25th January 2005

BAA slur condemned by Takeley Parish Council

Press release issued on behalf of Takeley Parish Council

Takeley Parish Council has today (25 January 2005) written to BAA demanding a full apology and retraction over remarks made to the media by BAA Project Director Alastair McDermid about the nature of the parish council’s legal challenge to the Home Owner Support Scheme (HOSS).

The legal papers lodged with the High Court make it clear that the purpose of the legal challenge is to have the HOSS extended to a far wider catchment area.  BAA has copies of all the legal papers and so Mr McDermid’s remarks were a deliberate and calculated misrepresentation of the position, presumably in an attempt to discredit Takeley Parish Council.

The text of the letter reads as follows:

TEXT OF THE LETTER FROM TAKELEY PARISH COUNCIL

25 January 2005

Mr Alastair McDermid
Director of Stansted Generation 2 Project
BAA Stansted
Enterprise House
Stansted Airport
Essex CM24 1QW

Dear Mr McDermid

BAA STANSTED – HOME OWNERS SUPPORT SCHEME

I am writing to ask for a full apology to Takeley Parish Council and a full retraction in respect of the totally false information that you provided to journalists last week.   I refer, of course, to the remarks you made about the nature and effect of the Parish Council’s legal challenge to BAA’s Home Owner Support Scheme (HOSS).  Your remarks have been widely reported in a number of newspapers as follows:

“The action that they want taken is that the scheme should be quashed and it seems illogical to me that people want it quashed and I can’t understand why they don’t want a scheme that would provide help and support for local people.”

You know full well from the papers that have been submitted to BAA Stansted and to the High Court that our challenge seeks the HOSS to be widened.

It is crystal clear in our submissions to the Court that the purpose of our challenge is to force BAA to extend eligibility for the scheme to a far larger number of homeowners than are currently eligible on the basis of BAA’s woefully inadequate boundary based on a theoretical 66 decibel Leq noise contour.

Paragraph 11 of the Claimants’ (Takeley Parish Council) Response to the Defendants (BAA) Summary Grounds of Defence, clearly states:-

“The claim does not prejudice third parties nor change the number of people subject to generalised blight, nor prejudice those agreements entered into already. Nor does it prevent STAL from purchasing other properties in the future. It will, if successful, have the practical effect of requiring STAL to introduce a wider scheme for compensation. It is fanciful for the Defendants to imply that no compensation scheme is an option, since the Defendant’s proposals would then breach the key requirement of Government policy.”

By deliberately providing misinformation to the media, presumably in an attempt to discredit Takeley Parish Council, you have caused unnecessary anxiety to local residents who currently qualify for the HOSS.  BAA has sunk to new depths when it starts to play the public relations game with the lives of real people.  As a Parish Council we are appalled at such behaviour from a major British plc.

I hope you have sufficient integrity to issue a retraction and apology.  I am sending a copy of this letter to the newspapers who published your disingenuous statement and will ask that they give at least equal prominence to the facts as they did to BAA’s misinformation.

I am also copying this letter to your Managing Director, Terry Morgan, and to the Chief Executive of BAA plc, asking them either to defend your deliberate misrepresentation or to issue an apology and full retraction on behalf of BAA plc.

As a matter of interest, Takeley’s legal challenge is supported by many neighbouring parishes and financial assistance has already been pledged by Hatfield Broad Oak and Broxted Parish Councils.

Yours sincerely

Cllr Trevor Allen
Chairman of Takeley Parish Council

cc      Terry Morgan Esq, Managing Director, Stansted Airport Ltd
Mike Clasper Esq, Chief Executive, BAA plc

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport