6th November 2018
Campaigners hit out at Stansted’s slick video campaign as ‘Desperate eleventh hour attempt by spin doctors’
Jessica Hill – East Anglian Daily Times
A campaign group fighting Stansted Airport’s plans to be allowed to boost their passenger numbers have criticised the airport’s latest publicity campaign as “a complete distortion of the facts”.
A week before the crunch planning meeting when Uttlesford District Council (UDC) will decide whether Stansted should be allowed to increase its capacity from 35 million to 43 million passengers a year, the campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has lashed out at Stansted’s video campaign, in which it claims to have the support of more than 200 companies, as “a desperate eleventh hour attempt by the airport’s spin doctors to influence members of UDC Planning Committee.”
A statement by the group claims that Stansted’s plans would result in an increase in emissions of carbon dioxide – the main contributor to global warming – by an average of over a million tonnes a year.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders claims the application, if approved, would have “very serious environmental consequences for this generation and future generations. It would inflict yet more noise misery upon local residents and it would be a recipe for gridlock at Junction 8 of the M11, as well as on many of our key local roads,” he said. “We simply do not have the infrastructure to support an airport the size of Gatwick.”
Stansted Airport claims that Uttlesford District Council has received hundreds of submissions of support for the plans, including those from locally-based corporate backers such as Adnams, CBI East of England, Greater Anglia, Haven Gateway Partnership, New Anglia Enterprise, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, University of Essex and Visit East Anglia. It also claims the support of its own employees.
But SSE accuses Stansted of “repeatedly badgering all airport employees to trigger automatic computer-generated ‘I support expansion’ emails. “Only some 900 out of 12,000 airport employees did so, and only 16 members of the general public sent individual letters or emails to UDC supporting the expansion proposals,” claimed SSE in their statement.
UDC says it has received 934 individually-written letters and emails opposing the expansion proposals, including objections from 47 Parish Councils. The group claims that “not a single Parish Council has registered its support for the expansion proposals.”
“This is a choice between the facts and spin; between the airport PR machine and the interests of our precious local environment and the quality of life for local residents, their children and grandchildren,” added Mr Sanders.
“We don’t have the funds to invest in glossy publications, slick videos and celebrity endorsements. We do however have the confidence that our elected representatives will not be swayed by the spin. We are confident that UDC Planning Committee will focus on the hard evidence and its duty to the community and, accordingly, will not permit these highly damaging airport expansion proposals.”