CAMPAIGNERS against the expansion of Southend Airport are urging people not to holiday abroad, in a bid to boost the UK economy and save the planet.

Green Party activist Rupert Read was addressing a meeting of about 50 people at Southend library, organised by the party to oppose the Stobart Group’s expansion plans for the airport.

Mr Read is a Green councillor in Norwich and the party’s lead candidate for the East of England in the European elections.

As well as Mr Read, the group also heard from Kitti Theobald, chairman of campaign group Stop Airport Extension Now.

Mr Read told the meeting: “This is vital battle for the future of the planet and I believe it’s one we can win. A lot of flying is not essential, so there is no need to keep on expanding airports and building new runways.

“A lot of business could be carried out through video conferencing rather than by travelling thousand of miles across the globe.

“People do not have to go abroad for their holidays.

“They can stay in Britain and keep the money here, which will help the economy.

“There are other ways, such as travelling by ship in a more leisurely way as people used to. Perhaps the old ways will be coming back.”

Ms Theobald told the meeting there was clearly strong support for the campaign opposing the airport expansion plans.

She added: “Hundreds of people are contacting us and asking how they can help in our aims.

“I want to warn people, because Southend is a 24-hour airport, there are going to be night flights which will cause disturbance and sleepless nights for many people.”