STANSTED AIRPORT: Eight years of fighting comes to an end
BAA THIS week pulled its application for a second runway at Stansted Airport – ending an epic eight-year battle of concrete versus countryside.
The moves follows a clear indication from the new coalition Government that it will not back the plans, known as G2. The airport operator, who have also dropped plans to expand Heathrow, will also withdraw the provision for assisted relocation within the home owner support scheme.
Stansted Airport’s managing director, David Johnston, said: “We will continue to work hard to bring new business here and to work with our neighbours, and the wider community, to provide jobs and strong business and travel opportunities in the months and years ahead.
“We continue to believe that new airport capacity is needed in the South East of England, to strengthen the UK’s international trading links.”
However, campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion – while celebrating the news in style at The Three Horseshoes in Molehill Green on Tuesday – insisted the fight is still on.
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Campaign director, Carol Barbone, who heard the news whilst in a briefing organising a future SSE event, said: “We now shift our focus to the future and the new government white paper on aviation out next year – we want to make certain that there will be no second runway at Stansted ever.
“When I saw the news I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or both it was completely exhilarating, I was shaking.
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“It is not every day that a local community is victorious over powerful big business interests – and they don’t come much bigger and more powerful than BAA. I would therefore like to pay tribute to all those who have fought so hard for so long to achieve this famous victory.”
SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “This has ended eight years of blight and uncertainty. The community rallied but the war is not over yet. Let us rejoice and celebrate and end the threat of a second runway for ever.”
Mr Sanders paid particular tribute to Norman Mead, the group’s first chairman who died in November 2008.
“He shined through the first difficult years,” said Mr Sanders. “He was a kind of Moses and led us to the promise land. It is a shame he wasn’t here to see it.”
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY:
MP, Sir Alan Haselhurst: “It is extremely satisfying following the months of campaigning. Businesses in the area will not be adversely affected because BAA can still almost double the use of the existing runway. “I wish I could have been with the SSE group when they celebrated on Tuesday, but because of the state opening of parliament I could not. I was there in spirit and had a drink of champagne to toast their amazing efforts.”
Leader of UDC, Jim Ketteridge: “This draws to a close the fight against both the principle of and the reality of the planning application. A referendum by Uttlesford District Council in 2003 revealed that 89 per cent of residents were opposed to a second runway, and it is satisfying that those wishes have now been met.”
Great Dunmow mayor, Wendy Barron
“At long last the blight of the threatened second runway at Stansted has been removed. The people of Dunmow and the surrounding villages are surely celebrating and can now carry on living a life without the continued threat which hung over us all. Personally I too think that many more noisy flights over my garden would not have been welcome.”
Chairman, Dunmow Chamber of Trade, Mike Perry
“I think, for the people of Dunmow and the surrounding area, life will be a little quieter without the second runway. For the pilots, they will be more frustrated as they say it is like sitting on the M25 in the a morning traffic jam!
“But as for the small businesses in the area, not many get a look-in on the construction of this sort of project. I have to say from surveys carried out a lot of travellers come from outside the area, as do a lot of the workers, and do not necessarily put money into the local economy.
“Uttlesford does not benefit from the airport and as far as jobs being created, there would only be an influx of people coming into the area to fill the jobs and they may not go to local people.”
Deputy leader of Uttlesford District Council, Jackie Cheetham
“This is excellent news and is vindication of everything this council has been campaigning for with its community since the proposal was first announced.
“It will be a massive weight lifted from the shoulders of residents who have lived with the threat of airport expansion on their doorstep for years.”
SSE Campaign Director, Carol Barbone
This is a day to rejoice. It is not every day that a local community is victorious over powerful big business interests – and they don’t come much bigger and more powerful than BAA. I would therefore like to pay tribute to all those who have fought so hard for so long to achieve this famous victory.
“I was in a briefing organising a future SSE event with a Stansted resident when someone came in and told me that I ‘needed to see this’. When I saw the news I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or both it was completely exhilarating, I was shaking.
“We now shift our focus to the future and the new government white paper on aviation out next year – we want to make certain that there will be no second runway at Stansted ever.
“This should take about 12 to 18 months, after that who knows, I am not job hunting yet but then I only said I would do this one for three days!”
John Wech 80-year-old Molehill Green resident, lives within the proposed site for 38 years
“We now have our freedom. We can spend money on our house safe in the knowledge that we can remain there. The blight is over and we can look forward to putting our communities back together. I said I would never sell to BAA and why should I? I was delighted to receive my letter yesterday stating that the threat of compulsory purchase has now gone. The airport is already big enough, and as people move back in the whole place will look a lot tidier.”
Stansted UDC councillor and campaigner Alan Dean, lived there since the 1970s
“I am overjoyed, BAA have finally accepted the reality that a second runway is not an option. Stansted will not become another west end of London. I am not anti-airport as it drives growth in the area, but we need to do is focus on green jobs in Uttlesford.”
Three Horseshoes landlord Darren Poulton, took over in Feb 2010, lives in Elsenham and it was his local for over 10 years
“It is good news for people that live in the area, but it complicates things a little with the pub. I lease it off BAA at the moment, with the runway now not going ahead I am hoping they might want to sell it back – if the price is right I would love to buy it, we could then give it a proper refurbishment.”