Southend Judicial Review applicant wins right to oral hearing

SAEN JR Applicant Wins Right to Oral Hearing
SAEN[1] has learned that a renewal of claim for permission to apply for Judicial
Review has been filed with the High Court.

This means that a 20-minute hearing in front of a High Court judge will take
place later this year. We understand that it is usual for such a hearing for take
place within two months

SAEN spokesman, Denis Walker, revealed that all grounds for refusal are being
challenged by the lawyers pursuing the case on behalf of one of SAEN’s members.
He said: “We are now in the position that the initial refusal is effectively meaningless.
The decision will now be taken by the judge presiding over the Oral Hearing. We
look forward to confirmation of the date of that hearing.

“We would urge the Council and the Airport to show restraint during this period
and not to start work on the link road between Eastwoodbury Lane and Nestuda Way,
at least until the outcome of this hearing is known.”

The link road forms part of the same planning application as the runway extension
and could easily be overturned by the Judicial Review.

The Council is currently in the process of closing a footpath to allow work to
commence as if the Judicial Review had already been decided, and so this closure

Mr Walker added: “As for Cllr Longley’s assertion that we should ‘settle our
differences’ with the Airport, he really should be utterly ashamed of himself.
Residents of his ward, Blenheim Park, will be some of the worst-affected by the
airport’s expansion and he is doing nothing to protect their interests. It’s as
if he’s joined the Tories.”


Notes to Editors

  1. “Stop Airport Extension Now” (SAEN) was formed to campaign against the runway
    extension at Southend Airport. The group is not opposed to the Airport itself,
    which has co-existed with the residents of Southend for many years. SAEN is against
    the runway extension, which would lead to a massive increase in flights and destroy
    the lives of the people living, working or going to school anywhere near the flightpath.

For further information:

see earlier

High Court initial refusal of legal challenge to Southend Airport plan

3.2.2011 (Southend Echo)
By John Geoghegan

The legal challenge to Southend Airport’s runway extension has been thrown out.

The judicial review application by a campaigner against the runway extension
plans was dismissed by a High Court judge this week, it was confirmed today.

Both the airport and campaigners Stop Airport Extension Now  (SAEN) said they
had received confirmation from the court about the judge’s decision.

It means plans to extend the runway by about 300m to accommodate bigger, more
modern aircraft, are ready for take-off, bar a council agreement on the airport
link to Echo article
The local Conservative MP, James Duttridge (Cons) tweets at  link   
“15:19 James Duddridge tweets: The application for permission to apply for Judicial
Review for Southend Airport has been refused – great news! “
SAEN says:
The High Court has refused permission for the Judicial Review being pursued by
one of our members. The situation is not as straight-forward as this makes it
sound and the media and airport supporters are under the impression that it’s
all over for us.
This is not the case and having checked the details with the applicant and the
solicitors, SAEN have published a comprehensive explanation on the SAEN website

Denis Walker from SAEN was also interviewed on BBC Essex Drivetime this afternoon
and a recording of that is available at:



What the court’s decision means  – by SAEN

Southend Council, the Airport and their supporters are unsurprisingly playing
up today’s announcement that the High Court has refused a SAEN member permission
to proceed with a Judicial Review of the decision to approve planning permission
on the runway extension at Southend Airport.  However, this is by no means the
end of our campaign or even the chances of getting a Judicial Review.

We are told by the solicitors, Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law, that an initial refusal is in fact relatively common. The next step, which
the Judicial Review applicant has seven days to take, is to make a request for
an Oral Hearing. This would be a 20-minute hearing within about two months at
which the applicant’s Barrister would put the case before a different judge from
the one that took today’s decision. It’s entirely possible that this judge would
reach a different conclusion.  If they didn’t, the option of appealing against
the decision would still be open to the applicant.

As you can see, this makes it clear that we are only part-way through a fairly
lengthy process and that the current refusal is by no means final.

The airport is a huge cost to the local taxpayers. Southend Council has given
the airport many millions of pounds over the last decade and yet we’ve learned
this week that the Council has
debts of nearly £220million – well over £1000 for every man, woman and child in the Borough.  All we have
to show for the millions handed to the airport are the 60 or so job vacancies
advertised recently by Stobart.  We must not forget that there have been about
300 redundancies since they took over the airport.

Nigel Holdcroft talks about “environmental controls” he has negotiated with the
airport if the runway extension goes ahead, but they are virtually meaningless.
The airport has permission for 915 night flights a month and uses a tiny fraction
of them. The proposed cut to 120 a month won’t affect them at all, while the loophole
allowing unlimited Quota Count exempt planes to fly at night means that residents
have no assurance of a quiet night’s sleep and will be guaranteed frequent noisy
interruptions during the day by flights to Ireland (
link ) and possibly the continent.

The closure of Eastwoodbury Lane that the runway extension would force will add
nearly a mile to journeys between Rochford and Eastwood and make it impossible
for people living east of the runway to take the short walk to St Laurence Church
as the runway would get in the way.  Add to this the pollution and increase in
traffic congestion the airport would cause and it’s hard to see why anyone would
support the proposal.

When asked, they usually trot out some line about local economic benefit but
are entirely unable to provide any facts to back the assertion up.  We’ve learned
this week that it seems Stobart even want to take away business from local taxi
drivers by running their own taxi service.

On top of all this are the global issues of Climate Change and Peak Oil.  Oil
is now about $100 a barrel – the highest it’s been since the spike that in 2007
kick-started the recession.  Meanwhile big business and western governments have
been busily preventing any progress being made at the climate change negotiations
first in Copenhagen and more recently in Cancún.
While it is undeniable that on a global scale, Southend Airport’s expansion would
not be a big contributor to these problems, the fact remains that it would contribute to making them worse.  Given the undeniable fact that we have a finite
amount of oil remaining, one has to ask: to what better use could the oil used
to power these planes be put? If it was used for agriculture, how many people
would it feed?