Friends of the Earth call for end to airport expansion
by Paul Giles
AN ALTERNATIVE, eco-friendly vision for the future of Southend has been created by South East Essex Friends of the Earth.
The plans reject further expansion of flights from London Southend Airport and the proposed construction of 1,000 homes being build on flood plains east of Southend by Southend Renaissance.
Key elements of the plan include pushing for energy efficiency and renewable technologies to ensure that developers are carbon neutral, while homeowners would also get a council tax reduction for installing renewable energy devices such as solar panels.
Denis Walker, from South East Essex Friends of the Earth, thinks Southend Renaissance had not taken energy efficiency into account in its masterplan and seemed unaware that the Government’s new planning policy statement introduced later this year requires local authorities to promote renewable technologies.
He said: “Essentially our plan is geared towards stopping the expansion of the airport – climate change is a massive issue at the moment and is something that needs tackling.
“It seems ridiculous to build on flood plains as none of the insurance companies will give out any policies and it’s inevitable the homes will flood eventually.”
Giles Tofield, from Southend Renaissance, said the company welcomed the alternative plan.
He said: “We are willing to explore some of the aspects of the alternative plan and engage in a face-to-face talk with them.
“Each and every future development will be down to planning processes that will take into account flooding.
“We wouldn’t support building in areas that flood and there aren’t that many in Southend. National guidance will not be ignored in any aspect of regenerating Southend.”
The plan also highlights the introduction of eco-tourism by constructing two wind turbines with viewing platforms and promoting South East Essex as a destination for cycling, sailing and windsurfing.
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