Marshall responds to SCAM protests over new terminal


A campaign protesting against plans for a new terminal at Cambridge Airport by an organisation called SCAM (South Cambridgeshire against Marshall) has prompted a response from the airport operators, Marshall of Cambridge.

Apparently SCAM has not been in touch with Marshall and the motives of this small protest group are not clear. However, says Marshall, SCAM has been placing 'unsigned, highly emotive and grossly inaccurate leaflets' through residents' letterboxes.

Marshall has asked Cambridge Network to publish a statement, which also provides some comments in response to the claims being made by SCAM. It reads:

'The proposed new terminal is intended to replace the old terminal which was built in the 1950s. This old terminal is poorly located - in terms of access - for airport passengers; it is in the middle of the Marshall Aerospace Works, which poses tremendous security problems, and it does not have adequate car parking alongside it. Importantly, this old terminal is also becoming restrictive to use in terms of new regulatory and security requirements.

'A new terminal location on the Newmarket Road will redress all of these difficulties. The main issue is one of providing a better and more modern terminal in a location that suits the needs of the Airport's customers.


'The development of this new terminal has been discussed in some detail during the past 12 months at two successive Cambridge Airport Consultative Committee meetings. A variety of local resident associations and interest groups, local councillors and representatives of the three local councils attend the committee. Significantly, SCAM has not sought any participation in its work. Following debate, which explained the reasons for the new terminal, the committee was very supportive of the proposal for a new terminal to be provided.

'Marshall of Cambridge employs 2500 people in Cambridge, of which Marshall Aerospace employs 1400, and the airport is vital to the company's continued operations.

'Cambridge City Airport, as an established airport, already accommodates and has supported in the past:

  • A wide number of scheduled and charter flights

  • Business and executive jet aircraft

  • Charter flights to holiday destinations and in support of Cambridge conferences

  • Horse transportation to and from Newmarket

  • Aircraft diversions from Stansted, including GO airline, for whom Cambridge is their preferred diversion airfield.

    'Cambridge Airport also plays host to Gold Air International, Cambridge Helicopters, Marshall Aerospace's Cambridge Aero Club, the Cambridge Flying Group and the Popular Flying Association.

    Noise fears

    'The SCAM leaflet is alarmist by 'headlining' suggestions that Cambridge City Airport would, in the future, be used by large passenger aircraft such as the Airbus 320/321 and the Boeing 737 and 757 on a commercial basis if a new terminal is built. The fact is that, these types of aircraft already operate from Cambridge City Airport and will continue to do so irrespective of the new terminal. Their noise footprint is so small that no complaints have been made about this type of aircraft.

    'As an aside, the number of aircraft complaints in 2001 was the lowest recorded during the past five years, and particularly in the last two years since the RAF University Air Squadron moved to RAF Wyton.

    'At present, there are no restrictions on the hours of operation of the airport terminal. However, in addition to striving to ensure that noise abatement procedures are used to ensure that flying and airport operations are conducted sympathetically to local needs, Marshall has, in the past, limited the hours of regular flights at the airport between 6.00am and 11.30pm. Very occasionally, aircraft operate outside these times to meet 'urgent' requirements, such as the police helicopter and medical evacuation flights.

    'In the past, Cambridge City Airport has operated around 70,000 movements per year (each movement is either a landing or a take-off). At present, the airport operates between 50,000 and 60,000 aircraft movements per year.

    Transport system

    'SCAM has commented on the impact on the environment in terms of noise and pollution. Less noise and other pollution is caused by a commercial passenger aircraft than smaller aircraft. With the relatively small number of additional commercial aircraft movements planned, it has been assessed that the road transport system at Cambridge City Airport is more than adequate.

    'SCAM suggests that the proposal is designed to make 'Marshall' a Regional Airport. Cambridge City Airport is already a Regional Airport and this harmonises with Government policy. Regarding Stansted, it does not 'provide everything and more'. Stansted is London's third airport and is unable to provide the facilities offered by a Regional Airport - which includes short check-in times and car parking adjacent to the terminal, particularly for business travellers.

    'Furthermore, at peak times, Stansted is already full, and 'slot limited'. A journey from Cambridge to Stansted, including car parking, takes at least one hour. Coupled with a one to two hour check-in time in relation to a 40-minute flight time to Paris, Amsterdam or Brussels, it is not an attractive option to most passengers.


    'The statement made by SCAM that the Government and Local Councils are carrying out studies to see if Cambridge needs a regional airport is a distortion of the facts. The present studies, which are supported by Marshall of Cambridge, centre on whether or not the present airfield, together with part of Marshall Aerospace, could be relocated and where it could relocate to, in order to provide an airport which serves the needs of Marshall Aerospace and the local community. This would satisfy the aspirations of some that the Airport site should become the 'Eastern Development of Cambridge'.

    'SCAM suggests that research done in the USA indicates that regular disturbance by aircraft noise impairs learning. This is an unsubstantiated statement and the close proximity of Cambridge City Airport to the university and academic institutions in Cambridge for over 65 years does not appear to have impaired the very high standards being achieved locally.

    'International terrorism is, sadly, a fact of life in modern society and appropriate security precautions are already taken by Marshall Aerospace's own security staff in conjunction with DTR and the civilian police. It is nonsense to suggest that the construction of a new airport terminal would increase security problems for the City. A modern terminal incorporating the latest technology can only reduce the threat.

    'Cambridge City Airport is on the eastern edge of the City and it is inaccurate to suggest that the provision of a new airport terminal would exacerbate the 'traffic problem' that already exists in the City. The volume of predicted aircraft movements is not large, and it is considered that with the very easy access to the A14, there would be no difficulty in providing smooth and easy access to Cambridge City Airport. The Transport Impact Study provided as part of the planned application supports this fact.

    'SCAM raised the issue over aircraft flying over densely occupied areas of Cambridge. It is a fact civil aviation is one of the most highly regulated forms of transport and consequently air travel is one of the safest means of travel.

    'There is considerable demand for increased public transport movements from Cambridge City Airport in support of business, the local community, recreational and holiday purposes. Marshall of Cambridge is mindful of the possible impact of any increased airport movements and is committed, as far as practicable, to ensure that any new services and operations cause minimum impact to the local community.'

    Founded in 1909, the Marshall Group has a turnover of £2.5bn and over 5,700 employees. Headquartered on a 900-acre site in Cambridge, Marshall has three principal arms to the business: Aerospace and Defence; Property; and Ventures.

    Marshall Group