Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Notice of Hearing: Footpath 121

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
Notice of Hearing
Town & Country Planning Act 1990
Section 257

Notice is hereby given that an Inspector will be appointed by
the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to determine
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
(Public Footpath FP121 Southend-on-Sea (Part)) (Eastwoodbury Lane, Southend-on-Sea)
(Stopping Up) Order 2011
and will attend at:
The Jubilee Room, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council, Civic Centre,
Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6ER
on Thursday 10 November 2011 at 10.00 a.m.

to hold a hearing into the Order

The effect of the Order, if confirmed without modifications, will be stop up the length of Public Footpath FP121 from its junction with Eastwoodbury Lane, Grid Reference 586 291, 188 679, southwards for a distance of approximately 180 linear metres (point A on the plan hereto annexed to the Order), Grid Reference 586 262, 188 493, at an average width of approximately 2 metres throughout, as shown on the Order Map.

Any person wishing to view the statements of case and other documents relating to this Order may do so by appointment at Southend-on-Sea Borough Council offices, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6ER during normal office hours Mondays to Fridays. To make an appointment to view please contact Mr Tim Row on telephone number (01702) 215000 Extension 5154.

Planning Inspectorate Reference: FP/D1590/5/1
Contact point at the Planning Inspectorate: Jean McEntee, Room 4/05,
Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN.
Tel: 0117372 6353 Email: jean.mcentee@pins.gsi.gov.uk

SAEN unsuccessful at appeal, but the battle continues

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

For immediate release.

An appeal by SAEN[1] in the Court of Appeal against the decision to refuse a Judicial Review of Southend Council’s grant of planning permission for a runway extension at Southend Airport has today failed.

Acknowledging the decision as a setback in the campaign, SAEN spokesman Denis Walker said “Yes, we lost today, but this isn’t the end of the story.

“Our legal team are exploring other options at the moment. Regardless of those, there are further decisions to be made by the Secretary of State before the Airport can start building.

“Approval is still needed to close or ‘stop up’ Eastwoodbury Lane, the road running past the current end of the runway. This isn’t expected until September at the earliest. There is also a public inquiry set to take place in November into the closure of a section of Public Footpath. No work on the runway can be done until that decision has also been taken.

“EasyJet are looking to start flying their Airbus 319 planes in April and it’s looking doubtful that the extended runway will be ready by then. These planes can’t use the current runway with passengers on board as it is too short.

“It is totally irresponsible for the airport to expand in this way. These noisy flights will go over more than 20,000 houses and many schools and we are determined to protect Southend, Rochford and the surrounding area from the destructive impact of the runway extension. We will hold the airport to account.”

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

  1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself, which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.

For further information:

  • Contact Denis Walker, Press Officer SAEN (Stop Airport Extension Now)
  • Visit the SAEN website – http://saen.org.uk/

Southend West survey shows majority oppose airport expansion

Friday, May 27th, 2011

For immediate release

In response to press reports indicating that London Southend Airport believe 90% of local residents support expansion at Southend, a public opinion poll survey has been undertaken. Two streets[2] in Southend West were selected at random and every home was visited to seek the views of residents. One road is 1.3 miles from the runway, the other is 1.6 miles from the runway. This was to ensure that opinion was taken from homes that are not either too close, nor too far from the airport; so may be more representative of public opinion.

The poll was conducted between 20th and 25th May, revealing that:

49 people oppose expansion 61.25%
31 support expansion 38.75%
71 oppose night flights 79.78%
18 support night flights 20.22%

12 people either did not have an opinion or were split on the issues, seeing many pros and cons.

All views of adults seen were recorded. In some homes one adult was seen, in others two were seen. The numbers seen[3] were:

92 homes surveyed
101 adults surveyed

Spokesman for SAEN[1], Denis Walker, said:

“This survey clearly demonstrates that councillors failed to take into account the views of residents when agreeing to expansion at Southend Airport. It also proves recent press reports that the airport owners believe 90% of local residents support expansion to be wholly inaccurate and out of touch. With this level of opposition to expansion plans, our councillors should not be in the least surprised that residents are furious with their council and are pursuing their grievances through the courts.

“The survey also shows overwhelming opposition to night flights – even among those who support the expansion. People are justified in feeling that this council has failed them on such a crucial issue. The survey also demonstrates that David Amess MP has been absolutely right to pursue the issue of night flights with the European Parliament.”

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

  1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself, which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.
  2. In order to respect the confidentiality of residents who participated in this poll the names of the roads polled have not been released. However, the names of the roads and the responses made by every individual at every house have been released to the local MP, David Amess. Mr Amess will have received very many communications from the public relating to this issue and so we have every confidence that this survey will correspond to any data he holds. He has been given this data to demonstrate that this survey is honest and accurately reflects the views expressed on the doorstep. Mr Amess has been asked to respect the confidentiality of respondents.
  3. Funding does not permit polling of a large number of people. Typically groups like MORI will survey 1,000 people, but this survey of 101 people nevertheless provides a very clear indication of the views of the public in Southend.

For further information:

  • Contact Denis Walker, Press Officer SAEN (Stop Airport Extension Now)
  • Visit the SAEN website – http://saen.org.uk/

SAEN appeals against Judicial Review decision

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

For immediate release

On legal advice, SAEN[1] is to appeal the decision of Deputy High Court Judge Waksman QC in refusing permission for a Judicial Review into the runway extension at Southend Airport.

The Judicial Review (JR) application is currently in the same position that a similar JR relating to Carlisle Airport was last year. That JR went forward after appeal[2] and was successful in quashing planning permission[3]. Carlisle Airport is also owned by Stobart and SAEN is using the same barrister that won in the Carlisle case.

Laura Millard, the SAEN member who had previously been pursuing the case has had to stand down due to a change in personal circumstances. SAEN wish her well for the future and thank her for all her help in the campaign to Stop the Airport Extension Now. Another SAEN member has stepped forward to take her place.

SAEN spokesman Denis Walker said “We’re delighted we’re able to continue the Judicial Review application through this appeal. I know the Council has been concerned about their costs, but £35,000 is less than half what they paid for covering Southend’s lamp posts in ‘Better Southend’ signs and a tiny fraction of the amount they have given Stobart, so they should spend their money more wisely.”

There are five other ongoing legal actions related to the extension of the runway at Southend Airport. These deal with a variety of issues, from the European Commission examining the whole plan to an Ecclesiastical Court hearing on the demolition of a 38m section of boundary wall at St Laurence Church.

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

  1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself, which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.
  2. http://www.cumberlandnews.co.uk/1_650378
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlisle_Airport#Future_plans

For further information:

  • Contact Denis Walker, Press Officer SAEN (Stop Airport Extension Now)
  • Visit the SAEN website – http://saen.org.uk/

Judicial Review of Runway Extension turned down

Monday, April 11th, 2011

For immediate release

On learning of the decision of Deputy High Court Judge Waksman QC to turn down permission for a Judicial Review into the planning permission granted by Southend Council for the extension of the runway at Southend Airport, Vice-Chairman of SAEN, Kiti Theobald, said:

“We are disappointed that the Judicial Review has been turned down. We believe that there remain serious unanswered questions about the conduct of Southend Council in reaching the decision to approve the runway extension.

“However, it must be remembered that there are three other legal actions ongoing and it may well be that these address our concerns. There is no smoke without fire and we wouldn’t have got this far if there weren’t serious issues that needed to be addressed.

“Of course, there is a possibility that the Judge’s decision could be challenged and this will now be investigated.”

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

  1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself, which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.

For further information:

  • Visit the SAEN website – http://saen.org.uk/

Councillors need to understand the facts

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

As I believe some of our councillors don’t know what it is they are voting for and will either follow the party line, or believe anything they are fed by fellow councillors, council officials, rubbish in the local papers and of course, whatever the airport tell them. It’s therefore important that we let them know our feelings and the real facts on night flights and quota numbers:

  1. “Quota Count”: This is the name for the method the Civil Aviation Authority uses to grade just how noisy a plane is to enforce noise restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted Airports. Details of the current noise restrictions, including tables of the Quota Count (QC) values for licenced aircraft can be found at:

    http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/aip/current/sup/EG_SUP_2010_37_en.pdf

    These regulations do not apply to other airports, but the proposed restrictions at Southend make use of the QC values assigned in the document linked to above.
    Planes below 84 EPNdB are QC exempt. The proposed limit at Southend Airport is that no planes with a QC of more than 1 will be used – a maximum of 92.9 EPNdB.

    Of course, all jets are noisy, but some are less noisy than others. To give you some idea, Boing 737s are the most common EasyJet type and have a QC of between 0.5 and 2 on arrival and between 1 and 8 on departure, depending on configuration. The Airbus A319, which is the plane the airport hold up as a modern quiet efficient jet, has a QC of 0.5 on arrival and a QC of 0.5 or 1 on departure, depending on take-off weight. One of these planes graced our airport with a visit recently and gave local residents a nasty shock. We have been told of one woman preparing lunch when it went over, who nearly dropped a pan of boiling water on her foot. Quiet it is NOT.

  2. The council want to restrict the number of night flights from the current ludicrously high level of 915 per month to a figure of 120 per month. This sounds like an improvement, until you realise that the new limit only applies to aircraft assigned a Quota Count. There will be no restrictions on QC exempt aircraft, so the airport will be able to fly as many of these as it wishes at night. Note that some Learjets are QC exempt.

    What matters in reality is not what the QC of a plane is or whether it’s exempt, but whether it wakes you up. QC exempt planes are certainly loud enough to do that, particularly for people whose houses back on to the airport (of which there are many). The council thinks we will be happy and able to sleep with up to 120 large noisy jets per month at night, with an unlimited number of QC exempt planes and helicopters.

  3. The restriction to 120 QC flights per month will actually be a large increase in the number of night flights that we “enjoy” now. Thanks to the research done by a SAEN committee member, we understand that the last time the airport might have exceeded this figure was 2003, but we don’t have details of the plane types so can’t tell whether they were QC exempt or not. In fact, since 2008, the airport has averaged fewer than 50 night flights per month.

    So your council is hailing as a great piece of negotiation to more than double night flights. Yes, it was great piece of negotiation, but on the airport’s part; the council is just rolling over again.

  4. These night flights will not be scheduled passenger flights – passenger flights will only be allowed during the “day” (between 6:30am and 11pm). So what will they be? Freight must figure highly, plus the planes coming in for maintenance. Privately hired business flights would also be permitted.

    Freight planes tend to be noisy older aircraft, and have lower safety standards than passenger aircraft. These noisy planes are also often refitted as the private jets of rock groups and other big spenders, like the one that was recently repainted at the airport.

  5. What happens if the airport breaks these restrictions? They will just be fined a tiny amount of money, which will, apparently, go into a “community fund”. What will this money be spent on? Who will hold the purse strings? We don’t have answers to these questions yet.

    The airport won’t care if the restrictions are broken anyway – they will pass the costs on to the airlines. The airlines won’t care either as it will still be profitable for them to bring planes in even with the fine. How do we know this? Simple – the airport has breached the current night flight regulations on a number of occasions, bringing in planes that it is not allowed to at night. To our knowledge, the Council hasn’t even bothered instituting fines when these regulations have been breached.

  6. This is, perhaps, the most obvious reason for banning all but emergency night flights: other regional airports close at night. City Airport closes at 10:30pm and Southampton Airport has a strict limit of 10 night flights per month for emergencies only.

    Southampton Airport is often quoted as the role model for Southend, as they handle 2 million passengers a year, which is what Stobart are aiming for. There the similarity ends. The runway extension will mean planes much lower over people’s houses than at Southampton and there are only emergency night flights at Southampton. It has good motorway connections from three directions, rather than one overcrowded A-road which doesn’t even go to the airport.

In short, if our councillors truly are there to represent the residents, they should be voting for a total ban on night flights, not to increase the number of noisy large jets flying in and out with freight or to have maintenance. There is no real reason for these planes to fly at night – it is just to increase the profits of the plane operators and Stobart Air.

Graham Whitehead
SAEN Chairman

Update from Carlisle

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

SAEN has received an update from our fellow campaigners in Cumbria, opposing the expansion of Carlisle Airport, which is also owned by Stobart. They say:

Carlisle Airport Planning Application has just been deemed a Departure from the Local plan. Hopefully we will get a Public Inquiry if the council approves it.

There is a precedent for this as the first on was a departure and was Called In.

We have also learnt that Stobart Group has had no contact with the CAA for over a year and that the huge building and proposed aprons make compromise the safety of the main runway for passenger flights, this will not apply to any Freight flights, therefore the suspicion is that passenger flights are not on the agenda, if we are correct this removes the carrot of any flights between Southend/Carlisle.

What with what has just happened at your end all in all not a good few days for Stobart Group.

Response to Monday’s Echo Comment

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

How shrill and desperate the Echo sounds these days when trying to defend the expansion of Southend Airport!

Over the last decade, the Echo has always adopted a pro-council position on major projects, but it’s getting more extreme. For example, they’re so desperate to support the council’s current city status bid that they hold votes in which you can’t vote “no” and publish articles on their website where commenting has been disabled. Are we in Southend or China?

Editor Martin McNeill’s latest “Comment” column, entitled “Time to let the airport expand,” makes one worry for his mental health.

SAEN haven’t executed a “cunning plan to delay Southend Airport’s expansion” – we’re as surprised as anyone that a Public Inquiry has been announced. Perhaps Mr McNeill would like to explain what special power SAEN has supposed to have suddenly gained over the Secretary of State for Transport to make him call Public Inquiries?

Mr McNeill claims that “the case against the stopping up of Eastwoodbury Lane is hooey” and that its “closure will cause some inevitable disruption”. These statements make it clear that he doesn’t know what the case is or what the closure entails. There would be no direct disruption due to the closure of Eastwoodbury Lane because the new link road would be built before the lane was closed – permanently. He seems to be under the impression that the closure would be temporary, but once the runway extension was built over it, the road wouldn’t be opening again.

Interestingly, it seems that Mr McNeill also suffers from amnesia. He says “nobody claimed [the 'Better Southend' projects] were going to wreck Southend”, and yet vocal campaigns in the form of Parklife, the PPPS and SKIPP have been vigorously fighting various incarnations of them since 2001.

The entire reason a section of Eastwoodbury Lane is to be stopped up is for the airport’s runway extension. The Public Inquiry can therefore not fail to examine the runway extension. This puts SAEN in the strongest position it has ever been in and yet Martin McNeill describes us as a “lost cause in full retreat.” He is clearly delusional.

PRESS RELEASE: Transport Minister orders Public Inquiry of Runway Extension road closure

Friday, February 25th, 2011

For immediate release

The Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, has called a Public Inquiry into the Stopping Up of Eastwoodbury Lane.

SAEN[1] learned the news this morning in a letter from the National Transport Casework Team in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The Minister’s decision was taken in the light of objections to the Stopping Up order from members of the public, including members of SAEN.

The stopping-up (closure) of Eastwoodbury Lane is vital to Southend Airport’s plan to extend its runway, as the road passes directly across the current end of the runway. Without this road closure, there would be no runway extension.

SAEN spokesman Denis Walker said: “This is the first time that the runway extension development will receive public scrutiny, so it’s excellent news for our campaign. The Council cancelled the airport ‘Joint Area Action Plan’, apparently to prevent public scrutiny at an Examination in Public and the last Government refused to hold a Public Inquiry into the Planning Application.

“We are confident that in the cold light of day, the justification for closing Eastwoodbury Lane to enable the runway extension doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. The economic, environmental and social costs all outweigh any benefit and we look forward to the opportunity to explain this to a Government Inspector.”

An immediate consequence of the Public Inquiry is likely to be the suspension of St Laurence Church’s decision on whether to allow the demolition of a section of its front wall, as without the closure of Eastwoodbury Lane, there would be no need for the wall to be demolished.

In recent weeks, Southend Council has stressed its desire to have all matters regarding the runway extension resolved before the local elections in May, but the Public Inquiry rules this out.

Two Judicial Reviews of the runway extension planning permission also remain outstanding.

ENDS.

Notes to Editors

  1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself, which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.

For further information:

Heathrow night flight ban would save up to £860m

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

HACAN ClearSkies, the group campaigning to protect residents under Heathrow’s flight paths, recently commissioned a major report, which launched in the House of Commons on 27th January at a meeting hosted by Zac Goldsmith MP. The report shows that a ban on night flights at Heathrow before 6am could be expected to have overall benefits for the wider economy. Respected Dutch economists CE Delft wrote the report and found that a night flight ban before 6am could benefit the national economy by as much as £860 million over a 10 year period.

Given that Southend Airport cannot have night passenger flights and freight could travel at any time, one has to wonder what possible justification there can be for not banning night flights here outright, giving local residents an assurance of a peaceful night’s rest and the airport a huge saving by not having to have staff working through the night.

The full report is available online at http://www.hacan.org.uk/resources/reports/night.flight.final.report.pdf.