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COUNCIL READY FOR AIRPORT CHALLENGE

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Uttlesford DC have set aside almost£400,000 in a special fighting fund to deal with the challenge of a possible se...
Uttlesford DC have set aside almost£400,000 in a special fighting fund to deal with the challenge of a possible second runway at Stansted Airport.

At a council meeting on 16 February it was agreed to add to the preservation of the character of the district reserve which now stands at£386,000.

With the council expecting an application for the maximum use of the existing runway from BAA Stansted as soon as April this year, councillors wanted to emphasise the work being done by the council to protect the district.

Leader of the council, Mark Gayler, spoke to council saying that there was still much to do in defending the district's rural character and that it would be resolute in doing so.

'Others in this debate may have deeper pockets', he said the following day, 'but nobody should doubt our resolve'.

'We have appointed SH & E, a world renowned consultancy, to assess the robustness of BAA's forecasts and to guide us in aviation policy as we fight for our district's character and amenities.

'We know the community and know how important our way of life is to all of us. By bringing in consultants we now have the best aviation policy knowledge possible - we know the people, they know the industry.

'We also have on board external expertise on noise pollution, while being able to call on colleagues in other public bodies for their expertise in issue such as health, biodiversity and traffic forecasts.

'It is right that BAA should pay to make sure that their proposals are fully detailed: not just on how they will operate the airport, but also on how it will affect those who live next door.

'It is also right that we should commit resources to ensure that the information BAA provide is fully tested.

'We have also committed ourselves to the Nottingham Declaration on climate change, which commits local authorities to work with central government to contribute at a local level to the delivery of the UK climate change programme, the Kyoto protocol and the target for carbon dioxide reduction.

'The council has insisted that BAA accepts responsibility for the impact of the airport on local services, such as public rail transport, and ensures that local services are not downgraded to accommodate the demands of airport-related growth. This has resulted in 'One' adjusting its timetable to allow more trains to call at Stansted Mountfitchet.

'We say a loud and resounding no to another runway at Stansted Airport while still maintaining our independence and impartiality as the local planning authority.

'This situation assures the best for the district by allowing the people to make their voices heard via councillors and the ability for council officers to ensure what is best on a local level rather than apparatchiks in London deciding for us.

'BAA's consultation continues until 24 March, the council will be doing all it can to remind the people of Uttlesford to make their views known to BAA.'

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