| Press Release - 24 June 2010
HALLINGBURY HIKE HIGHLIGHTS AIRPORT BLIGHT AROUND STANSTED
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is staging the Hallingbury Hike, a special four mile circular walk, on Sunday 26 September to highlight the blight which lingers over the beautiful north west Essex countryside in the wake of the recently withdrawn plans to construct a second runway at Stansted.
Hikers will set off from 2pm after a commemorative photo at the village hall in Great Hallingbury, just to the south of the airport. There is no charge for taking part. Refreshments will be available from 1pm to 5pm for departing and returning ramblers and route maps will be provided.
While the area around Stansted Airport is not spectacular in the way of the Lake District or the Devon coast, it nevertheless has its own quiet, distinctive and outstanding beauty. In the words of Sir John Betjeman, writing in October 1967: "It is a quiet, prosperous, agricultural area of old stone and flint churches, pargetted cottages with red tiled roofs, spreading farms and gabled manor houses, little hills, elms, oaks, willowy streams and twisty lanes leading to towns of such renowned beauty as Thaxted and Saffron Walden. The very fact that this country is so gentle, unobvious and typical of the best of England makes it all the more important that, being so near to London, it is preserved from noise and 'development'."
However, while plans for a second runway at Stansted have been scrapped for the time being, airport operator BAA is refusing to give a guarantee that it will not revisit its plans for major expansion over coming decades. This is exacerbating the blight which has hung over the area since plans to expand Stansted were mooted for the fourth time by the Government in 2002.
A further concern is the stated desire of BAA to use the existing facilities at the airport more intensively - something which would have far reaching effects for those living under flight paths not only in Essex but extending into Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk.
Said Carol Barbone, SSE's Campaign Director: "The second runway threat may have receded for the moment, but the spectre of expansion will continue to hang over the community until we have a long term guarantee that plans to make Stansted Airport bigger than Heathrow today will never again be revisited."
More information on the Hallingbury Hike is available from Coming Events or by calling 01279 870558. Great Hallingbury is located just off the M11 (junction 8) and the village hall is in Church Road, CM22 7TZ.
A selection of photos available on request from Carol Barbone
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091 & firstname.lastname@example.org