Hopes all parties will ditch airport traffic growth
FELIXSTOWE: With more than 600 passenger jets criss-crossing the Felixstowe peninsula every day, residents will be hoping numbers will not soar in future after the election of Ed Miliband as Labour leader.
Mr Miliband has strong environmental credentials and has stated opposition to new runways at Heathrow and Stansted.
BAA has currently withdrawn its application for a second runway at Stansted – but campaigners know the fear will not go away until it is the policy of all parties not to pursue air traffic expansion.
The Evening Star’s Air Fair campaign is highlighting the huge change in Suffolk’s peace and tranquility in recent years since flightpaths were switched from north-Essex to cross south and east Suffolk instead.
This has sent hundreds more planes over the area – particularly the Shotley and Felixstowe peninsulas – and has been likened to the Clapham junction of the skies.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), which is actively pressing the coalition government for a moratorium on a second runway at Stansted and, in parallel, seeking to persuade Labour politicians to abandon their previous policy of supporting airport expansion, welcomed the election of Mr Miliband.
Campaign director Carol Barbone said his appointment was a “significant step forward” towards changing the Labour party’s airports policy.
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Of all the leadership candidates the younger Miliband made the clearest statements of opposition to new runways in the south east – in contrast to his brother David, who remained wedded to the old expansionist position.
“Aviation industry representatives are making clear at every turn that they’ll bide their time in the hope that a shift in the political winds will make it possible for expansion plans to be revived,” said Ms Barbone.
Mr Miliband’s leadership created the real prospect of achieving cross-party consensus on an airports policy which would provide long term peace of mind to communities overflown by jets from Stansted Airport.
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