Stansted campaign group says BAA expansion plan ‘in tatters’

(20.10.2007   Financial Times)

The inquiry into the application by BAA, the UK airports group, to expand the
use of the existing single runway at Stansted closed yesterday after more than
4 months of hearings.   BAA had failed to provide “a shred of evidence” that expanding
Stansted, the UK’s third busiest airport, would deliver any net economic benefits,
the leading campaign group against the growth of the airport – SSE – claimed.  

Peter Sanders, chairman of the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group, said BAA’s
case for growth was “in tatters”.

For the first time at a public inquiry airport expansion had been challenged
on both economic and environmental grounds. Climate change had also been considered
for the first time, highlighting the government’s “contradictory policies for
reducing carbon emissions while at the same time supporting a massive expansion
of airport capacity”, campaigners said.

BAA is seeking to remove the existing ceiling of 25m on passenger numbers at
Stansted, and to raise the limit on take-offs and landings from 241,000 to 264,000.  
The airport handles 23.9m passengers a year, expecting to hit 25m next year.  
It forecast yesterday that the airport could reach 35m passengers a year by around

BAA said yesterday it expected to submit a planning application at the end of
the year for its much more ambitious project to build a second terminal and runway
at Stansted, aimed at doubling capacity.   The planning inspector is likely to
submit his recommendations to the transport and communities and local government
departments by Christmas, with a decision expected by early spring.