Archive for the ‘Press Releases’ Category

Rochford District Council approves more expansion of Southend Airport

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

For immediate release

RDC has granted permission to more than double the size of the new terminal at Southend Airport, only weeks after it first opened, at a meeting on Thursday 19th April. Despite strong opposition, only one member of the public was permitted to speak against the application. No one spoke in support of it.

Approval was given despite a large number of councillors being absent. Only 14 attended, six of whom declared interests but were still allowed to vote. Voting took place almost immediately after SAEN[1] member Bernard Free had finished speaking. There was no detailed scrutiny of the application by councillors, in stark contrast to the residential application they had considered earlier in the agenda.

SAEN Chairman, Graham Whitehead said “This is unfortunately the level of democracy we have come to expect from our local councils. They go through the motions of consulting residents, then completely ignore them and do whatever the airport wants. The airport hasn’t kept their promise of thousands of jobs and residents’ quality of life is being destroyed.”

It has emerged that Anglian Water were not informed of the application. SAEN understands that the water company is less than happy. They have stated that the new terminal as it stands was only just approved as it took the sewage system up to 100% capacity. Clearly, the newly-approved terminal extension will put the sewage system over-capacity with the additional rain water and other waste that the system will need to accommodate.

In the past, the Airport has always said that they are aiming for 2 million passengers per year by 2020. However, it is understood that easyJet are looking to handle as many as 6 million passengers per year. This will mean even more noisy flights over the 70,000 local residents who live under the flight path and more congestion on Southend’s busy roads.

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 opposed to the inappropriate expansion of the airport, which is causing a massive increase in flights and destroying 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/

SAEN grateful to Plane Stupid protesters

Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Zebra crossing over a taxiway

The site at which the protesters allegedly entered the airport - the zebra crossing over an airport taxiway on Footpath 36

SAEN[1] has learned, via a call from the local press, that 16 people were arrested at Southend Airport this morning for protesting against the airport’s expansion.

The direct action group Plane Stupid has claimed credit for the protest alongside Suffragette-inspired campaigners Climate Rush.[2] Further information about the incident is available from the Press Association[3] and BBC News[4].

SAEN was unaware of today’s protest, but has been opposing the runway extension at Southend Airport and associated development ever since the summer of 2008 when Southend Borough Council and Rochford District Council launched a Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP) to determine planning policy for the airport and its environs.

Initially, four options were on the table – low growth, two medium growth variants and high growth. The majority opposed “Scenario 3″[5], which was the high growth option, but it was this proposal that was taken forward and phase 2 of consultation was on this high growth plan, which included an extension to the runway to allow larger planes to use the airport. Again, the overwhelming majority objected[6]. By this time, Stobart had bought the airport and were developing a planning application for the runway extension.

View from Footpath 36 towards the runway at Southend Airport

View from Footpath 36 towards the runway at Southend Airport, where it is understood the protest took place

The application was submitted in October 2009, at which point the JAAP was put on ice, denying the public an Examination in Public of the planning policy before it was adopted. Despite overwhelming opposition, the application was waved through by Southend Council’s development control committee in January 2010. SAEN was hopeful at this stage that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, John Denham (a former Friends of the Earth transport campaigner), would grant a public inquiry into the decision, but it was not to be. The group then spent over a year and tens of thousands of pounds pursuing permission for a Judicial Review, which has now been refused.

It is therefore entirely understandable that protesters would take direct action to protest against this unjust scheme and SAEN is grateful to the protesters for showing solidarity with the local community.

SAEN Spokesman, Denis Walker, said: “The town is being blighted by the closure of Eastwoodbury Lane, the demolition of six homes and the threat of thousands of flights a month, but we’re getting nothing in return but more noise and more traffic. Regional airports take money out of the local economy as people go abroad to spend and while there will be a few jobs they never match the numbers the developers claim. The town has been double-crossed and councillors should be ashamed.”

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://twitter.com/#!/planestupid and http://twitter.com/#!/ClimateRush
  3. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5jSJ0PtpT3Ot13P5nKU_5vVfrlTZA?docId=N0343301319879438537A
  4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-essex-15505319
  5. http://www.saen.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/JAAP_issues_and_options_summary_consultation_response.pdf (see p15)
  6. http://www.saen.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Resp-to-JAAP-POR-Final-Version.pdf (see p4)

For further information:

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

Council misleads public on airport jobs

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

For immediate release

Claims made in the local press today that 6,200 new jobs will be created at Southend Airport cruelly deceive the job-seekers of the area. This is an old figure based upon the old Joint Area Action Plan (JAAP), which the Council abandoned more than 2 years ago when Stobart bought the airport and submitted a planning application to extend the runway.

Ignoring the democratic process that had been set out for the JAAP, the councils accepted the planning application submission and proceeded to decide in favour of the runway extension despite the fact that 80% of respondents[2] had opposed the “High Growth” proposal that included the runway extension.

SAEN[1] spokesman Denis Walker explained “The old figure of 6700 jobs was itself a piece of creative accounting by Southend and Rochford Councils but they ditched the JAAP, which had already met with massive public opposition, when Stobart bought the airport.

“All that has happened here is that the supposed total of 500 jobs, which the airport is claiming to be creating, has been subtracted from the three-year-old figure. That figure was based on the assumption that the Saxon Business Park would be fully occupied, but so far there’s not even a developer lined up to build the busiess park. Even if it does get built, those jobs would not be new as the plans include a proposal to move businesses out of the Eldon Way Industiral Estate in Hockley.

“The Council were promising these jobs three years ago but so far there’s no business park, no new jobs and even the promises of airlines to ferry people to Ireland and Germany are disappearing into thin air.

“Southend and Rochford Councils have consistently talked up the jobs and supposed economic benefits that the airport expansion and nearby building projects would create, but there is no evidence to back the claims up. EasyJet are bringing 150 existing staff with them from Stansted and Stobart have used their own Civil Engineering firm (which is based in Cumbria) to build St Laurence Way and the runway extension. These are not jobs for local people.

“The town is being blighted by the closure of Eastwoodbury Lane, the demolition of six homes and the threat of thousands of flights a month, but we’re getting nothing in return but more noise and more traffic. Regional airports take money out of the local economy as people go abroad to spend and while there will be a few jobs they never match the numbers the developers claim. The town has been double-crossed and councillors should be ashamed.”

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.saen.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Resp-to-JAAP-POR-Final-Version.pdf (see p4)

For further information:

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

SAEN agrees with Council

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

For immediate release

SAEN[1] has learned this morning that Southend Borough Council is publishing their legal costs in defending their decision to permit the runway extension at Southend Airport. We too have spent tens of thousands of pounds on the legal action and agree with them that it is a waste of money.

Had the Council taken any notice of the consultations they held on both the Joint Area Action Plan for the airport and the planning application, they would not have pursued this incredibly damaging scheme and we would not have had to fight it.

At no stage has the plan received proper independent scrutiny and all of the evidence considered by the Council in making its decision was supplied by the airport themselves.

The Council has poured over £14m of public money into the airport since they sold it for one pound in 1994 and the town has seen absolutely no benefit from this money. Instead, the money could have been spent on vital public services which are now being cut.

SAEN spokesman, Denis Walker, said “The big claim made by the airport and councillors alike was that this would bring over a thousand jobs to the area. The airport now say it will be 500 and at least 150 of those will be existing easyJet staff relocating from Stansted.

“We are getting a sixth London airport by stealth and the so-called benefits are completely outweighed by the misery it will bring to those living under the flight path.”

SAEN’s lawyers are exploring the options that remain, including taking the case to the European courts.

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/

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/

Easyjet announcement undermines entire case for expansion at Southend Airport

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

For immediate release

The news that Easyjet will be operating 70 flights per week from Southend Airport within the next year is a bitter blow that will fill residents with dread. But this announcement undermines the entire case for expansion at Southend Airport.

Easyjet has confirmed that the 800,000 passengers it intends to carry will result in the creation of just 150 new jobs. LSA previously claimed that 2 million passengers would result in the creation of 1,130 jobs but we now see that the employment gain may be in the region of just 375, significantly less than promised. The reality is that with online booking and a business model designed to reduce baggage, far fewer jobs will be created than claimed.

SAEN[1] (Stop Airport Extension Now) has long argued that the projected employment gains were overstated in order to secure council approval for expansion but now we have a glimpse of the reality. Indeed, when the loss to the economy of the tourism aviation deficit is factored in[2, 3], we see that 800,000 passengers will deprive the UK economy of £448 million, which is equivalent to 17,920 jobs.

Residents now face the onset of more night flights in the summer months and all the traffic chaos they feared. With around 8,000 additional car trips per day on our already congested roads[4] residents worst fears are set to be realised. The challenge for the local media is to see how residents, and the parents of the schools under the flight path will react to this unwelcome news. Indeed, as the full horror of expansion within the heart of such a densely populated area becomes apparent, we must expect very significant protest from the majority who already oppose expansion (61.25% of residents) and particularly those who oppose night flights (79.78%)[5]. Far from being over, this issue is set to become ever more contentious.

Spokesman for SAEN, Denis Walker, said:

“The announcement from Easyjet that 800,000 additional passengers will create 150 new jobs proves airport claims that 2 million passengers will create 1,130 jobs wrong. It was the promise of huge employment gains that led councillors to agree to expansion but we now see the harsh reality. Residents too will also now begin to see that aircraft flying at night, particularly in the summer months, are anything but ‘quiet’ and all their worst fears of traffic chaos will be realised. With the majority of flights taking place in the summer months, residents must now expect around 8,000 additional car trips per day on our already heavily congested roads.

“This announcement is unwelcome news for the majority of people in the town who oppose expansion. Far from being over, Councillors must now brace themselves for ever growing demands for a curtailment of operations at the airport.”

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. Aviation is a net drain on the UK economy. Tourists departing by aviation spend more money abroad than those arriving in the UK. In 2008 the loss to the UK economy (the aviation trade deficit) was £19.6 billion. In 2009 this reduced, apparently due to the recession and a reduction in the value of sterling. But the loss to the UK economy was still substantial – £15.1 billion (no figures yet available for 2010). (Source: Office for National Statistics: The Pink Book).
  3. The average tourist travelling abroad spends £560 (excluding the cost of flights) (Source: Airportwatch). That means that the 800,000 passengers travelling from Southend would deprive the local economy of £448 Million, which is equivalent to a loss of 17,920 jobs to the local economy (£25,000 = 1 job).
  4. Southampton airport data reveals that just 11% of passengers arrive by public transport. Of those arriving by car 42% park at the car park and 58% are dropped off by friends/family – “kiss and fly”, which entails 4 car trips per journey (passenger dropped off, driver returns home, driver returns to pick up and then takes passenger back home).

    Following this model, 800,000 passengers implies 88,000 people will arrive by public transport, and 712,000 will arrive by car, of which 42% (299,040 will park in Southend – 2 car trips) and 58% (412,960 will be ferried to and from the airport “kiss and fly” – 4 car trips). The 800,000 passenger announcement equates to 2,249,920 additional car trips on the roads of Southend per annum. This equates to 6,164 additional cars on Southend roads per day but since most of these will be in the summer months, we must expect around 8,000 aditional car journeys between April and october.

  5. The public opinion poll conducted for SAEN in May revealed that the majority oppose expansion. It revealed that of those expressing a view: -

    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

For further information:

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/

Residents show damage of closing Eastwoodbury Lane at Public Inquiry

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

For immediate release

A public inquiry into the stopping up of Eastwoodbury Lane to enable the extension of the runway at Southend Airport has concluded this afternoon. SAEN[1] members and other local residents who oppose the closure of the road attended and were able to make their views clear.

During the inquiry, the managing director of the airport, Alastair Welch, revealed that he had no intention of completing and opening the new link road that is currently under construction if the Government refused to allow Eastwoodbury Lane to be closed. Previously, Southend Council have said that they expect the road to open even if Eastwoodbury Lane stays open and the runway extension doesn’t get built.

Transport expert for the Airport, Patrick Gurner acknowledged the disadvantages of closing Eastwoodbury Lane and that these detracted from Southend Council’s policy of encouraging people to use sustainable modes of transport.

SAEN spokesman, Denis Walker, said “SAEN argues that overall, the disadvantages of stopping up Eastwoodbury Lane outweigh the advantages even before you consider the effect that the runway extension would have. When you also include the runway extension, it makes the situation utterly intolerable, particularly for those living closest to the airport.”

The Government inspector, Malcolm Rivett, will now compile a report making a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Transport, who will take the final decision in the coming months.

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/

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/

EU to investigate Runway Extension

Friday, April 15th, 2011

For immediate release

SAEN[1] has learned this week that Southend West MP David Amess’s petition[2] calling for the European Parliament to intervene on the expansion of Southend Airport has been accepted and will be investigated.

Erminia Mazzoni, Chairman of the Committee on Petitions at the European Parliament wrote back to Mr Amess[3]:

“The committee began its examination of your petition and decided to ask the European Commission to conduct a preliminary investigation of the various aspects of the problem. The committee will continue its examination of your petition as soon as it is in receipt of the necessary information.”

The petition, which gained over three thousand signatures last year, emphasises the adverse impact the expansion will have on the local environment, specifically citing the increase in both noise and pollution.

SAEN Chairman, Graham Whitehead, said “Local residents aren’t being represented by our councillors, who appear to only be interested in the desires of big business, so it is good to hear that the European Commission is to investigate the airport expansion.”

This investigation brings the total number of legal actions on the runway extension and related issues to five.

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.saen.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Southend-Airport-Petition.pdf
  3. Letter from Erminia Mazzoni

For further information:

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