Ex-hostage 'troubled' by Stansted plans

FORMER hostage Terry Waite has said he is "deeply troubled" by the threat of more runways at Stansted Airport.Giving his support to the anti-expansion campaign, Mr Waite acknowledged it had not been an easy decision to make because he was a regular air traveller.

FORMER hostage Terry Waite has said he is "deeply troubled" by the threat of more runways at Stansted Airport.

Giving his support to the anti-expansion campaign, Mr Waite acknowledged it had not been an easy decision to make because he was a regular air traveller.

The Essex airport is facing the possibility of up to three new runways under Government proposals to deal with the increasing demand upon air travel in the south east of the country.

Campaigners have been gearing up for the final phase of the Government's consultation which ends in late June.


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The former special envoy to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who was held captive for almost five years in Beirut before his release in 1991, offered his support after a visit to Broxted Church.

Anti-expansion campaigners said Mr Waite was "greatly moved" by residents' concerns of the threat.

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He heard how three villages, including much of Broxted, could be wiped out by the changes and the perceived threat to the East Anglian way of life.

Mr Waite's knowledge of the Stansted area stemmed from the period when, after his release from captivity, he stayed in Broxted with the family of fellow hostage John McCarthy.

Now living near Bury St Edmunds, Mr Waite said: "It is not easy for me to oppose this extension as I am a regular passenger on airlines and have been for forty years or more.

"However, I feel that I must make my views known as I am deeply troubled by the threatened devastation of the countryside and the environmental impact such a development will have.

"To destroy 326 homes, 64 of which are grade two listed buildings; to demolish over 1,000 acres of the countryside protection zone and to build one of the biggest airports in the world at Stansted is,

to my mind, the very opposite to good development. The countryside is a precious and dwindling asset. Once it is used up it has gone forever."

He added the opponents of the development were up against "massive odds" and claimed it was vital for people who valued their heritage and advocated sensible development to make their voices heard.

Mr Waite's backing was welcomed by the Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign.

Chairman Norman Mead said: "His commitment to helping us to oppose the bully-boy tactics of those whose only motive is profit, even at the expense of our health, well-being and heritage, will do much to encourage others to stand up to these ill-founded expansion plans."

The Government's White Paper on aviation is due to be published in the autumn.

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