BAA seeks delay in 2nd Stansted runway inquiry
– New blow to government’s airport expansion policy
built in south-east England before 2020, with planning inquiries into expanding
Stansted and Heathrow airports unable to go ahead until after the general election.
In a letter to the communities and local government secretary, Hazel Blears, Britain’s
largest airport owner said the planning process was now “less reliable” because
it had lodged an appeal against a Competition Commission order to sell Stansted.
contemplated by the inquiry inspector may now appear less reliable for both the
communities and for BAA as a result of the current position regarding the CC’s
investigation, and where that might lead,” said Alastair McDermid, BAA’s planning
were already receding before it sought an inquiry postponement. Essex county
council, which is leading local political opposition to the new runway, had warned
that an inquiry might not end until September next year at the earliest – after
the next general election. The Conservative party, ahead in the polls and the
favourite to win an election, has promised to scrap proposals for new runways
at Stansted and Heathrow if it gets into power.
at Stansted by two years, to 2017, because there are not enough passengers to
meet demand. The airport group has conceded that an expanded Stansted would not
attract the necessary 35 million passengers a year until well into the next decade.
the application altogether. “Having it hang like the sword of Damocles over the
community for years is wrong. BAA should do the decent thing and withdraw the
application,” said Carol Barbone, campaign director at SSE (see SSE press release).