Thursday, 10 February 2011

Airport latest

We now have confirmation that having had her application for Judicial Review thrown out at the first hurdle the legally aided SAEN supporter is now asking for a review of the decision at an oral hearing. I don't know whether this latest step is also legally aided but if so let's throw some more public money at this! Whatever may be suggested to the contrary anybody who loses an application for JR at the this point may apply for a review hearing without any leave or approval of the court so long as the application is lodged within 7 days. This next step does not indicate that anybody (other than SAEN and their supporter(s)) thinks the original decision was wrong. In the meantime the majority of residents, whichever side of the debate they are on, want to move to the debate on the lease variation so that the choice is clear - airport expansion with runway extension and enviromental controls or airport expansion with no extension or controls. The planning decision was taken following the specialist advice of council planning officers, was reviewed by the then Secretary of State and approved, and how now been ratified by a High Court judge on a very clear cut basis.

The joys of pavement politics

Was out last night delivering our latest In Touch to residents across part of the Highlands Estate. It is interesting delivering leaflets in the dark as it adds the perils of dark pathways (with hidden steps) and difficult to locate letter boxes to the usual challenge of dogs. It never fails to astound me how badly designed many letter boxes are, making the delivery of a leaflet tricky, never mind post or newspapers. You would think that when designing a letter box some thought would be given to how easy it is to post documents - that is after all the only purpose of it, but apparently no. It is also of concern that in increasing numbers of cases dogs leap aggressively at the letterbox whilst attempts are being made by the deliverer to beat the draft excluder and it astounds me that more injuries do not occur.I do wonder if owners are aware of their potential liability for the actions of their dog and whether any of their usual post is readable. And it isn't just because I am a politicial that they go for me because under the cover of darkness my identity is safe! Delivering leaflets is also a great way to keep a check on pavement and road conditions as well as any non working lights. I have sent my report in to council officers today and for residents of Braemar Crescent repairs to the road surface are due soon!!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Airport expansion & SAEN

I was asked yesterday to comment on BBC Radio Essex about the High Court decision and was followed by Denis Walker - local supported of SAEN and Friends of the Earth. 3 things struck me from his comments. It was interesting that he regarded a decision by a specialist High Court judge that the claims were not even arguable as an unsurprising first step and further pursual of the matter with the backing of legal aid as apparently inevitable. He made much of the SAEN "community contribution" as justifying the financial support the organisation is giving to the application. I would be interested to know hom much this is in the context of the costs incurred to date. Finally he continued to argue that the majority of residents of the town are opposed to airport expansion.That is not borne out by my experience canvassing door to door, speaking at public meetings or from my e mail inbox.

Airport decision

So after a delay of many months we have received the decision of a High Court judge on the legally aided application for a judicial review on the airport runway planning application. His view is that none of the the claimant (Laura Millard) grounds for a judicial review are arguable and the application has therefore been rejected.It is pleasing that the Judge has justified the process adopted by the Council although perhaps not surprising bearing in mind that great effort that was taken to ensure that the application was dealt with in a proper manner. The process was also reviewed and approved by the then Secretary of State. No doubt SAEN will press for a review of the decision and then there remains the issue of a possible appeal. My view remains that the sooner the Council moves forward to debate whether or not to agree to a variation to the lease to allow a runway extension to be built the better. The real decision is should the airport be allowed to expand as it wishes but with a strong package of enviromental controls or be forced to operate on its current runway without adequate enviromental controls. As a resident of Leigh I know which I would prefer. In the meantime the airport needs to be able to plan its future activities and generate employment whilst resident need the longstanding issue to be resolved once and for all.