Essex leads coalition to stop Stansted runway

Essex County Council's PR team is leading a coalition of councils that is campaigning against plans for a second runway at Stansted Airport.

Essex, Hertfordshire County Council, Suffolk County Council and a number of district councils are involved in the 'Councils Opposing a Second Runway' or 'CO2' campaign. Among them, the councils have a total of 2.5 million residents.

The councils' campaign will highlight the environmental damage a new runway would cause and the impact it would have on services provided by local authorities.

Essex's comms team will handle PR and public affairs. It is planning stunts, the lobbying of local MPs and ministers and press trips for local journalists to Heathrow, to show the 'potential blight' caused by a second runway.

Essex County Council head of media Giles Roca is managing the campaign. He said: 'It is about sticking up for our communities. We're keen to go on the offensive. The leadership is behind us - it is about making a noise.'

Council leader Lord Hanningfield said: 'If it goes ahead, it will have a severe impact on the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Essex residents with more pollution, traffic, noise and will place huge pressure on already overstretched infrastructure and public services.'

BAA submitted its planning application for a second runway earlier this month. Last year, Uttlesford District Council blocked plans to extend the existing runway at Stansted.

Essex media chief Roca is riding high on the back of the last campaign he ran for the council.

Essex's battle against post office closures garnered national press coverage and resulted in negotiations to keep branches open (15 February).

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