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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Open Letter to the management of Gloucestershire Airport

Dear Mark and Darren,

On behalf of the Camp Hope, I would like to thank you both for allowing our protest to go ahead this weekend. I would also like you to pass on our thanks to your security personnel who were professional and reasonable at all times. Furthermore, I would like to thank you both for coming down to the camp and meeting with us for a debate, even if it was robust and we were still unable to reach a consensus at the end.

I would also like to specifically thank Darren for agreeing to hand out the fliers that we prepared. As you are aware, the flier shows the current temperature forecasts from the IPCC reports. To confirm my answers to Darren’s questions on the robustness of the data, the graph is the consensual opinion of 2,500 of the worlds leading climate scientists. It is a devastating graph, as it will take the temperatures of our planet into regions that are far beyond survivable and well within the lifetime of our children. We are currently most likely to experience the worst case projections. In answer to Darren’s second question of what the government is doing about it, the sad answer is very little and that is ultimately why we spent the weekend on your doorstep trying to raise awareness. I do hope that we have been successful in this.

As you are aware my position is primarily from the perspective of global warming. However, the vociferous reaction of locals to the airport took me aback, with many of them being concerned about both noise and pollution. One Staverton resident told us that every second house in his street seems to have a cancer victim and this concurs with research which shows cancer clusters around airports, see
http://www.areco. org/ExpAir. pdf

I was however disappointed to find out that the fliers were not physically handed to the passengers, but instead simply left in the center of the terminal building. Whilst I accept that they were in a prominent position, it was a breach of what we agreed. I trust that you will rectify this and arrange for the fliers to be handed our as agreed.

I am sorry that Mark still considers us to be extremists and fanatics. However in the light of the IPCC report, which he claims to have read, it is difficult to see how he can maintain this position. We contend that he is a fanatic by pursuing an environmentally damaging business development in the light of the evidence clear warnings on climate change.

As such we will continue working with our solicitors to bring a case for breach of human rights and breach of natural law if you are successful with your planning application. This case would be directed at either yourselves or the council for approving the application.

It is disappointing that your organization is still trying to perpetuate the myth that there is no expansion. If you want to define expansion strictly on the size of your perimeter fence, then it would be true to say that there is not expansion. However, this is not important, what is important is the number of flights and size of planes that you expect, and you both acknowledge that these will increase.

It is also sad that you are still trying to pursue the argument that safety is the objective, when your proposal introduces a new safety risks by traffic lighting Bramfurlong Lane to ensure high sided vehicles do not encroach on the approach path of planes.

Your argument that you are only adding 12m of additional tarmac may be true, but you omitted to mention that this extension opens up access to an extended run off area. Thus the effective runway increase will be well beyond the 12m that you quote.

With these mis-truths, you are misleading your investors who are the council tax paying public that will underwrite your investment.

We will of course continue our protest, and will stage other events at the airport at a time and place of our choosing.

Yours Kevin Lister

on behalf of Camp Hope

Many thanks to all who came to the Camp Hope

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Many thanks to all who came and offered us their support at Camp Hope. It has exceeded all expectations and started many new ideas for further campaigning initiatives in the fight against global warming.

My thanks also goes to all those who did the workshops and the feedback from these has been excellent.

I believe that we have achieved a major first by getting an airport to hand out fliers warning about global warming and advising passengers not to fly.

Darren Lewington, Airport Operations Director, receiving the fliers and committing to handing them out to passengers.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

2nd letter to Prince Charles

Dear Prince Charles,

Please pass on my thanks to your staff for replying to our invite to our mini climate camp at Staverton Airport.

We are extremely disappointed that you will not be able to come to the camp, but understand that you may have other more pressing and important issues.

Whilst we understand that you are not able to come to the camp, we thought it would send a powerful message to the airport and its backers for you to at least express concern about the environmental implications of their proposals. You have after all been an excellent advocate of global warming, however the problem that we now have is that we have to make hard choices and we have to make them fast. Making hard choices is by definition hard. It is also harder than just making speeches about global warming and raising awareness, but being able to make hard choices in hard times is what sets out the leaders of our society.

My children have been inspired by your speeches on the environment. So much so, that my son will not fly, he cycles everywhere and has spent much of this summer growing his own vegetables. It was therefore with regret that I read that Prince William and Kate had flown to Seychelles for a holiday, Prince Harry has flown to the South France to watch Rugby (again), and it seems everyone has flown to Balmoral for a shooting holiday. Unfortunately, this is just a bit hypocritical, and quite frankly insults those of us who have listened to your speeches with concern and are doing our best to reduce our emissions.

Whilst we understand that you “made absolutely no comment on the future of Staverton Airport,” you have been drawn into the debate by the airport’s management and its supporters. I would suggest that duty calls for you to be unequivocal in your opposition to their proposals given the concerns that you have raised about global warming.

A copy of this letter will be published on my blog,

Kevin Lister

Response from Prince Charles' office on climate camp

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Text of letter from Prince Charles's office

From: The Private Secretary to
TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall
4th October, 2007

Dear Mr. Lister,

Thank you for your letter of the 21st September to The Prince of Wales.

I do just want to make it clear that His Royal Highness has made absolutely no comment on the future of Staverton Airport. His visit in the Summer was simply a transport stop to allow him to see some of those hardest hit by the floods. He made no public comment about the Airport then and, I have to say that I do not think Mr Pullen's letter indicates that he did. He would, of course, have thanked the staff for helping the community when that is what they did.

As I am sure you understand, The Prince of Wales is not in a position to comment on any planning applications. In any event, I do not think that His Royal Highness needs to make any further comments on the threat of global warming as he has been making speeches on the subject for fifteen years!

It was particularly kind of you to invite His Royal Highness to attend your mini-climate camp in October, but I am afraid he will be away at the time.

Thank you again for writing as you did - it was much appreciated.

Miss ElizabethJHichanan

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The tax payer will have to bail out the airport - letter to the Echo and Councillors

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Dear Editor

In Peter Jacques letter on 25th Sept he claims “The airport's assets will always be greater than its liabilities, borrowing to finance any improvements will, in no way, affect council taxpayers and there'll be no need for any future bailing out." We have down loaded a copy of the airports accounts from Company’s House for review against his statement.

These accounts show the net assets of the airport are only £2,518,273. The business plan estimates that expenditure will be £2.19 million, but this estimate has not been validated and could easily rise to up to £3million. Furthermore, the airport only has £406,437 cash in hand, so the development will have to be funded entirely through borrowing.

As the total loan will most likely be higher than the assets, then the council tax payer will have to back the loan. Given the warnings of economic recession and escalating fuel prices, then if the business that the airport is relying on does not materialise, then the council tax payer will be left to pick up the bill. Alternatively, if the airport has to comply with environmental concerns such as restricted opening times, it will limit its revenue and increase the likelihood of requiring a council tax bail out.

It is clear that what ever way this development is viewed, it is bad for the council tax payer. They will either suffer increased noise and pollution, or have the risk of bailing out a failed investment.