Updated Sunday 6th April 2003
Public Meeting at County Hall
Hertfordshire County Council are holding a public meeting at County Hall on Thursday 10th April to give an update on the Government's latest proposals for increased capacity at Stansted Airport. It will also provide an opportunty for people to air their views on the controversial plans, which could see the airport become larger than Heathrow.
County Councillor Derrick Ashley, Executive member for Environment, said: "After the Government made such a mess of the consultation last time, the people of Hertfordshire now have an extra opportunity to make themselves heard
"Expanding any of the airports bordering our county would have massive ramifications on everyday lives and on the environment. There would be more traffic, more pollution and more noise as well as the destruction of habitats and heritage. We want to give people as much information as possible about how it could effect their quality of life in both the towns and villages."
He added: "Central Government have said they want to hear what local people have to say and it is up to the Council to discover and support the views of the people of Hertfordshire."
The County Council has joined a coalition of local authorities opposed to the development of Stansted Airport. They have published a brochure outlining their key arguments and alternative proposals.
The Government's consultation period ends on June 30.
The government has proposed building up to three news runways at Stansted Airport as one of the options being considered to deal with an expected threefold increase in air passengers over the next 30 years.
The addition of the new runways would make the airport larger than Heathrow and increase it's current capacity of 13 million to 122 million.
The effects of the expansion would be widespread and dramatic. Huge areas of land would be required and many homes and villages will be destroyed. The increase in air traffic in the skies around Stansted would be massive and substantially impact of the quality of life for those in the surrounding areas through increased noise and pollution. In addition, accompanying development in terms of supporting infrastructure and new homes would swallow up vast areas of unspoilt countryside.
Moreover, government plans for a big increase in housebuilding in the home counties raises fears that the entire region will become urbanised.
The government launched a consultation exercise in Autumn 2002 and was expected to announce its' final plans in the Spring of 2003.
However, a judicial review was brought by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) and a handful of councils, who argued that it was wrong for the government to exclude Gatwick Airport from their list of options. Justice Maurice Kay, presiding, agreed, calling the exclusion "illogical".
During late 2002, Herts County Council organised a number of public meetings to discuss the issue of airport expansion, having already voiced its' strong opposition to the plans. East Herts District Council too voiced it's serious concerns.
In response, the government issued a second consultation document in March 2003, which retained the options for Stansted.
To read more about the Government Consultation on The Future Development of Air Transport visit www.airconsult.gov.uk.
Second Consultation Issued