12th September 2002

Write today and send Darling a message he can’t ignore

With Parliament due to return after the summer recess in one month’s time, the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign has produced a strongly worded letter for opponents of the Government’s plans to turn Stansted Airport into two Heathrows. The group hopes that thousands of letters will be sent, via constituency MPs, to Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling.

“Those living in this area know the strength of opposition to development at Stansted” said Jo Broderick, head of the committee’s lobbying working group. “But the important thing is that Alistair Darling has overwhelming evidence of it too. So many people have asked what they can do to support the campaign individually, and now is their chance. Stop Stansted Expansion needs a deluge of letters to the Secretary of State, giving him the clear message that we are not prepared to put up with another Heathrow – let alone two Heathrows – on our doorstep!”

“The best way to ensure that the Secretary of State can’t ignore the views of those people opposed to Stansted is to send the letter to your local MP. That way, MPs receive a reply from Alistair Darling and at the same time have the hard evidence they need of the level of opposition to the Government’s proposals. Thousands of letters will send the clearest possible signal that we are not prepared to sit silently by whilst our lives are blighted by unnecessary airport expansion.”

The letter (see below) is designed to be an easy way for people to express their opposition, but Stop Stansted Expansion is encouraging those who wish to personalise their opinions to do so. The SSE letter just needs to be copied, with an address at the top, and sent to the constituency MP. Alternatively, it can be downloaded from the Internet site at www.stopstanstedexpansion.com. Those who wish to write personalised letters will also shortly find helpful facts, figures and questions for the Minister.

“I was appalled to hear BAA claiming that the majority of those around Stansted supported development, when a poll of over 11,000 people in November showed 80% of residents were opposed to it. Stop Stansted Expansion urges everyone to add their voice to the campaign and send BAA and Mr Darling a message they can’t ignore!” said Mrs Broderick.

Example letter:

Name of your MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Dear

AIRPORT DEVELOPMENT IN THE UK

I am writing to express my deep concern at proposals recently put forward for the development of airport capacity in the southeast, and in particular at Stansted, and to ask you to take this up on my behalf with the Secretary of State for Transport.

The Government’s consultation paper appears to be based on the principle that airport capacity should be expanded to meet unconstrained demand, regardless of the environmental, social and health consequences.

The proposed expansion of Stansted fails to address the significance of several key issues. According to economic experts 65-66 million passengers will be travelling into the airport by car by 2030 (assuming the four runways scenario), with some 88-89,000 employees travelling in daily by car. The proposed road infrastructure simply will not cope with this number of car journeys. The rail link is already subject to regular delays and crowding. The consultation document only alludes to additional lines being necessary between the airport and Liverpool Street. Can the Government confirm how much money it plans to commit to making the road and rail infrastructure improvements necessary for a four runway airport at Stansted and how much private funding it will be seeking?

This area has already suffered the heavy social and environmental consequences of an expanding airport. Noise and air pollution from aircraft and cars are increasing and the safety of local residents has been severely compromised. The proposals seem a direct contradiction to the Secretary of State’s comment that we should “not be pouring more concrete over England’s green and pleasant land”: it will destroy hundreds of people’s homes, including three ancient monuments and 64 listed buildings; and it will severely impact on the quality of life of thousands of people living in the area. Such a development would be entirely at odds with previous Government commitments to sustainable development.

Is not now the time for the Government to take a long term view on the future development of air transport, including making it meet its environmental costs. The government should be taking a balanced, environmentally responsible attitude towards development, instead of encouraging unrestrained growth in the most polluting form of transport.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely…..

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport