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National Trust opposes runways

PUBLISHED: 05:00 26 February 2003 | UPDATED: 16:20 24 February 2010

THE National Trust has declared its opposition to proposals for additional runways at Stansted Airport.

The conservation organisation has said it believes large-scale expansion should not take place because of the effect it could have on the local, regional and national environment.

THE National Trust has declared its opposition to proposals for additional runways at Stansted Airport.

The conservation organisation has said it believes large-scale expansion should not take place because of the effect it could have on the local, regional and national environment.

In particular, it cites the expected impact new runways would have on the internationally important Hatfield Forest, which lies directly south of BAA Stansted.

"The forest is a wonderful site for both nature conservation and the local community," property manager Vikki Forbes said.

"It is already badly affected by noise and we are only just beginning to understand what effect air pollution from aircraft and associated car traffic may have on the growth of trees, many of which are over 500 years old," she added.

Hatfield Forest is the last remaining intact medieval forest in Britain and Europe. The area has been owned and protected by the National Trust since 1924, and is classed as both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a National Nature Reserve.

The Trust stressed that opposition to the proposed runways – which will be determined after a lengthy consideration and consultation process, including other possible airport locations – was not simply to protect its land ownership.

Director for the East Anglian Region, Peter Griffiths, said: "We believe that expanding Stansted would be a disaster for the local area, but our position is not based on NIMBYism.

"In our response to the Government proposals we are calling for a truly sustainable national aviation strategy."

He claimed the government could help reduce the demand on airports by promoting the British Tourism Industry better.

"The UK tourism industry currently runs a balance of payments defecit of £13.3 billion, but only a decade ago it was in credit to the tune of £3.2 billion.

"There is clearly a huge potential in domestic tourism that the Government must do more to promote and encourage.

"Doing this would also reduce the demand for airport space and challenge the need for huge expansions like the one proposed for Stansted."


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