Air campaigners vow to carry on

CAMPAIGNERS today pledged to carry on fighting moves to expand Stansted airport - and said there would be “no let up” in 2008.The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group said the past 12 months had been a successful year and it believed it had put its arguments against increasing the number of flights and passengers from the airport very effectively.

CAMPAIGNERS today pledged to carry on fighting moves to expand Stansted airport - and said there would be “no let up” in 2008.

The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group said the past 12 months had been a successful year and it believed it had put its arguments against increasing the number of flights and passengers from the airport very effectively.

SSE fought against airport owners BAA at the public inquiry to decide whether it could break its current limit of 25 million passengers per year. The result of the inquiry is still awaited.

Campaign director Carol Barbone said: “SSE remains as clear, consistent and committed today as on the day of its inception in 2002.

“Our objective is to contain the development of Stansted Airport within tight limits that are truly sustainable.

“Our key arguments are that unsustainable expansion would create unacceptable environmental consequences - locally and globally - and that far from there being economic benefits, further expansion of Stansted would have detrimental economic effects, locally, regionally and nationally.

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“There will be no let-up in our campaign in 2008.

“Indeed there will be no let-up until such time as this community can go back to living life in peace in the certain knowledge that Stansted will not become another Heathrow.”

The group is waiting for BAA to submit its plans for a second runway at Stansted and gearing up for its next fight.

However, the group fears BAA's plans will be speculative and will not give a firm commitment to build another runway - leaving it as an option for the future.

Although Stansted saw passengers numbers drop in late autumn by 6.3 per cent, and only a one per cent increase in numbers over the whole of last year, BAA is still confident about the future.

A company spokesman said: “We are exactly where we expected to be at this time and our projections for 35 million passengers a year by 2015 and plans for a second runway remain unaffected.”

The company is also making some changes which might involve loss of jobs, but also creation of new ones, as part of a review of its whole business - not just at Stansted. This was to make the business leaner and more efficient and support investment to improve passenger services.

Do you think Stansted should be allowed to expand? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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