Extinction Rebellion mobilises in Bishop's Stortford against Stansted Airport expansion
Extinction Rebellion (XR) East Herts is campaigning against Stansted Airport expansion this Saturday with a protest march in Bishop's Stortford.
Activists will assemble at the railway station at 11am for a demonstration against a planning appeal by Manchester Airports Group's (MAG).
The owner of the Uttlesford hub has asked for an independent inspector to rule on its planning application to be allowed to handle up to 43 million passengers a year, up from the current 35m cap, after Uttlesford District Council did a U-turn and refused permission.
Stansted maintains its proposals can be delivered without any increase in the 274,000 flights a year that are currently allowed, and include a legally binding commitment to reduce the airport's noise 'footprint' and implement an enhanced sound insulation scheme for householders.
The application was rejected by UDC's Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) administration on January 24 this year, despite having been conditionally approved by its Conservative predecessor in November 2018.
Planning committee members concluded MAG had failed to demonstrate that the extra flights would not result in an increased detrimental effect from noise, pollution and other environmental impacts. Councillors also regarded infrastructure proposals as inadequate.
Before both meetings, UDC officers and independent legal advisors advised there were no grounds to refuse the application.
XR East Herts is calling on MAG to withdraw its appeal on the grounds that expansion would generate 74,000 more flights each year. In 2018, the airport had 27m passengers and 198,124 flights.
The protesters, who are not affiliated with the Stop Stansted Expansion group, said: "This is a mass action calling upon MAG to withdraw its appeal. We are also calling upon the Government to stop airport expansion in line with the Paris Agreement and to 'Build Back Better' with green jobs."
The demonstration is set to last at least an hour. Participants are being asked to join the "fun, family-friendly march with lots of flags and placards" which will be accompanied by XR Chelmsford's samba band.
Social distancing will be observed and protesters are asked to wear masks, use hand sanitiser and not to share food or drink. They are also asked not to apply perfume or aftershave owing to allergies.
A spokesman for Stop Stansted Expansion, which has been fighting airport growth since 2002, said: "SSE wishes to make it clear that it has no affiliation whatsoever with Extinction Rebellion."
* In a previous version of this article, we inaccurately reported that Stop Stansted Expansion had “joined forces” with Extinction Rebellion for the protest. This was not the case, and we would like to make clear that Stop Stansted Expansion is in no way affiliated with Extinction Rebellion. We would like to apologise to Stop Stansted Expansion for this error.