SSE tells Stansted airport to publish the evidence it is using to try to restrict compensation claims

Following the publication by Stansted Airport of the process it will adopt to deal with long overdue compensation payments for local residents, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has accused it of unreasonably seeking to deter thousands of local residents who may well have a valid compensation claim, from even submitting one. As part of its ‘Guide to Residents’ on submitting compensation claims, Stansted has published a map which shows an incredibly small ‘eligibility area’ – with no explanation as to the basis for this. SSE says there is absolutely no legal basis for eligibility for compensation to be thus restricted. The law only requires claimants to demonstrate that the value of their property has been reduced by physical factors (noise, air pollution etc.) arising from the airport expansion. This came about because of infrastructure that enabled the airport’s passenger throughput to triple in the space of the 8 years leading up to 2007. The limited area includes just a few hundred homes, but the full area includes many thousands of homes that have lost a significant amount of value. Stansted residents have only received any compensation for expansion much earlier, in the 1990s. SSE is advising people not to be deterred, and it will be asking Stansted for a lot more clarification of the legal basis for its attempt to limit claims.
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SSE TELLS STANSTED AIRPORT TO PUBLISH ITS EVIDENCE

12.7.2016   (Stop Stansted Expansion – SSE – press release)

Accuses airport of seeking to evade its responsibility to compensate local residents.

 

Following the publication by Stansted Airport Ltd (STAL) last week of the process it will adopt to deal with long overdue compensation payments for local residents, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has accused STAL of unreasonably seeking to deter thousands of local residents who may well have a valid compensation claim, from even submitting a claim.

As part of its ‘Guide to Residents’ on submitting compensation claims, STAL has published a map which shows an incredibly small ‘eligibility area’ – with no explanation as to the basis for this.  See http://mag-umbraco-media-live.s3.amazonaws.com/1005/guide-to-residents.pdf.

There is absolutely no legal basis for STAL to restrict eligibility for compensation to a shaded area on a map. The law only requires claimants to demonstrate that the value of their property has been reduced by physical factors (noise, air pollution etc.) arising from the expansion of Stansted Airport which was enabled by the infrastructure added between 2001 and 2007 – the so-called Phase 2 development of Stansted.

Only a few hundred homes are within STAL’s eligibility area whereas evidence gathered by SSE in 2007 clearly indicates that many thousands of local homes lost a significant amount of their value (compared to the general movement in house prices) between 2001 and 2007 – i.e. at the time of  the Phase 2 development of Stansted.  This expansion of Stansted’s taxiways, aircraft stands and runway infrastructure enabled the airport’s passenger throughput to triple in the space of the eight years leading up to 2007.  To date, local residents have received no compensation for this.

Local residents have only ever received compensation for Stansted Airport’s expansion to 8 million passengers per annum (8mppa) in the 1990s – the so-called Phase 1 development of Stansted.  At that time, compensation payments ranging from 2% to 20% of the value of their houses were paid to residents in Broxted, Burton End, Great and Little Hallingbury, and parts of Birchanger, Bishop’s Stortford, Elsenham, Hatfield Broad Oak, Hatfield Heath, Spellbrook, Takeley and Thaxted.

Stansted’s Phase 2 development from 2001 to 2007 enabled the airport to triple its throughput to 24mppa and STAL believes that the airport can achieve a throughput of 35mppa (possibly more) without any additional taxiways, aircraft stands or runway infrastructure.  This throughput would be more than four times the 8mppa throughput for which compensation has been paid to date.

SSE’s evidence – based on the official Land Registry statistics – shows significant house price depreciation in areas far beyond the shaded eligibility area on STAL’s map.  There is evidence of house price depreciation in postcode sectors CM6 1, CM6 2, CM6 3, CM22 6, CM22 7, CM24 8 and CM23 5.  That is not to say that all the properties in all of these postcode sectors experienced a loss in their relative value due to Stansted’s Phase 2 development.  Nor is it to say that no property outside these postcode sectors was devalued by Stansted’s Phase 2 development.

SSE strongly recommends that individuals who believe they may have an entitlement to claim should not be deterred by STAL’s attempts to minimise the number of claimants, and they should take professional advice.  It is not SSE’s role to advise which individual homes may be eligible for compensation and which may not.  It is however very clear to SSE that STAL is seeking to be unreasonably restrictive with the eligibility area it has drawn on its map.  STAL does not explain how it has arrived at this area and, as we have said, it has no legal basis.

SSE has written to STAL asking for the evidence it relied upon to define its eligibility area. The letter also asks STAL to explain and clarify a number of other restrictions attached to STAL’s compensation process with no apparent justification in law or otherwise.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “It took the threat of legal action to force the airport to make a commitment to start dealing with these long overdue compensation payments for local residents.  However, it’s already beginning to look like the airport’s management will need to be dragged every inch of the way to make these compensation arrangements fair and reasonable – and accessible – to all those local families who have a legitimate right to compensation.”

Peter Sanders concluded:  “This has already gone on far too long.  It’s time the airport stopped trying to evade its responsibilities and started behaving with some decency and integrity.”

 

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

See also SSE press release of 7 June 2016 at http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/press491.html

 

 

 


Earlier:

Stop Stansted Expansion prepares to launch legal proceedings against Stansted airport, over compensation delays

Stansted Airport faces legal action on behalf of thousands of local residents denied compensation over devaluation of their property caused by airport expansion. The cost to the airport could run to hundreds of millions of pounds. Stansted failed to meet a deadline (31st May) to make a public statement agreeing to introduce a compensation scheme for local residents after years of prevarication. Since 2002, Stansted has used the excuse that it has no legal obligation to pay compensation until it has completed everything listed in its 1999 Phase 2 planning consent. Completion of a small part of these works, the Echo Cul-de-Sac, has been repeatedly postponed – most recently until the mid-2020s – and has thus been branded the ‘golden rivet’ loophole. Stansted lawyers finally accepted this, but then immediately put forward a new excuse for rejecting compensation claims – that claims were now time-barred under the Limitation Act. This gave rise to withering criticism from the judge who remarked: “So, after years of telling people you can’t claim until the works are complete, you’re now saying Tee-Hee – you’re too late.” Due to Stansted stalling, SSE are now taking legal action, to safeguard the interests of local residents. SSE’s preparations for a legal challenge ,on the airport’s use of the Limitation Act, are underway. They have appointed and briefed its legal team, which includes two expert barristers and one of the country’s foremost planning solicitors.   SSE presentation with prevarication details

Click here to view full story…

Stop Stansted Expansion sets out details of Stansted’s devious attempts to avoid compensation payments from 2000

Stop Stansted Expansion have catalogued the appalling deceit and prevarication used by Stansted Airport, in its attempts to avoid making compensation payments to people affected by airport’s expansion. Work on Phase 2 was started in 1999, to take the airport up to 15 million passengers per year, and claims should then have been possible. But Stansted insisted that no claims could be made until one of the taxiway piers, Echo, was completed. Each year, from 2004 to 2011 the date when the Echo stand’s completion date was pushed further and further back (partly as Stansted had a dramatic fall in passenger numbers in the recession). Finally this April Stansted’s lawyers said ” …1 March 2007 is a relevant date at least in respect of some of the works in paragraph 1.8..” In other words Stansted finally concedes that it had been wrong to use the ‘golden rivet’ ploy to avoid paying compensation. But now Stansted has a new ploy to avoid paying compensation, saying any claim had to be brought within 6 years. The Deputy President of the Lands Tribunal remarked: “So, after years of telling people you can’t claim until the works are complete, you’re now saying Tee-Hee – you’re too late?” Stop Stansted Expansion gave the airport until 31st May to make a public statement reversing this stance – or face a legal challenge. No satisfadtory response was received in time from owners, MAG.

Click here to view full story…