ELF Regional Airport Expansion Event at 39 Essex Chambers

By clairefowler

Held on 28th November at 39 Essex Chambers, our second community event welcomed community and professional friends of ELF to an afternoon of richly experienced speakers talking about regional airport expansion across the UK.

With Richard Wald, barrister and Trustee of ELF in the chair, we heard from the experienced professionals such as Rajesh Alagh, doughty borough solicitor at London Borough of Hillingdon who for over 10 years has been involved in protecting the Council’s residents from the expansion of Heathrow. We heard from seasoned campaigners such as John Stewart of HACAN and Brian Ross of Stop Stanstead who shared their secrets of success in holding off local airport expansion. Will Rundle, head of legal at FOE, described their efforts to have our climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement recognised as a factor in the legal challenge to the third Heathrow runway. Professional ELF members, such as Stephen Tromans QC, (a past chair of ELF) updated delegates on the current UK air quality legislation. We are grateful to Tim Johnson and Deborah Lovatt, Director and Community Outreach Manager (respectively) at the Aviation Environment Federation who came and gave us an overview of the current airport expansion plans across the UK. Is there a rush to have expansion plans approved before government policy changes as surely it must in response to climate change targets? Lastly we heard from Jason and Samara Jones-Hall, local residents involved with the Manston Airport Development Consent Order process, due to be decided soon. The extraordinary lengths the Jones-Hall’s went to was an indication of the complexity faced by communities and an inspiring lesson in effective public participation in environmental decision making. We were lucky, too, to have Nigel Pleming QC join us for the questions panel to conclude.

THANK YOU to all participants for making it such a useful afternoon. The shared interests and experiences highlighted the importance and value of these events. We must do more!