Air campaigners will protest at inquiry

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to expand Stansted will protest outside the public inquiry as proceedings get under way into proposals to allow ten million more passengers a year to use the airport.

By Richard Cornwell

CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to expand Stansted will protest outside the public inquiry as proceedings get under way into proposals to allow ten million more passengers a year to use the airport.

The aim is to have a show of unity to highlight the damaging effects increased air travel is having on communities.

Carol Barbone, director of Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) said the group would be joined by members of the community from across the region who would be affected by the Stansted plans, as well as representatives of other airport communities facing expansion threats, including Luton, Gatwick and Heathrow.


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Representatives of the National Trust, Woodland Trust, Essex Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Earth, CPRE and Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings - all strongly opposed to the expansion plans for Stansted - will also be present.

Stansted owners BAA want to increase flights on its current runway from 241,000 to a maximum 264,000 a year and have the current cap of 25 million passengers a year lifted.

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It says this will mean around 35m passengers using the airport by 2015.

The growth of Stansted though will affect a wide area. It is already affecting Suffolk - and its proposed massive increase in flights in the years ahead will mean hundreds more flights a week going over parts of the county.

The Evening Star's Air Fair campaign has been highlighting the large growth in air traffic over the county - particularly the Ipswich and Felixstowe area - following changes to increase the capacity of the airspace.

The inquiry starts at Endeavour House at the airport on May 30.

Campaigners, who have raised £70,000 for specialist representation, say they are ready for the fight. SSE has submitted a 600-page report and expects to take ten days to give its evidence.

SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “Our written submission is a fantastic achievement by our team of SSE volunteers, all experts in their respective fields, and external consultants where appropriate.

“It represents the most powerful set of arguments we have ever mustered against the airport's expansion. It is no exaggeration to say we go into this inquiry armed to the teeth.”

Is the noise from aircraft over Suffolk getting worse? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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