“Here we go again” – SSE slams opportunistic, irresponsible and pointless expansion proposals for Stansted
Proposals from the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) to develop Stansted into a 2-runway, or even a 4-runway, airport have been described by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) as “opportunistic, irresponsible and pointless”. SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “It is of little consolation that MAG has framed its proposals in an unenthusiastic, half-hearted way which grudgingly admits that it would be ‘willing’ to add an extra runway or runways at Stansted, about 15 years from now, if that’s what the Airports Commission and the Government decide is best. This will be seen by many as an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for any decision to expand the airport.” The MAG proposals resurrect the expansion options for Stansted put forward by the Government in July 2002. These all came to nothing but it took an 8-year battle before BAA conceded defeat and withdrew its plans for a 2nd runway. Between 2002 to 2010 needless stress and anxiety was caused to those whose homes were threatened by the bulldozer and over a £1billion was wiped off local house prices – all for nothing. Now, just 3 years later, there is the prospect of another prolonged battle over the same issue.
HERE WE GO AGAIN – SSE SLAMS OPPORTUNISTIC, IRRESPONSIBLE AND POINTLESS EXPANSION PROPOSALS FOR STANSTED
19.7.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)
Commenting on the submission to the Airports Commission, SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “It is of little consolation that MAG has framed its proposals in an unenthusiastic, half-hearted way which grudgingly admits that it would be ‘willing’ to add an extra runway or runways at Stansted, about 15 years from now, if that’s what the Airports Commission and the Government decide is best. This will be seen by many as an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for any decision to expand the airport.”
The MAG proposals resurrect the expansion options for Stansted put forward by the Government almost exactly eleven years ago, in July 2002. These all came to nothing but it took an eight-year battle before BAA, the former owner of the airport, conceded defeat and withdrew its plans for a second runway.
During that time – from 2002 to 2010 – needless stress and anxiety was caused to those whose homes were threatened by the bulldozer and over a £1billion was wiped off local house prices – all for nothing. Now, just three years later, there is the prospect of another prolonged battle over the same issue.
Peter Sanders added: “We really shouldn’t have to go through this whole argument again just three years after the last threat was lifted. We are profoundly disappointed that MAG has behaved in this opportunistic and irresponsible way.”
“We will be doing everything possible to convince the Airports Commission to reject the idea of any new runways at Stansted. With the airport currently operating at only half its permitted capacity a second runway – never mind a four-runway hub double the size of Heathrow today – is completely unnecessary on business grounds and it would be completely unacceptable on environmental grounds. Even looking 15 years down the line and beyond, there is no case for Stansted to be one of the short-listed options.”
Mr Sanders concluded: “This will once again create widespread blight and uncertainty in the local community, and once again it will prove to be a pointless exercise. As in the past, any proposals for an extra runway or runways at Stansted will be met with fierce local opposition, will be fought tooth and nail, and will ultimately be defeated.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
Today’s proposals from MAG are contained in its submission to the Airports Commission, the independent body, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, which has been given the job of advising Government what, if anything, needs to be done to maintain the UK’s status as a global aviation hub.
It will now be for the Airports Commission to consider MAG’s proposals for Stansted alongside other airport expansion proposals it has received, including for Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham and for a new airport in the Thames Estuary. The Commission will produce a shortlist by the end of the year and will make its final recommendations in two years’ time, in mid-2015.
See also, a few days earlier:
BORIS JOHNSON IGNORES COUNTRYSIDE IN FAVOUR OF POLITICS
16.7.2013 (Stop Stansted Expansion)
Justifying his decision to short-list Stansted, Boris Johnson said that it had the benefit of “being sited in a relatively sparsely populated region… with none of the environmental or wildlife issues that would need to be overcome in the estuary.”
The London Mayor’s dismissal of the environmental issues at Stansted is completely at odds with every independent assessment carried out in the past. Graham Eyre QC, the last planning inspector to consider the possibility of additional runways at Stansted, rejected this out of hand in the strongest possible terms, saying that even one extra runway would be an “environmental disaster”, “a catastrophe”, and “wholly unacceptable”.
These conclusions are not surprising since Uttlesford District, which is home to Stansted Airport, has more pre-1700 listed buildings than any other local authority in the country except the City of London. In addition, the historic listed buildings and villages around Stansted are embedded in what Oliver Rackham, the great historian of the English countryside, has defined as ‘Ancient Countryside’, a landscape whose fields, woods and roads date predominantly from before 1700. These points alone make this part of North West Essex and East Herts a most remarkable and valuable area of English countryside.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “Boris Johnson’s dismissal of our local heritage and landscape is an affront to all the people of North West Essex and East Herts. It seems clear that he has absolutely no knowledge of the area.”
Mr Sanders added: “As Mayor of London, of course, he has no need to involve himself in our affairs. He is responsible only for what goes on in London and he depends only on Londoners for votes. It is surely no coincidence that he rejects expanding Heathrow, which is within his constituency, and all of his options for airport expansion are well outside his constituency. It remains our view that there is no need for any extra runways in the south-east.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
The Mayor of London’s press release of 15 July 2013 can be found here.
The area around Stansted Airport was characterised by John Betjeman as: “… a quiet, prosperous, agricultural area of old stone and flint churches, pargetted cottages with red tiled roofs, spreading farms and gabled manor houses, little hills, elms, oaks, willowy streams and twisty lanes leading to towns of such renowned beauty as Thaxted and Saffron Walden. The very fact that this country is so gentle, unobvious and typical of the best of England makes it all the more important that, being so near to London, it is preserved from noise and development.”
‘Ancient Countryside’ is defined as districts whose fields, woods and roads etc date predominantly from before A.D. 1700, and Oliver Rackham has described it as ‘the England of hamlets, medieval farms in hollows of the hills, lonely moats and great barns in the clay-lands, pollards and ancient trees, cavernous Holloways and many footpaths, fords, irregularly shaped groves with thick hedges colourful with maple, dogwood and spindle – an intricate land of mystery and surprise.’ [‘The History of the Countryside’, Oliver Rackham, Dent, 1986.]
And a bit of history from 3 years earlier
“Yet more delay on Stansted 2nd runway – we can’t go on like this” – says SSE
8.3.2010 (STOP STANSTED EXPANSION press release)
It could be another two years before a Public Inquiry into a second Stansted
runway is held, the Government has been told.
months to update its March 2008 planning application and that it could not realistically
begin this until there is an end to the present uncertainty about the future ownership
of the airport. That of itself could also take well over a year, meaning a further
delay of between two and three years before any Public Inquiry could even start
to consider BAA’s second runway planning application.
The Public Inquiry to consider BAA’s March 2008 planning application for a second
runway was originally due to start in April last year. BAA is now indicating
that it could not start until 2012 or even 2013.
decision could be announced, meaning that local residents and businesses who received
compulsory purchase notifications from BAA in March 2008 would have endured seven years of blight and uncertainty before the final outcome was known.
began in July 2002 when the Government first published its proposals for making
Stansted bigger than Heathrow.
SSE has repeatedly called on BAA to withdraw its application and thereby allow
local communities to return to some form of normality. However, BAA clearly sees
some commercial advantage in trying to keep its second runway application on life
support, pending an upturn in the market, a more favourable political climate
or simply as a possible means of obtaining a higher price for Stansted in the
event of a forced sale.
Commenting on the news, SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “BAA’s response to
the Secretary of State shows an appalling disregard for the local community.
We have lived under the threat of a second runway for almost eight years now.
The only honourable course open to BAA is to withdraw its applications and to
give a clear and unequivocal statement that it will not be making new applications
for a project which creates blight without any real prospect of success.”
He added: “With the support of our community, we will continue our campaign
to prevent the catastrophic damage that would be caused by expansion at Stansted
for as long as it takes – whoever the owner.”
NOTE TO EDITORS
to John Denham, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, can be
viewed online at www.stopstanstedexpansion.com/documents/ResponsetoSofS020310.pdf.
Conservatives ‘will block Stansted runway’
23rd February 2010
Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst has confirmed that the Conservative party will keep their promise and block any plans to build a new runway at Stansted Airport. In a statement yesterday the MP said that his party ‘will not approve the construction of a second runway.’ (UK Airport News) Click here to view full story…
Make your mind up on 2nd Stansted runway, Government tells BAA
11th February 2010
The Minister responsible for dealing with BAA’s plans for a 2nd Stansted runway
has asked the airport operator to state whether it still wants to continue with
its current planning application. John Denham, Sec of State for Communities,
has also told BAA that if it does still want its second runway application to
be considered, then the information provided (a pile of documents almost 10 feet
high) when it submitted the application almost 2 years ago will need to be updated.
(SSE) Click here to view full story…
Ryanair threaten to move from Stansted to Gatwick
3rd February 2010 Ryanair could move its flights from Stansted to Gatwick if GIP lives up to promises
to improve its facilities and keep charges down, the budget airline’s chief operating
officer, Michael Cawley, has said. Gatwick’s chief executive Stewart Wingate
vowed to compete against London’s other 3 main airports – as did his Stansted
counterpart last week. Mr Wingate was in charge at Stansted until he was poached
by GIP two months ago. (UK Airport News) Click here to view full story…