Political split for MPs

SUFFOLK'S MPs are today split along party lines on the future of Stansted Airport.Whole-hearted support for The Evening Star's No More Stansted campaign came from Tories Tim Yeo and John Gummer.

SUFFOLK'S MPs are today split along party lines on the future of Stansted Airport.

Whole-hearted support for The Evening Star's No More Stansted campaign came from Tories Tim Yeo and John Gummer.

Their party has adopted a national policy of opposing any further development of the airport on environmental grounds.

Former Environment Secretary Mr Gummer, whose Suffolk Coastal constituency includes the Felixstowe peninsula which is blighted by jet noise, said action must be taken to reduce the number of short-haul flights.

“The problem with Stansted is the high number of short-haul flights which are the most damaging so far as the atmosphere is concerned.

“It is ludicrous to have so many flights on short-distance routes which would be better served by rail services.

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“There has to be a switch of resources from short-distance flights to rail and other more environmentally-friendly modes of transport,” he said.

Mr Gummer said he would continue to lobby Suffolk Coastal council and Suffolk county council to ensure they took a robust line over the proposed expansion of Stansted.

Tim Yeo, whose South Suffolk constituency includes the Dedham Vale where increasing flights have been very controversial backed the Star campaign “110 per cent.”

He said: “I think it is very wrong to proceed with this expansion with all the damage that will cause to the environment.

“And what the BAA have not addressed is the issue that demand for cheap flights may well fall once the government introduces new carbon-related taxes which are bound to come in over the next few years.

“We don't want to be stuck with a White Elephant at Stansted.”

However Ipswich Labour MP Chris Mole was not opposed to the expansion at Stansted and felt that aviation made an easy target for environmental protesters.

He said: “I have not had noise nuisance raised as an issue among my constituents although I have hear from those with an interest in the environment about the danger to the atmosphere.

“I think we have to keep the situation in perspective - emissions from aviation are just a small proportion of the overall CO2 increase globally.”

Mr Mole said many of his constituents enjoyed the opportunities for cheap travel that Stansted offered and he felt there were other ways of addressing environmental concerns than limiting travel.

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