Mione Goldspink's article for the Flyer, August 2017
By Mione Goldspink in The Flyer
Local Matters with Mione Goldspink
I have just returned from the exhibition about the proposals for further development of Stansted Airport. The Airport is seeking permission to increase passenger numbers from the present permitted number of 35 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 44.5 million. The number of aircraft flights would rise from 274,000 (permitted) to 285,000. The actual numbers of passengers and flights this year, at 25mppa and 181,000, are well below the existing permissions, which makes me wonder about the reason for this new application - it does seem very premature.
However, since the whole community is being asked for its views, I will contribute my ideas to the public consultation. My biggest worry about the increased activity would be the enormous increase in associated car journeys and traffic congestion. It has been estimated the present number per week-day, could rise from 36,000 to 65,000. This would have a serious impact on local traffic congestion and air pollution. I note that the Airport says that it would encourage more people to use public transport (by raising parking charges even higher) - but, I doubt if that would be sufficient. The Airport also declares that it would "push for faster trains", and it would contribute some funds to improve some major roads and junctions. But, the Airport has no powers to actually do these things, so these ambitions are merely flimsy wishes.
I accept the Airport as it is, and acknowledge that it is a major local employer and a good regional facility. I would be content for it to increase its activity up to its existing permitted levels. But, I cannot believe that it could expand any further without massive improvements in our local infrastructure. I would encourage everyone to "go on-line" and contribute to the consultation.
Another opportunity for public comments arises from the District Council's decision to up-grade Grange Paddocks Swimming Pool and Gym, but only by withdrawing the funding for the pools at Sawbridgeworth and Ware. I consider this to be blatantly unfair, and I call on the Council to think again.
On a grateful note, I must thank the County Council for unblocking the drains in Warwick Road and the London Road. I and my Lib-Dem colleagues have been asking for this to be done for over 2 years, and at last it has been done! - Thank You.
Mione Goldspink. (Chairman Bishop's Stortford Liberal Democrats).