Heathrow camp may hit Stansted

CAMPAIGNERS who took part in last week s protest against Heathrow s expansion could get involved in future action against Stansted s proposed second runway. National action group Plane Stupid said at the Camp for Climate Action, the week-long protest that

CAMPAIGNERS who took part in last week's protest against Heathrow's expansion could get involved in future action against Stansted's proposed second runway.

National action group Plane Stupid said at the Camp for Climate Action, the week-long protest that ended on Tuesday, that it is considering intervention at Stansted Airport.

Members of Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) including leading campaigner Mike Fairchild attended the camp to promote SSE's work.

He said: "I was there on Friday afternoon with a contingent of SSE supporters running a workshop on the theme, 'Think Global, Act Local'.

"We used the camp as another opportunity to send a powerful message to BAA and Gordon Brown that airport expansion is not justified economically or environmentally.

"Organisations opposed to expansion of Heathrow have been very supportive of our campaign at Stansted, so we were there to support their campaign in return."

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Mr Fairchild also said although there were no immediate plans to stage the kind of direct action seen at Heathrow, attending the protest had been a valuable experience.

He said: "While there are no plans to stage a camp at Stansted that I or SSE are aware of, I have to say that taking part in one was an interesting experience, not least listening to one resident whose experience of living in a one-time village near Heathrow sounded horribly familiar and carried a powerful message for communities affected by Stansted.

"Running a workshop and engaging in serious debate with the campaigners gave us a different impression of their beliefs and motives to the one provided by press articles and TV pictures of scuffles afterwards."

The Camp for Climate Action is an annual grassroots campaign, with input from large environmental awareness groups such as Plane Stupid and Greenpeace.

Action taken by thousands of protesters this year included blocking access to private airfields and the Department of Transport and camping outside the headquarters of BAA.

A Greenpeace spokesman said although the protest was primarily aimed at Heathrow, it was highly relevant to Stansted Airport.

He said: "Scientists have warned us that if the Government goes ahead with plans to expand 20 of the UK's airports including Stansted, it will be almost impossible to make big enough savings in CO2 to keep the climate safe."

The spokesman would not reveal whether Greenpeace would be getting more closely involved in the work of SSE in the future, but he said the group was against the expansion of all the UK's airports.

Mr Fairchild said that SSE would continue to campaign using legitimate means, such as next month's Runway Ramble.

He said: "We have been very successful without resorting to illegal action.

"The fact that some people feel it necessary to go further demonstrates how passionately they feel about the issue of climate change.