Stansted's the right place for airport

STANSTED airport has taken another step towards major expansion after the government approved proposals to build a second runway this week.It's provoked howls of protest from people who live near the airport - but I can see the logic of expanding there and of all the options it does seem to make the most sense.

STANSTED airport has taken another step towards major expansion after the government approved proposals to build a second runway this week.

It's provoked howls of protest from people who live near the airport - but I can see the logic of expanding there and of all the options it does seem to make the most sense.

And it would be by far the best option for businesses and airline flyers from East Anglia as a whole.

I know it would cause a great deal more noise for people living near the airport - but there is already an airport there.

Isn't it better to expand an existing airport so you get planes flying every minute rather than every two minutes than it would be to build a new airport on completely virgin territory like the Thames estuary?

As a non-flyer myself, I cannot understand the attraction of so many budget airlines.

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Why anyone wants to fly from the London area to the Paris area when there is a centre-to-centre fast train route, I cannot imagine.

But apparently the demand is there and experts say the number of people wanting to fly in this country will almost treble in the next 30 years.

So the alternatives are: build on virgin ground and destroy internationally-important wildlife areas or expand an existing airport.

I know it's not nice to have aircraft flying from the end of your garden, but there's been an airport at Stansted for the best part of 50 years.

Most people who live in the area now knew the airport was there when they moved in - and there's been talk of expanding it for at least 35 years - so it isn't a decision that has crept up on them.

If they didn't want to hear the sound of aircraft, why do they live next to an airport in the first place?

Expanding Stansted will be good for this area. And hopefully we will see the resumption of transatlantic flights from it.

That would make East Anglia much more attractive for American companies as an area for expansion.

If their executives can be away from the airport and into the office in little more than an hour, it's a huge selling point.

Is it a coincidence that Reading - just down the road from Heathrow - is bursting with high-tech jobs brought by the likes of Microsoft?

As I said, I can't see myself ever using Stansted - but if we've got to see an expansion in airport capacity in the south east of England, that's the place for it.

I UPSET Ipswich's Liberal Democrats with my attack last week on their decision to waste the council's time on a debate on council tax.

But now I understand that they're turning their guns on something much closer to home - and one that the borough has a direct impact on.

They're going to ask for a debate on making the town safer.

That's exactly what council debates should be about - identifying local issues and taking decisions which can affect them.

If they keep up working like this, the Liberals may restore their reputation in the council chamber.

IT WAS good news that Saddam Hussein was captured at the weekend - but I have concerns about what should happen to him now.

I've always been opposed to the death penalty - and I have to maintain that position even for a monster like him.

If anyone deserves the death penalty, it's probably him. He never showed mercy to his enemies and he's probably accepted the death penalty in his own mind.

But although he's been accused of ordering the deaths of millions of people I still cannot condone the death sentence for him.

It is never right to take another life, whatever the crime.

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