500 in SSE protest

PUBLISHED: 08:02 19 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:09 28 May 2010

SIR ALAN HASELHURST

SIR ALAN HASELHURST

MORE than 500 people joined the region s MPs, MEPs, members of the House of Lords and district and county council leaders for the first meeting of the new year organised by the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaign group held to mobilise opposition to BA

MORE than 500 people joined the region's MPs, MEPs, members of the House of Lords and district and county council leaders for the first meeting of the new year organised by the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) campaign group held to mobilise opposition to BAA's plans for a second runway.

The Rhodes Arts Complex in Bishop's Stortford last Thursday was packed and 200 people were unable to get in.

MP Mark Prisk, who chaired the meeting, made clear from the outset that by working together, the community could beat the threat of a second runway. The fact that so many people were at the meeting, he said, showed the commitment and resolve among the public and their elected representatives to work tirelessly to overturn BAA's plans.

Saffron Walden MP Sir Alan Haselhurst said: "By asking us to decide where we want a second runway, BAA is effectively asking us to choose our poison. But we don't want any of the choices on offer, we don't want any second runway at all. Are you listening BAA? That is the answer to your consultation.

"We must not get into the mindset of thinking that expansion beyond the present capacity would be acceptable or that we would ever gain any concessions from BAA whose consultation does nothing to meet our concerns. There isn't even any recognition in the consultation of the problems arising from the second runway plans, such as more noise in the skies and more congestion on the ground."

SSE chairman Peter Sanders described the second runway consultation as wretchedly flawed. He said: "While the consultation contains lots of glossy pictures of airport buildings, aeroplanes and some beautiful landscape, it contains very little information on the most important issues. This makes it impossible for local people wishing to participate in the consultation to give an informed response."

Speaking from the audience, Euro MP Geoffrey van Orden told the meeting that he was pressing for the European Commission to use its powers to ensure a robust single market backed by good competition policy, something which would undermine BAA's monopoly position in the UK and, more especially, in the South East where 92 percent of the market was controlled by the airport developer.

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