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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 June, 2003, 12:17 GMT 13:17 UK
Chef Jamie hits back at air advert
Jamie Oliver at a Stop Stansted Expansion demonstration
Jamie Oliver has been a vocal critic of airport expansion
Television chef Jamie Oliver has hit back at an industry group's attack on airline travelling celebrities who oppose airport expansion.

The group Freedom to Fly plans to put out a series of adverts featuring photographs of Mr Oliver, who lives in Clavering, Essex, and former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, who lives in Hartest, Suffolk.

Both are leading campaigners against the expansion of Stansted Airport.

The adverts will say both celebrities are regular airline passengers and will use the headline: "They fly. Why shouldn't you?"

But the adverts, which are expected to run in local newspapers such as the East Anglian Daily Times, have been criticised by Mr Oliver and anti-expansion campaigners.

Airport protesters
Protestors say the expansion would destroy the countryside

Mr Oliver criticised Freedom to Fly, which is funded primarily by British Airways and airport operator BAA, and defended his position.

He said in a statement: "I am not against people flying and I am not against airports.

"In my line of business, I have to travel around the world by air and I have never denied that fact," he said.

"What I object to is the destruction of vast swathes of English countryside and the massive increase in noise and pollution to be suffered by millions of people in south-east England if the Stansted expansion goes ahead or Heathrow or Gatwick for that matter."

'Unprecedented expansion'

Carol Barbone, Stop Stansted Expansion campaign director, said: "When your opponent stoops to personal vilification you can be confident that you are winning the argument.

"BAA and its ilk are clearly clutching at straws now in a last ditch attempt to get their own way.

"This is an own goal for the aviation industry given that Jamie Oliver and Terry Waite are frank, honest, outspoken and representatives of the people with their common sense views.

"They, like all the campaign groups, are not opposed to flying but the unprecedented scale of expansion which is being proposed by the Department of Transport with the backing of the aviation lobby."

Dan Hodges, from Freedom to Fly, said he had no objection to celebrities campaigning against new runways, but "to do so while flying so frequently smacks of hypocrisy".

He said the group understood the concerns of local people, but extra runways are needed if people want to continue to fly.

Judge reviews Stansted plans
13 Nov 02  |  England
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07 Oct 02  |  England
Airport expansion plans unveiled
23 Jul 02  |  Politics

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