Airport protesters' plea to minister
By Sharon AsplinCAMPAIGNERS are hoping a Government minister could hold the key to keeping Stansted as an “airport in the countryside”.They are urging residents to write to Margaret Beckett, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, telling of their fears and concerns about the proposal to expand the Essex airport.
CAMPAIGNERS are hoping a Government minister could hold the key to keeping Stansted as an "airport in the countryside".
They are urging residents to write to Margaret Beckett, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Secretary, telling of their fears and concerns about the proposal to expand the Essex airport.
The Stop Stansted Expansion is behind the new letter-writing initiative targeting Mrs Beckett and it hopes to capitalise on the Government's delay in restarting the consultation into expanding Stansted Airport – now due later this month.
Protesters also want to make sure that pressure is brought to bear on Alistair Darling, the Transport Secretary, by his Cabinet colleague.
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To this end, 50,000 leaflets are being dropped through letterboxes by hundreds of campaign volunteers throughout Uttlesford district and the surrounding area, urging people to protest in writing against possible plans for up to three new runways at Stansted Airport.
The Stop Stansted Campaign claimed Mr Darling's proposal to make Stansted the biggest airport in the world would devastate the local environment and create a concrete jungle for miles around on an unimaginable scale.
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Its chairman Norman Mead said: "We want to encourage Mrs Beckett to start fighting her corner.
"If she receives lots of letters, she might just do this. We don't expect her to come out fighting in public against the proposals, but we understand that, behind the scenes, she is perfectly capable of standing up to Alistair Darling.
"Meanwhile, we will be making a formal request to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs through Sir Alan Haselhurst for a meeting with Mrs Beckett to make it clear how the expansion plans and mass urbanisation they would create around Stansted, as well as further afield, pose such a threat to our much-loved and irreplaceable countryside."
Sample letters have been created by Stop Stansted Expansion and they are available from the campaign office on 01279 870558, by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org or from the website at www.stopstanstedexpansion.com.