7 billion - see aviation and tax briefing. The aviation industry would continue to provide jobs even without the subsidies - see aviation and economy briefing.
* There is real doubt about the value of airport expansion to regional economies.
Independent evidence suggests that new transport infrastructure - of any sort - plays a limited role in regional regeneration. Only if all the other conditions are right, such as the availability of labour with the necessary skills, are new or expanded airports likely to significantly assist regional regeneration - see aviation and regeneration briefing.
Why the Regional Air Studies are economically flawed - see Aviation and the Economy Briefing.
Aviation, the Economy and Tourism
There is a £8.6 billion annual deficit in aviation tourism
That is the difference between the amount of money spent abroad by Britons flying out of the UK (£17.7 billion) and the amount visitors into the UK spend here (£9.1billion). As fares have become cheaper, so this gap has widened. The number of people persuaded to visit this country as a result of cheap flights is more than off-set by the number of Britons tempted abroad by the low fares.
Further expansion of aviation, as proposed in the Regional Aviation Studies, will simply ensure that more British people holiday abroad.
Remember: the growth in air travel of the next 20/30 years in the UK will be almost entirely accounted for by more people taking more weekend breaks.
It is economic madness:
The UK Government is subsidising the aviation
industry to the tune of around £7 billion a year
to make it easy to enable its citizens to fly abroad
to spend £17 billion outside this country......
.......all the while, old British holiday resorts -
Hastings, Morecombe, Margate and many,
many others - are crying out for visitors.
If the money currently spent abroad was instead spent in this country:
* Tourism in the UK would receive a boost;
* New jobs would be created in tourism right across the UK, especially unskilled jobs in the service sector;
* Overall income levels would rise in many deprived areas - meaning an increase in individuals' spending power and more tax revenue for Government.
British people visit all parts of the country on holiday while foreign tourists concentrate on the thriving tourist 'hotspots' such as London, York, Edinburgh, Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon. So more Britons holidaying in the UK would spread prosperity around the country.
The real challenge for the tourist industry is not so much to attract more foreign visitors to Britain, but to persuade British people to stay in this country. Subsidised fares don't make the task any easier.
Why the Regional Air Studies are economically flawed - see Aviation and the Economy Briefing.
Aviation, the Economy and Equity
Less than half the population fly each year. Poor people rarely fly:
* People most likely to have flown over the last year are those earning over £30,000. (source: A Mori Poll, commissioned by the industry pressure group Freedom to Fly, published in 2001);
* Richer people are more likely to fly off on weekends. And it these flights that will account for virtually all the projected growth in air travel over the next 20/30 years;
* In the last 12 months only 2 out of 5 people will have made a trip by plane. 62% will not have travelled by air;
* 12% of the population have never been on a plane.
Typically, the wealthier a person is, the more s/he flies:
* People with sufficient disposable income fly for pleasure. People on tight budgets do not fly.
* Lowering air fares and increasing the number of flights may attract more passengers. But people with larger disposable incomes will fly more frequently than people with smaller disposable incomes. People on tight budgets will still not be able to fly.
Wealthier flyers are being subsidised by the taxpayer:
* People who fly are subsidised through the tax system by those who do not fly or cannot afford to fly. The annual value of the tax subsidies will increase from around £8 billion per year to £17.5 billion per year if forecast passenger demand is to be met - see aviation and taxation briefing.
* Most people on low-incomes do not fly off on weekends abroad. They make fewer air journeys than anybody else. They, therefore, receive the least benefits from the subsidised fares.
People on tight budgets depend on public services that could benefit more if aviation subsidies were redirected to health, education, care of the elderly, etc - see aviation and taxation briefing.
The poorest people often suffer the worse environmental consequences of aviation:
* Some of the very poorest in the UK living under the flight paths and around airports. They are also the least likely to be, able to move away. Curbing air travel would improve the quality of their daily lives.
* Curbing air travel would have environmental gains for poor people in developing countries as it is those countries that are the big losers from global warming, to which emissions from aircraft is a growing contributor. Many of the same people are trapped under flight paths.
Leisure travel by air is so cheap at present that it would need to go up quite considerably before most of the people who can currently afford to take holidays abroad would need to cut them out, even if it did mean some people had to cut down on the number of weekend breaks they took.
People who fly for pleasure should pay the full economic and environmental cost. Subsidised flying is socially and economically divisive.
Why the Regional Air Studies are economically flawed - see Aviation and the Economy Briefing.
Aviation and the Economy
Read this page and you'll see why the Regional Aviation Studies should be dismissed out-of-hand as economic gobbledegook.
The Regional Air Studies are going to make huge claims about the contribution of aviation to the economy. These claims need to be examined closely. The chances are most of them will not stand up to careful scrutiny.
The Regional Air Studies are based on a flawed study commissioned by the Government. It is so flawed that it undermines all claims the Government may make about the aviation industry contributing to employment and economic regeneration.
To prepare for the forthcoming Aviation White Paper, the Government commissioned a study from the normally reputable Oxford Economic Forecasting (OEF) to look at the contribution of aviation to the economy. The study, The Contribution of the Aviation Industry to the UK Economy, was published in November 1999. It emerged that over 90% of the costs of the study were paid for not by the Government, but by the aviation industry.
The OEF Study found an expanding aviation industry was critical to the future health of the economy. It argued the industry contributes £10.4 billion to the Gross National Product (1.4% of the total), directly employs 180,000 people (0.8% of the total) and supported up to 3 times as many additional indirect jobs (all 1998 figures). It went on to argue that many of the expanding industries, such as the 'knowledge-intensive' industries of the future, are particularly dependent on air travel. It concluded that, if the number of passengers were not allowed to grow at all beyond 1998 levels, £30 billion would be lost to the economy by 2015.
But the study is seriously flawed in a number of ways:
* It ignored, and failed to factor in, the considerable subsidies the industry receives - the word "subsidy" does not appear once in the study. Yet the overall tax subsidy to the aviation industry is put at £7 billion per year.
* It failed to include any work on the environmental and social costs imposed by aviation. Yet the costs amount to more than £10.5 billion per year across the European Union.
* It failed to recognise that if £30 billion a year was not spent on aviation it would be spent on other goods and services. If, unlike air travel, these were unsubsidised there would be an actual increase in national welfare. This is the clear conclusion of independent report published in 2000 and commissioned from consultants Berkeley Hanover by the local authority group, SASIG.
and most serious of all
* It ignored its own findings that they may be no link between aviation expansion and economic performance and went on to base the whole report on the assumption that there was one! The report estimated that, for transport as a whole, every 10% increase in the provision of transport services in the UK between 1979 and 1998 increased overall productivity by 1.3% - about £800 million a year. When the report repeated this exercise for aviation, they could not rule out the possibility there was no link. Ignoring their own findings, they went on to assume a link! From this false assumption, all OEF's predictions flowed about the contribution of aviation to the economy.
The OEF Study was criticised by respected economists and lobby groups. Many called for the study to be withdrawn. Instead, government civil servants commissioned OEF to do the economic studies that accompany each of the regional air studies.
Aviation, the Economy and Regional Regeneration
Will airport expansion assist in regenerating the regions?
* The economic studies, released alongside the regional air studies, suggest that it will. But these studies have been largely discredited - see aviation and the economy briefing.
But the most comprehensive study done anywhere in Europe into the connection between transport provision and economic performance paints a different picture. The government-sponsored SACTRA Report, 1999, astonishingly virtually ignored by civil servants when drawing up the Regional Air Studies, suggests that it is only in particular circumstances that new airport infrastructure will have a significant role in promoting regional regeneration.
The Key Report: The SACTRA Report
The government's Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment (SACTRA) examined the links between transport provision in general and economic activity (SACTRA, 1999). Although the report concentrated on road building, the authors made it clear that their findings were applicable to all forms of transport infrastructure.
The SACTRA Report came to a number of conclusions:
* There was no simple link between the provision of transport infrastructure and regional regeneration;
* Non-transport factors in a region (such as the availability of skilled labour) were usually a more critical factor in regenerating a region than transport infrastructure;
* There would be winners and losers when new transport infrastructure was built - competitive areas may gain improved access to weaker areas, which in turn may suffer job losses.
*In a mature economy which already has a well-developed transport system (such as the UK) any increase in economic growth from improved transport is likely to be modest.
SACTRA is important because it is the only comprehensive study that we have got, because it is one of the most thorough pieces of work on the subject done anywhere in Europe, and because it was signed up to by organisations as diverse as Transport 2000 and the CBI. And they didn't sign up to a fudge, but to a credible, comprehensive report.
Regions need to decide if:
* An expanded airport is really required to serve their business community - remember only 20% of trips are for business purposes;
* An expanded airport would simply mean more local people took their holidays abroad, off-setting any increase in the number of holidaymakers flying in;
* Other less heavily-subsidised industries may bring about regeneration at a much lower cost to the taxpayer than developing an airport.
Why the Regional Air Studies are economically flawed - see Aviation and the Economy Briefing.
Aviation, the Economy and 7 Red Herrings
(answering some of the most frequent claims made about aviation and the economy)
1. The UK will lose investment and jobs unless airports expand
Decisions on investment and jobs are based on many factors. There is no evidence that national or regional airport capacity is the decisive factor.
NE England has no direct flights to Japan but has attracted significant investment and jobs from Japan over the years. The same is true of other regions outside the South East.
Many overseas businessmen land at Heathrow to make a connecting flight outside the UK. The fact that they can get to London more quickly than to their final business destination does not cause them to change their plans and do business in London.
London is a major financial centre for many reasons that have nothing to do with the location or size of London's airports (e.g. the pre-eminence of English as the international business language).
Luxembourg and Switzerland are major international financial centres, but have much less airport capacity than London.
2. Businessmen need to fly as part of their business
Only one air passenger in five travels on business. Business demand is not the cause of the alleged airport under-capacity.
Most international business is done by instant electronic communications: telephone, video-conferencing, e-mail and fax.
The drop in business air travel after the terrorist attack on New York did not paralyse international business.
Some business flying is necessary. Some business flying is more a perk than a necessity, particularly if the journey is by business class to an exotic location.
3. The tourist industry depends on flying
Less international tourism would not close down the UK tourist industry. It would mean more local demand for UK tourism.
British tourists spend much more overseas (£17 billion per year) than overseas tourists spend in the UK (£9 billion per year), a net loss of £8 billion to the UK tourist industry and national economy.
The UK tourist industry and the national economy would benefit if Britons spent more of their money on visiting parts of the UK and less on short haul weekends to Berlin, etc.
4. Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris are overtaking Heathrow
London has six international airports, not one: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City and Southend. It is misleading to make international comparisons only with Heathrow.
In 2000 116 million passengers used the six London airports. Passenger numbers for Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris were 39 million, 49 million and 73 million respectively.
Terminal 5 will enable another 35 million passengers to use Heathrow, keeping the London's capacity well ahead of its so-called "competitors" in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris.
Many Heathrow flights are to Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris. It is difficult to see where they would land if those airports had not expanded.
Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Paris airports have expanded primarily in response to local demand, not in order to "compete" with Heathrow. It would be ludicrous to expect the passengers who use those airports to travel to Heathrow in order to fly somewhere else.
5. Air transport is a fact of economic life
Then let air transport pay its way. Flying has a role to play. But that is no reason to require the taxpayer and the environment to prop up an artificial level of demand that is not sustainable in the long run, economically or environmentally.
If aviation is the essential economic activity that the industry and its supporters claim then it should be able to pay its own way, without support from the taxpayer, and to meet the costs of its environmental and social impacts.
6. Aircraft tickets include air passenger duty (APD)
Air passenger duty accounts for only a fraction of the subsidies enjoyed by air transport. APD is not designed to meet external environmental and social costs.
Last year APD raised £1 billion. The total value of tax exemptions was £8 billion, leaving the Treasury to find the "missing" £7 billion from tax payers.
7. International agreements mean aviation fuel cannot be taxed
The fuel tax exemption may have been justified in the early days of air transport to stimulate demand, but not today. The industry is now well established, but exemptions from fuel and other taxes are creating an unsustainable level of demand that is not in the industry's long-term interest.
The international agreements need to be amended, or taxes must be devised that offset the artificial level of demand resulting from the international agreements (e.g. higher APD and landing charges).
Fuel used for internal domestic flights is outside the international agreements and could be taxed right now, as some other countries already do. The fact that rail and shipping fuel is not taxed misses the point. Two wrongs do not make a right. On public policy grounds, trains should be subsidised to encourage people to use them instead of cars and aircraft for movement within the UK and short hops to mainland Europe.
Why the Regional Air Studies are economically flawed - see Aviation and the Economy Briefing.
Aviation, the Economy and Taxation
The Aviation Industry doesn't pay its fair share of tax
Air Transport Tax Balance 1999 or The Treasury's missing £7 billion
Tax Paid: Air Passenger Duty - £1bn = Total 1bn.
Tax Exemptions: Excise duty on aircraft fuel - 5bn; VAT on aircraft fuel, passenger tickets etc 2.6bn; Excise duty and VAT on consumer goods 0.4bn; = Total 8bn
If aviation paid its full rate of tax:
£7 billion more would come into the Treasury each year.
At present, there is no tax on aviation fuel, no VAT on aircraft fuel, the purchase of new aircraft, aircraft maintenance and passenger tickets, and no duty is paid on consumer goods sold to non-EC citizens. As the table shows, the cash value of these exemptions amounted to £8 billion in 1999. The only tax the industry does pay is Air Passenger Duty. That only raises £1 billion.
2p could have been cut off the basic rate of income tax in 2002.
If the Government is accurate in its forecast that air passenger numbers will increase by 250% over the next twenty years, that will rise to as much as 5p by 2020 when the value of the tax exemptions will have increased from £7 billion to £17.5 billion per year.
The extra £7 billion could be available for extra spending on public services.
The better-off gain the most from these missing taxes:
* People with higher disposable incomes fly more frequently than people with lower disposable incomes. A Mori Poll, commissioned by the industry pressure group Freedom to Fly, published in 2001 showed that 2 out of 5 people had made a trip by plane in the last 12 months, but those most likely to have flown were people earning over £30,000 a year.
* People on lower incomes would gain the most if the missing tax was available to be spent on improving hospitals, schools and public transport.
Flying is a luxury, not a necessity.
Remember 80% of trips are for leisure purposes. Like all luxuries flying should be taxed. Why should pensioners pay tax on fuel, a winter necessity, and most of us pay next-to-no tax when we fly off for a holiday in the sun or a weekend in Paris?
Business travel is least likely to be affected by higher taxes.
Only 20% of air travel is for business. Typically, business travellers already pay high fares. The demand for business travel depends on whether the financial gain from a flight is worth the cost of the ticket. That equation would not be altered by an increase in the price of air tickets due to additional tax on air transport, particularly as the increase would not be significant compared with the existing costs of business travel.
There is one other tax aviation should be paying:
It is the policy of both the EU and the UK Government to charge industries for the noise and pollution and any other 'external' costs they impose on society. It is known as the 'polluter pays principle'. It is estimated that 'external' costs imposed by aviation in the UK amounts to £2 billion a year. This tax can be collected in a number of ways, but it should be levied in addition to general taxation. It could perhaps, as in the case of the motor industry, be collected as part of fuel duty. It is assumed that a proportion of the taxes on motor vehicles - road tax, fuel tax etc - go towards paying for the pollution that they cause. But the last major study carried out found that the total motor vehicle tax paid did not cover their 'external' costs The True Costs of Road Transport (Maddison et al, 1996).
Why the Regional Air Studies are economically flawed - see Aviation and the Economy Briefing.
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