Looks like BAA are pulling out all the stops to get their second runway approved at Stansted.

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.  

Eastend Wood - an ancient wood near Stansted

Eastend Wood - an ancient wood near Stansted

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.

About Kaye Brennan

Trying vegan, staying warm. Occasional bursts of words.
This entry was posted in Aviation, Climate Change, Government Affairs, Planning, Woods Under Threat and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Looks like BAA are pulling out all the stops to get their second runway approved at Stansted.

  1. Peter Kurton says:

    Such short term goals. More profit? A few jobs? The consequences of this madness are more far reaching. Sooner or later there will have to be a fundamental shift in our collective thinking. I would rather it was sooner than left until the point when we are all lying on our backs thrashing around gasping for air.

  2. Angela Kurton says:

    P.S. “Looks like BAA are pulling out all the stops to get their second runway approved at Stansted” 😀

  3. Angela Kurton says:

    Audrey Daisy, David Josiah, Paul Longacre – well, well, well, so the truth is out.

    I was more or less sure that I was dealing with individuals who have an interest in creating a stir on the internet. Is your employer paying you to place your postings? Is this somehow part of your job function? Do tell.

    The climate denial industry and the tobacco denial industry function in the same way… employing people to propagate factual inaccuraces (i.e. LIES). […edited by moderator]

    Debate is acceptable. LIES are not acceptable.

    It was clear that I was dealing with people who did not have the capacity for an open debate in the spirit of discovering answers – which is why I chose to ‘bow out’.

    I was subjected to appalling personal insults, especially from the David Josiah character… And my crime? To give two responses pointing out factual inaccuracies in the postings by Josiah and Longacre.


  4. Ed Pomfret says:

    Hi Audrey as I’ve commented on our “Slippery slope” post I think in the interests of openness and honesty it’s worth letting everyone else who’s commenting on this know that you and your colleagues “Dave Josiah” and “Paul Longacre” are posting on here using IP addresses registered to BAA plc. Rather than claiming to be members of the public it might be worth being open about the fact you work for BAA – we’re open about the fact we work for the Woodland Trust so it’s a bit underhand to suggest as you do that “one of your friends saw this blog and suggested I had a look”. It’s funny that “Paul” suggests he stumbled across this blog and “Dave Josiah” suggests he has “no particular passsion for anything BAA” given that both seem to work for the company.
    You may well all have strong personal views on the need to expand the airport and I believe that you should be free to express them here, but it might be worth being open about the motivation.

  5. Audrey Daisy says:

    Hello there

    I agree planting new trees does not replace ancient woodlands – but this whole thing is about compromise to me.

    Robert Waites says he is happy for airport expansion to go the France. That might ease a few NIMBYs here (surely when people talk about their care and concern from trees, that care and concern doesn’t stop at national borders? Should we care about ‘all’ tress?) but its not that simple.

    If new runways go to France, so do the jobs, the business, the investment etc etc. I certainly don’t want my children to wake up in thirty years with our region and our country falling behind the rest of the world through shortsightedness now.

    I was fascinated to read yesterday that cattle farming globally gives of more CO2 emissions that global aviation. If we say no to Stansted expansion, should we not also be demanding local farmers slaughter a proportion of their herds?

  6. Robert Waites says:

    As I see it we cannot in the UK find enough people to do the jobs which currently exist thus who will do the 13,000 new ones created?

    In addition how can we criticise Brazil, Indonesia etc for destroying their forests for economic reasons, when we, a much richer country, cannot preserve the few remaining ancient woodlands we have? Planting new trees cannot replace ancient woodlands.

    We are constantly told that if we don’t have runway expansion in this country it will go to France. Fine! France is a much bigger country in terms of area and in a race to see who can cause the most noise and atmospheric pollution to thier countryside I am happy to conceed this honour to the French.

    One last thought. How is that the Government can have the cheek to ask me to not leave my TV on standby whilst it can go ahead and sanction the creation of enormous additional amounts carbon emissions by airport expansion?

  7. Dave Josiah says:

    Thanks Audrey – I feel the same obviously.

    I live in the Harlow area and saw last week that Angela had a letter in the local paper about the 13,000 new jobs. I am not an agressive person but Angela your letter did rile me.

    You write in the paper that the 13,000 jobs are all ‘low paid’ (which in nonsense as I imagine building a new runway and terminal needs highly qualified well paid individuals)
    Many of those jobs are what people need – to patronise baggage handlers and shop assistants is wrong and shows ignorance of the important role they play.

    I respect your wish not to blog on here anymore but you should be ashamed of your comments in the local Harlow news.

  8. Audrey Daisy says:

    One of my friends saw this blog and suggested I have a look.

    I hate to make Angela feel worse – the response from the others are forthright but are certainly not aggresive.

    I think its a shame that Angela didn’t feel able to hold the debate with Dave and/or Paul. It’s an important one and people like me – who know very little about a runway – do want to know more.

    I feel that if you have an entry on a blog you should follow it through!

    local resident

  9. Angela Kurton says:

    I have replied fairly and accurately to two very aggressive individuals, and that is enough for me. They can have the last word – their words speak for themselves.

  10. Dave Josiah says:

    To be honest Angela you really are being blinkered and every entry you make reinforces this! If you can point out to me where I objected to people publically stating their opinion then I will apologise. My issue was, and continues to be, that those opposing expansion on this blog and anywhere else fail to recognise any of the positives of a second runway whereas those of us that support expansion are big enough to recognise that there are two sides to this debate.

    I don’t want to make this personal Angela but […edited by moderator – personal abuse removed…] simply ‘slapping down’ people like Mr Longacre who I don’t know, but had joined in a debate as a member of the public, shows you are obviously a ‘put up’ for SSE.

    Its a blog encouraging debate and you say that ‘its not an appropiate place for a wider debate on expansion’ – says who? You and the WT are happy to have that debate in putting your owns views forward and even in your latest blog you then go onto mention Hatfield Forest.

    I went to the Holiday Show today at Newmarket Racecourse with my family – mainly because I am obviously interested in a holiday next year. When I was there, BAA were there but no sign of SSE. This again reinforces my view, and that of those I know and work with, that you guys don’t want a debate with anyone that disagrees with you. I listened into some of the BAA staff talking to members of the public and even I was surprised how open they were to both sides of the debate.

    Come on Angela – I will accept that a new runway and airport is not good for the environment and while replacing of trees is encouraging it does not make up for some of the ‘big ones’ that are going. What are your views on the 13,000 new jobs that will come from the development>

    I would imagine that of course BAA want to make a profit – thats what their share holders demand. They would not invest millions of pounds into a project that no one uses which shows the need is there for it!

  11. Angela Kurton says:

    Mr Longacre, I am very surprised to have been called “blinkered” in your commentary.

    You will note that I did not go into any detail on my own reasons for supporting the SSE campaign – and therefore you will not see any kind of blinkered approach. All that you can possibly infer from my contribution is that I am opposed to an additional runway, and you will only know that because I have disclosed that I am a member of Stop Stansted Expansion.

    I simply took issue with Mr Josiah’s objection to the right of the Woodland Trust, or SSE, or any other group or organistion with an interest, to publicly state their position on a matter of absolute importance. I also expressed the view that all the parties concerned will be doing this, and rightly so.

    I see that you are also taking advantage of the internet to speak about your views – and good luck to you. The purpose of discussions is, hopefully, to achieve the best possible outcomes for as many people as possible, and as far into the future as possible. We ARE on the same side in this sense, although our views about how to achieve this are probably substantially different.

    The Woodland Trust feel that profit is being put before the very many quality of life concerns, and they are entitled to say so (I refer to the phrase “lining the pockets of the few” that Mr Josiah commented on).

    It is accurate to say that profit is at the heart of the expansion plans: all businesses aim to grow in order to consolidate their success, and take out loans in order to make improvements to their operations. Debts incur interest, and the need to pay off interest means that growth must be delivered. Of course BAA are keen on expansion for this reason. This is normal business practice, and nobody would expect anything less of an organisation such as BAA. It is not a moral judgement. But it IS the underlying reason for the expansion, together with government policy.

    I feel this is not an appropriate place to argue about the wider expansion issues (economics, jobs, climate change, noise, pollution, loss of heritage and many more).

    However, I have two points to contend that are relevant to the Woodland Trust blog:

    1. Two saplings for every ancient tree lost is NOT adequate mitigation, and you should look at the WT website to understand why.

    2. It is NOT true that Hatfield Forest will not be overflown: it is directly under the south-westerly arrivals and departures path. It will be SEVERELY overflown – it cannot be avoided. You should follow up with the National Trust to understand the damage that is likely to be caused to the forest.


    Angela (also a resident of a council estate in one of the towns you mentioned)

  12. Paul Longacre says:

    I’ve sort of stumbled across this blog thread whilst looking at the Woodland Trust website. Being a regular user of Stansted and living close to the airport I have to say I’m sitting here laughing (inwardly) at the very blinkered views of Angela and having some sympathy with Dave’s views. Personally, I think any project that offers the chance of 13,000 new local jobs to – what are – today’s young children is worthy of being a success. Areas local to the airport (Harlow and Bishop’s Stortford) are in need of these jobs NOW … so heaven knows that the demand for skilled employment will be in the years to come. And as for Woodland, why is it that when a company like BAA works hard to minise the impact of such a development, all they get is grief. Why is nobody mentioning the fact that BAA have committed to plant two trees for every ancient woodland tree that is lost and that in some cases existing trees will be relocated? Why is nobody remembering that it was nasty old BAA who refined the Govenment’s White Paper plans re the location of the new runway so that Eastend Wood would remain – not get ripped out? Also can it be the same heartless, money-grabbing company that has agreed to configure its use of the new runway so that Hatfield Forest would not be overflow at all by flights from/to the new runway? Credit where credit is due, surely?

  13. Dave Josiah says:

    Thanks for your response Angela.

    I do appreciate that there is a storm of passion on all sides on this important issue for our community. You are right, I don’t have any experience of campaigning but blogs are not just for people like you; they are for others like me. I feel like we need more people like me in this debate and less spin doctors.

    My point about subjectivity was that the original story that said (quote) ‘…benefits of expansion .. will only lead to lining the pockets of a few….’ – thats just not factually true. 13,000 new jobs is not ‘lining the pockets of the few’. By all means the WT should point out its opposition but lets not pretend there are not many good things to come out of the plans – after all as someone who is warming to expansion, I will always recognise that there is a flip side. It does the WT and SSE no credit to not recognise at all any positive things to do with a second runway.

    I do apologise if I upset you on the Teddy Bears Picnic – you are right I haven’t been. I do though have friends that have been and they told me how uncomfortable they were when their children were asked to carry a placard with an SSE logo on it for a photo.

  14. Angela Kurton says:

    A message for Mr Josiah: the Stansted issue is causing an absolute storm of passion among all kinds of people and groups, and it is expected that views are expressed clearly and with vigour. You may not be aware, but all this is absolutely normal in a campaign situation.

    I notice that your comments, too, are subjective. As you say, “pot, kettle, black”. But it’s a free country and you are entitled to speak.

    On the subject of events such as the Teddy Bears’ Picnic – do you think children are lured in and then brainwashed into signing petititions while they are playing their little games and eating cakes, with their toys in tow? These are family events for people who enjoy the great outdoors, and who want to combine their social lives with a small donation for a cause they support.

    It is very difficult for you to judge what kind of events these are if you do not attend them yourself. Therefore, when exercising your freedom of speech, it is usually best to comment when you are properly informed.

    With best wishes from a member of both the WT and SSE.

  15. Dave Josiah says:

    That has to be one of the most subjective blogs I have ever read from the Woodland Trust guys. Of course, as a regular reader of the WT campaigns blogs I understand you have to be seen to be strong in your opposition to airport issues – but some of your comments are just silly and bordering on the hypocritical.

    I have no particular passion for anything BAA or Stansted but of course they are encouraging their staff to write in – what company wouldn’t and as long as they are not forcing them what is the WTs problem? I am sure that Stop Stansted Expansion is asking people to sign up and members themselves of SSE I imagine are writing in. Kettle. Pot and Black come to mind.

    Benefits of expansion only for the ‘short term’ and ‘for the few’ is what you say – I have read in local newspaper that expansion will being 13,000 new jobs and people like the CBI and Chamber of Commerce support the plans. By all means WT push your case but don’t deride other peoples – it just makes you look childish.

    If you are in touch with your friends at SSE, you should mention how uncomfortable so many local people are with their activities like the ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ that was covered on the radio a while ago – hardly think bringing children into the political arena is worthy. It puts peoples backs up and pushes them away from your case.

Sorry, comments are closed as we have moved to a new site: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blogs/woodland-trust/

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