STANSTED AIRPORT – DfT RESPONSE

 

David Fossett MA                                                                                 Grange Lodge
Clerk of Takeley Parish Council                                                            Bambers Green

Takeley

Tel-Fax:  01279-870213                                                                      Bishop’s Stortford

e.mail: dfossett@takeleypc.freeserve.co.uk                                                         Herts CM22 6PF

 

Future Development of Air-Transport – South East                               15.10.2002

Department for Transport

Zone 1/28C

Freepost LON 17806

London SW1P 4YS

 

Dear Secretary of State

 

Takeley Parish Council oppose the proposals outlined for the development of Stansted Airport in the consultation document –

 

‘The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East’.

 

Takeley Parish Council recognise that their opposition may be predictable being a community immediately adjacent to the existing Stansted Airport, but find it difficult to respond rationally to proposals that would result in the demolition of village communities within its parish boundary, ie: Mole Hill Green and Bambers Green. Takeley itself will become uninhabitable, with noise decibel levels beyond World Health Authority safety guidelines. The commercial and communications infrastructure needed to service such a level of expansion will go beyond reasonable living limits.

 

Takeley Parish Council does not have the resources to access the necessary expertise to challenge much of the statistical data produced in support of expansion proposals, especially in relation to the projected aircraft passenger demand; the need for another ‘hub’ airport in South East England; or the environmental effects of noise and other forms of pollution on the resident population – human, fauna and flora; but submits the following views.

 

Takeley Parish Council propose that regional airports should be further developed to satisfy regional demands. It rejects the evidence for the need for another ‘hub’ airport in the South East. Future development should also take account of regional and environmental needs through developing off-shore sites, not inland ones.

 

Takeley Parish Council would be interested in analysing airline data on how many passengers travel to the South East to use airport facilities and from which area of the country they come.

 

Takeley Parish Council also recognise that millions of people transfer internally (interlining) through London Heathrow each year from international flights and never set foot in the UK. This brings no financial benefit to the country, but adds to the airport’s administrative and security burdens and costs. We believe a directive towards a more efficient and co-ordinated use of airline schedules would release a further 60 million passenger movements for the UK market in 2030, the equivalent of two new runways. Another 1 million passenger movements would be available if a chief freight airport was identified in the UK, releasing more capacity at Heathrow and Stansted, since at Stansted 14,000 air transport movements are used for cargo alone. This does not make good and effective use of air transport movements in the busy South East region.

 

At the heart of Takeley Parish Council’s argument in opposition to the proposals is the notion of ‘reasonableness’.

 

We do not consider it reasonable for a small country, already overstretched in land resources, to remove more countryside from an ever dwindling land base.

 

We do not consider it reasonable for people to have to relocate and for a community, culture, heritage and environment to die, in order to assist big business ventures and questionable statistical forecasts.

 

The environmentally and intellectually sound approach would be the vision of off shore airport sites with a communication infrastructure of which Brunel would have been proud. We have the architects and engineers in the UK with proven skills and expertise, to build off shore. Surely this Government has the vision and the will to provide an advanced air-transport system to serve the 21st century. The Victorians managed it, and it is not impossible now !

 

Takeley Parish Council therefore:

·        Challenge the need for another national ‘Hub’ airport

·        Challenge the insufficient statistical data on projected air traffic demand & passenger movements

·        Challenge the limited information available on the capability of air traffic control to safely manage an enormous increase in movements over the South East region

·        Challenge the exclusion of Gatwick as an option within the consultation process

·        Stress the need to develop regional airports to satisfy regional demands – with those regions tolerating the impact of increased demand

·        Stress the detrimental effects of ‘interlining’    

·        Stress the benefits of identifying a chief freight airport more centrally positioned for national demand

·        Stress the need for data on actual passenger numbers travelling to the South East to use SE Airports

·        Stress the harmful effects of noise pollution on people

·        Stress the negative effects on the local environment – (see enclosed ecology report)

·        Stress the adverse effects on the local community & culture – the destruction of  5 communities within the parish

·        Stress the detrimental effects on local heritage – (see enclosed heritage report)

·        Stress the effects that Government plans to develop extra housing & towns along and across the M11 corridor would have on the local environment

·        Question the continual urbanisation of this area of Essex and the proposed urbanisation of green field sites which will be contrary to DfT Regional Planning Guidance PPG1 & PPG3

 

 

Stansted Airport is unsuitable for any further expansion beyond 25mppa because:

The development proposals contradict this Governments’ objectives on sustainable development.

 

Conclusion

 

·        In the national interest, Takeley Parish Council recommend the further development of regional airports offering popular long haul services.

This should take account of environmental factors, where extra capacity is proven, and eliminate the need for excessive land travel to another hub airport.

 

·        Takeley Parish Council recommend an off shore airport, in association with developmental plans for the Thames Gateway, for any future air transport development in the South East.

 

If expansion proposals go ahead, Stansted Airport will no longer be an airport in the

countryside.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

David Fossett

 

 

Enclosed 1: Ecology report

Enclosed 2: Compensation recommendations

Enclosed 3: Heritage report

 

cc. Sir Alan Haselhurst – MP for Saffron Walden

 

ENCLOSURE 1.

 

The Future Development of Air Transport in the United Kingdom: South East

 

ECOLOGY REPORT

 

Cliffe.
Ecology; Page 86;

Paragraphs: 11.16-11.18.

Much has been made of the loss of wild life habitat on Cliffe Marshes, should that site be chosen for future airport development.

Cliffe is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a designated National Nature Reserve (NNR). The EC has given it protective status as laid out in the EC Habitats Directive.

The reason for the protection of Cliffe Marshes is that large numbers of migratory wading birds visit it during the winter and  also for its flora and fauna.

Takeley Parish Council would agree that building a new airport on the Hoo Peninsula in North Kent (Cliffe Marshes), without thoroughly investigating and providing alternative purpose built sites, would be disastrous. However, para 11.17, clearly states that this course of action has been considered. It is therefore, possible to provide a purpose built habitat to accommodate these birds. Such schemes have already been accomplished elsewhere in the country.

There has been a suggested provision for financing an alternative habitat. A figure of £200 million has been quoted as a preliminary estimated cost.

If the Government is serous in its claim that they are looking at the long-term future of Air Transport in the United Kingdom, this then is a small price to pay.

 

Stansted.

Ecology; Page 67;

Paragraph: 9.24.

The case for Stansted is different!

The Ecology report outlined in the document for Stansted is dismal to say the least. Only one  line and two words is included for the 700-1200 hectares of land-take required to meet the option of expanding Stansted Airport by one/three runways.

The assumption is that only the two or three runway options would result in the loss of about half of Elsenham Wood SSSI (East End Wood), and have a limited ecological influence on the area. (app. B).

The impression given by the Consultation Document is that the land-take for a one runway expansion of Stansted is insignificant in respect of its impact on the local ecological habitat. The truth is that the interlocking diversity of the natural ecosystem would be fractured beyond repair. (app. A), even by one additional runway.

The local flora is a habitat for insects, which in turn are the food source of many indigenous and summer visiting birds, amphibians and fauna in general.

The destruction of one habitat is the destruction of all !

Not providing an alternative habitat for these indigenous inhabitants, many of which are already on the ornithological list of threatened specie, would, in itself, be disastrous.

 

What are the facts?

It would appear that an environmental study on the Hoo Peninsular has already been carried out, but to our knowledge no such study has been carried out at Stansted. We find this unacceptable, for is there not the same disruption and total loss of habitat for the indigenous population, as well as for summer and winter visiting birds, many of which are also on the endangered list, as there is for migratory waders at Cliffe ?

Part of East End Wood, a SSSI site within the Parish of Takeley, would be lost. The Parish supports four other woods; Priors Wood, Fanns Wood, Seven Acre Wood and Little Newlands Wood. These woodlands may not have SSSI status, but they are part of the ‘ancient woodland’ that once covered this area and play an important role in the local ecosystem. They are a haven of habitat undisturbed by the surrounding pressures of development. Seven Acre and Little Newlands Woods will be lost if any of the options are decided upon. (app. A). Fanns and Priors Woods will be under threat due to their close proximity to option one. (app. B).

 

Ancient woodland can not be replaced !

The local boscage with their connecting systems of ditches and hedgerows, most of which are claimed as ancient hedgerows and are protected under the 1995 Environment Act, provide natural highways for all species to move from one location to another. The surrounding arable farmland provides food for both human and animal species alike.

 

If these areas are lost, they are lost forever !

 

The local indigenous bird population are, in the main, static in their habits. It would prove impossible to provide alternative accommodation for them in the short term, once their specialist habitat as been destroyed. Many of these birds are already on the endangered list and are protected by law. The suggested expansion of Stansted would result in large areas of countryside being covered in concrete and natural habitats being destroyed.

Migratory waders on the other hand, could find alternative feeding grounds, albeit with loss of numbers. However, a purpose built alternative site for waders can be provided to alleviate any loss of habitat and numbers in a very short time. This has been the case in other parts of the country and abroad, where the need for economic growth and environmental concerns are in conflict.

Without the same thorough environmental assessment into the local flora, fauna and habitat at Stansted, the following questions can not be answered:-

·  what impact would there be on the indigenous species, of a complete loss of habitat ?

·  what effect would there be on the surrounding ecosystem if Stansted is expanded?

·  would an alternative habitat be provided for the affected indigenous species ?

·  would an alternative solution be cost affective ?

Only then can a true and honest comparison be made to the viability of the expansion of Stansted on ecological grounds.

 

As a member of the European Community we are signatory to the European Commission Environmental Impact Assessment (EIR), which aims to protect the environment within the EC. These aims for the protection of nature and biodiversity as they affect wild birds are quite clear. The present directive seeks to:

·  protect, manage and regulate all bird specie naturally living in the wild within the EC including the eggs of these birds, their nest and their habitats

·  create protection zones

·  maintain habitats

·  restore destroyed biotopes

·  create biotopes.

 

The following is NOT permitted:

·  to destroy damage or collect nests and eggs

·  to disturb them deliberately.

 

The Department for Transport are suggesting that Stansted could be expanded. By allowing the expansion of Stansted, the Government will be deliberately contravening a EC directive to conserve wild birds.

 

The DfT would be held responsible for:

·        not protecting local bird species or their habitats

·        the destruction of habitat

·        the destruction of nest sites

·        disturbing them deliberately.

 

The DfT have NOT indicated if they will:

·        create protective zones

·        maintain habitats

·        restore destroyed biotopes

·        create biotopes.

 

 

 

As signatories to EC directives on nature conservation and being one of the 150 signatories at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, the Government recognised that action must be taken to halt the global loss of animal and plant species and genetic resources, and that each country has a primary responsibility to conserve and enhance biodiversity within its own jurisdiction. This commitment resulted in the formation in 1994 of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP). Further commitment by the Government to this was given at the recent World Earth Summit on the Environment.

 

The very suggestion that Stansted should be expanded and the subsequent destruction of the surrounding habitat, flies in the face of International Environmental Agreements and the UKBAP, made on our behalf.

 

The impression given is that the Government pays lip service to EC directives and does little to ensure their success. Taking the cheaper option ‘in the country’s economic interest’ and by merely paying lip service to EC directives is a complete disregard for public opinion. The only conclusion that the general public will draw, if the expansion at Stansted is allowed, is that the Government, are not accountable to International Agreements and Law. They want to appear to support world issues and opinions, but in reality do not support them at all.

 

The case for additional runway space for the projected passenger number increase in the UK has yet to be proven. If however, the case is proven, the Government, will be judged on its integrity by providing a site that meets its own criteria: -

·     a four + runway air port that can be operational twenty fours a day with few restrictions.

 

This equates to an offshore / estuarial airport site and not the continued expansion of Inland Airports.

 

*****

 

 

ENCLOSURE 2

 

The Future Development of Air Transport in the UK :

South East - Consultation Paper

 

COMPENSATION RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Takeley Parish Council propose a levy of around £2.00 - £2.50 per passenger, per flight.

This would help to pay both environmental and compensation costs. This, if levied now, would build up a fund to pay adequate compensation to those affected by any airport development at an early stage.

 

For all those properties not covered by the Compulsory Purchase Order Scheme:-

 

1)      All those properties close to the airport perimeter, i.e. within at least 800m, should

have an offer to purchase at “no scheme” value.

 

2)  Those properties which would be subjected to a large increase in noise, or which will suffer a projected increase in noise of 3dBa or more, or exposed to a noise level above 57dBA, should have an offer to purchase at “no scheme value”, or if the owner does not wish to move -  loss of value compensation should be offered.

 

3) For those properties which do not fall within the categories above, cash compensation for loss of value of properties should be offered for any property within the noise contours of 54dBA to 57dBA.

 

4) Any other property, which is affected by significant increase in noise, other than those mentioned above, should be eligible for noise insulation.  For any property eligible for noise insulation, a cash payment should be offered.  The reason being that those properties may already have such insulation such as double-glazing, to disenfranchise these properties is unfair.  A cash payment would help those properties to instigate other measures to alleviate the problem of noise.

 

5) Compensation should be paid to those whose properties will be affected by development such as the physical disturbance caused by the actual development works i.e. noise, dust etc.

 

For all CPO and compensation cases:-

 

A)    Home Loss payments – the figures need to be adjusted to reflect the high property prices of many areas.  A figure of 10% with a minimum of £1,500.00 and a maximum of £15,000.00 paid, which relate to property values of between £15,000.00 to £150,000.00 is derisory, especially in an area where even the cheapest properties sell for over £150,000.00 and many are valued at £500,000.00

plus.  Therefore, we would suggest that a minimum Home-Loss payment of £1,500.00 and a maximum of £50,000.00 should be payable to those whose properties meet the requirements as mentioned above.

 

B)     Compensation such as the Home-Loss payments for tenants should have some regard for the size of the rented property. Estate Agents use the number of bedrooms as a rough guide to property values and we would therefore suggest that a flat rate of £2,000.00 be paid to properties of up to one bedroom, £3,000.00 (2 bedrooms), £4,000.00 (3 bedrooms), £5,000.00 (4 bedrooms and above

 

Compensation, or offer to purchase, for those affected by airport development should be paid as soon as the White Paper is published.

 

When the Consultation Paper was released it had an immediate effect on the surrounding areas.  Those, whose properties where for sale found it impossible to complete sales, and values dropped.  The same will happen when the  White Paper is published.  Although it is often the case that when the development stage is completed  property values rise again, in the interim period, they drop.  This must be recognised by the government, and compensation paid early.  Extra capacity of the scale envisaged by the government cannot be made over night and will take many years to complete (up to 2030). People cannot necessarily wait years for their property to be sold, and compensation for loss of value must be paid from the initial announcement. 

 

The method of noise measurements should be reassessed.  These should reflect the differing ambient background noise levels in rural and urban areas.  Also, noise measurement should not only reflect the air noise levels, but also ground noise – including the additional infrastructure such as road and rail links.

 

The Government must also give some thought as to how to handle future announcements, such as the publication of Consultation Papers.  It is unfair to make it impossible for people to sell their properties just because of a consultation period.  We would suggest a proposal to pay “loss of value” compensation, or offer to buy ought to be made to those who can prove either that their property was on the market prior to the announcement,  that either they have already paid a deposit on another property, or that they have a recognised need to move sooner rather than later.

 

 

***

 

 

 

ENCLOSURE 3.

 

The Future Development of Transport in the United Kingdom:

South East

 

HERITAGE REPORT

 

Stansted Airport (The Parish of Takeley)

Page 67

Paragraph 9.23

 

The heritage of Takeley has been grossly understated in the Department of Transport Consultation Document. In reality the parish is renowned for the number of Grade II listed buildings to be found within its boundary. Only one paragraph in the Report is given to the devastating effects that expansion will have on the heritage of Takeley and the surrounding area.

 

The history of Takeley is a reflection of the history of England.

 

When the last glaciers melted they left behind fingers of sand and gravel interspersed with boulder clay. The higher, drier land to the north of Takeley was successfully colonised by Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age man.

 

This is the beginning of the History of Takeley.

 

Recently excavated remains from the Bronze Age and Iron Age are particularly impressive; Romano-British, Anglo-Saxon and Medieval man then occupied the same sites.

 

Other sites in the parish show clear signs of Roman occupation, evidenced by the numerous tile and brick fragments scattered all over the fields. This is hardly surprising as the important Stane Street route forms the southern boundary of the parish. The recent work on the eastern boundary has again thrown up the presence of a Romano-British population.

 

To the west of the parish, towards the River Stort, was the border of two ancient tribes; this was also the boundary between the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and the Danelaw. It is now the Hertfordshire-Essex border.

 

The parish has an Anglo-Saxon name (settlement-next-to-open-forest); the evidence suggests that this was an area of early Anglo-Saxon colonisation. Certainly by the time of the Norman Conquest there were four established manors in Takeley.

 

By the Tudor period Takeley had become prosperous and had recovered from the losses of the Black Death in the 14th century, as shown in the Patent Rolls. This prosperity is born out by the wealth of beautiful houses to be found throughout the parish. These listed buildings (over 60 of them) are protected by law from inappropriate change and destruction, but not apparently from the acquisitive arm of Department for Transport.

 

The hamlet of Mole Hill Green is rich in heritage with many grade ll buildings; it is a village in its own right with the 19century village school still serving the village as its hall and meeting place. The local inn, The Three Horseshoes, is an integral part in village life.

 

Waltham Hall is attached to the hamlet of Mole Hill Green, which is proposed for annihilation. The green or ‘manorial waste’ was probably the site of the ‘Fair and Market’ granted by Henry III. It still has a rich selection of medieval field names as well as houses of the period. The last remaining manor, of Waltham, has close associations with the ancient abbey of the same name. This site is also destined for destruction.

 

Bambers Green is a very old hamlet with numerous Grade ll listed houses. It is also the site of an ancient ‘by way’, Cobbs Lane. The proposals mean that Bambers Green will become uninhabitable.

 

The whole area has an enormously rich history.

 

The indications are that there is more archaeology to be uncovered within the area of the proposed expansion. This archaeology, once found, would like other sites be covered by Airport facilities, obliterated and lost to the nation.

 

Warish Hall Manor is one of the sites proposed for destruction; this is the last remaining Domes day site in the parish, (two other Domes day manors, Colchester Hall and Bassingbourne Hall, have already been sacrificed, being demolished during the last Stansted Airport expansion).