Following Southend Airport’s announcement regarding the change in schedule of the night flights, many residents have contacted me raising further issues. As a result of those emails I then contacted the CEO of Southend Airport, Glyn Jones, to ask for further clarification. He explained the reasons for some of the unscheduled movements being as a result of a bird strike and for safety reasons the airport followed the correct procedures. I am not responsible for how this matter was later represented by the local press, but I am responsible for what I post on Twitter or on my website. It is most unfortunate that a number of ill-informed comments have now appeared. As the Member of Parliament for Southend West, I have on behalf of local residents been engaging with many issues concerning the activities of the airport since first being elected in 1997. The public record will show that from the very outset I opposed for instance the development of a runway, which with the original plan would have meant putting St Laurence Church on rollers and moving it 100 yards - a plan that was totally unacceptable and ill-thought out. I pay tribute to those residents who stopped that action happening and they should get full credit for it. So it is that today the only people who should be getting credit for the airport changing its aircraft movements are those residents who I have met and who have brought their concerns to my attention. Clarity is needed from everyone on this issue who is affected by aircraft movements, particularly those who hold an elected office. My own position on the airport should be well known and is most certainly not popular with everyone. If there is any constituent who does not know my view on the airport and its relationship with constituents living under the flight path, I would be pleased to hear from them so I can share my view with them. Finally, much has been said about the Section 106 agreement; who made it, who are party to it and how it can be changed if people don’t like it. There has also been concerns expressed about the powers of the Airport Consultative Committee, in that regard I have written to the Chairman of the committee for clarification not only of its membership, but of its powers. I have been advised that the quickest way to change the Section 106 Agreement will be when the airport applies to the local authority for further planning permission. For that reason clarity in every respect is so important.
Sir David Amess MP