Press Release: February 22nd 2011
Lydd Airport Action Group in “David and Goliath” battle over campaign Funding
Media attacks on LAAG’s receipt of a financial contribution from a socially responsible
Lush, fail to recognise the huge imbalance
in the financial resources of the two sides disputing the fate of
Lydd Airport in Kent. Opponents of the airport expansion are largely
reliant on funds raised by local people, while the proponents are
using a substantial amount of taxpayers’ money to finance their
campaign to support the cause of a Saudi billionaire.
Commenting on press
reports of Lush’s donation, Louise Barton (LAAG spokesperson) said:
“LAAG relies entirely
on voluntary donations to represent the interests of local residents
who are opposed to the development of Lydd Airport. Corporate support
is naturally welcome but so far we’ve not attracted much of it. The
majority of our funds come from ordinary people. Lush have a
charitable fund which supports environmental campaigners and felt our
case about the environmental damage posed by Lydd airport’s
development to unique habitats at Dungeness was worthy of support.
This support amounted to £10,000.”
Council which is supporting the development, contrary to the
recommendation of its own advisers, has spent £70,000 on one
consultant alone and has set aside £150,000 of taxpayers’ money to
conduct the Lydd airport inquiry.
LAAG has no access to
the airport owner’s financial status but The Guardian wrote in 1999
that Sheikh Fahad al Athel received an estimated £3billion for his
role as an intermediary in the controversial British Aerospace-Saudi
government ‘Al Yamamah’ arms deal.
In funding terms this
is a David and Goliath battle, attempts to smear LAAG’s modest
fund-raising are ridiculous.