A chat with our friends at the Stop Stansted’s Expansion campaign office yesterday revealed that staff at the airport are being ‘encouraged’ to sign a petition in favour of plans to build another runway at Stansted airport – by their boss, BAA. Even suppliers are on the hit list of people BAA are targeting with a message that basically amounts to “sign this if you want more jobs at Stansted”.This news comes days after BAA’s Head of Public Affairs wrote to the local press to garner more local support, a move derided by local residents.
The plea highlights ‘benefits’ of an expansion that, ultimately, only lead to lining the pockets of a few and are mainly short term… but with devastating, long-term consequences.Five ancient woodlands will be completely lost, and over 20 other forests will be permanently scarred by a new, unwarranted runway.
The Woodland Trust cares passionately about this most extraordinary asset. Trees are a vital part of our natural and cultural landscape, host to a unique array of wildlfe and guardians of the clean air we all depend on. And the list of further reasons to justify a refusal just goes on and on – and go far wider than just the immediate area.By making it clear that there is a fight on to impress the Inspectorate, BAA have thrown the white glove to objectors. This makes it all the more important that you object to BAA’s Stansted planning application.
The Woodland Trust’s Campaigns and Woods Under Threat teams revisited Eastend Wood recently to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about. Eastend Wood is one of 20 ancient woodlands that will be directly affected by the increased pollution that will be caused by Stansted’s plans. Walking through this peaceful woodland, listening out for the lesser-spotted woodpecker which famously nests there was lovely.
The first screaming boom overhead of an aeroplane coming into land was a shock to us all – and we quickly realised that this tranquility was torn apart around every 2 minutes. As we stopped to wait for yet another jet to roar over us, a roe deer – probably on sentry duty (no doubt on a reccee to check out these newest visitors) – skipped right up to us and then bounded away, with a grace I normally only see (being a City dweller) from Springboks on safari programmes.
Later on across the other side of Stansted, as we took a short break just on the edge of the airport fences, I followed a butterfly and discovered a small clearing. It was nice to relax for a few minutes and enjoy nature so close. The sudden realisation that the entire area I was standing in would be destroyed hit me hard.
Everything affected by these plans – villages, habitats, woodlands, the very air – is powerless to save itself. Check it out yourself on this year’s Runway Ramble. BAA’s obvious attempt to get positive comments submitted before 26th September makes it all the more important that your objections are there too.