Anybody following my work on the Airport will by now have observed how I think. Firstly I read the published material and anything I don’t understand I research until I do. I then stand back and try to visualise how it will affect this village. This started for me back in the early 1980s while the original public enquiry was running because we had found a house we liked in the village and because of the planning blight we could afford it! We agreed terms in 1984 and after prolonged conveyance problems moved in 1985.
For nearly twenty years the house and village was perfect for us then the expansion issues started to get serious and looked initially to be a considerable threat. I followed them all and spent a lot of time researching them but now things are changing. As the plans crystallise they become progressively less threatening. The more research I did and the better I understood the issues the less vulnerable I became to media sensationalism.
Just recently the last of my major concerns went away; I now see a new road down to Priory Wood roundabout as an improvement over current facilities.
Noise has never been an issue for me. If you look at the satellite view of the village and see the approximate centre of the main settlement of Elsenham as the junction between De Mandeville Road and Station Road then my house is in the middle of the southern half. For aircraft noise then 25% of the villagers will hear a bit more but 75% will hear less, than me. In the early hours it is very quiet and its not unusual to hear the distant rumble of jet engines but as an illustration, the other day this gave way to a roar of take-off which was immediately blotted out by a squabble between two sparrows. Then a train went through complete with toots and by the time my peace and quiet was restored the plane was long gone. Now I find I cannot reasonably complain about that plane. Other times I don’t hear the planes at all but then the motorway noise takes its place but is continuous. Again however local sounds easily dominate. Wind from the west brings motorway noise but then we only see landing aircraft and they do that very quietly from our position.
Some of the earlier “G2 options” were horrendous and I fought them as hard as I could but the final form of the G2 proposal complete with its new roads is not. One by one my concerns have been dealt with, I think, because they were real and had to be covered. I am now finding that I have no issues left!
This does not mean I automatically become pro-expansion but it does mean I can stand back and see the development in a wider context and one issue then stands out beyond all the others; climate change!
Please let us be clear, runways do not burn fuel, aircraft do. If Stansted hits its cap and no second runway is built then very large numbers of aircraft will simply go elsewhere. Our locally manufactured exports will go somehow and imports will return, our tourists will fly out and foreign tourists will fly in and vice versa, they will simply have to find the capacity elsewhere. The problem is that if all these goods and passengers actually wanted to use Stansted then the other airports were clearly less desirable in some way. Where the alternative is further away the problem is obvious, a lorry to move the goods, possibly coming back empty then a longer flight; a similar problem with passengers.
Climate change issues are running on emotion not science. It seems to be the main part of Uttlesford’s case but is utterly wrong because should it succeed in blocking the development it will in the cold light of logic and reason be seen to increase the consumption of fossil fuels nationally! Dropping this issue would actually improve the credibility of our case on appeal, sadly however all our other issues have been used at every prior stage without success. I have heard no new material for a long time.
I have, for a very long time published the scientific evidence that carbon emissions are not the reason for our long history of chaotic weather variations but having said that I do accept that fossil fuels are a very finite resource and reserves are running down. As time goes on we are using progressively more expensive deposits and future scarcity will also drive up prices. This is the main threat to future western economies, not an imagined carbon dioxide problem.
Finally it was recently pointed out by somebody with such a vantage point that its only necessary to travel as far as Braintree for Airport expansion, far from being a perceived threat, being seen as a great asset instead, a mere 13 miles and we drop to the status of NIMBYs.