Inspector agrees to think again on Stansted runway Inquiry

10.11.2008     (Stop Stansted Expansion press release)

Local residents turned out in force today (10 November) to attend a Pre-Inquiry
Meeting organised by the Government’s Planning Inspectorate, to consider the arrangements
and timetable for the Public Inquiry to examine the case for and against a second
runway at Stansted.  

The meeting was chaired by Mr Andrew Phillipson, the Lead Inspector appointed
by the Government to conduct the Inquiry.   Mr Phillipson will be assisted by a
Deputy Inspector and two Assistant Inspectors      

The Inquiry is due to start in April 2009 and the Inspector had previously proposed
a six month timetable which he believed could be achieved by splitting the Inquiry
into two ‘streams’ and running concurrent sessions examining different subjects
in different Inquiry rooms at the same time.  

Some 300 local residents attended today’s four-hour meeting at the Stansted Hilton
Hotel and the many who spoke strongly endorsed the Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE)
view that parallel sessions would be wholly unfair to the local community while
giving an enormous advantage to BAA who, with its team of five barristers, could
handle such ‘twin-track’ arrangements in its stride.

Barristers representing Uttlesford District Council and partner authorities Essex
County Council, Herts County Council, East Herts District Council (‘the Councils’),
the National Trust, Ryanair, Easyjet and the other Stansted Airlines also expressed
strong reservations about the risk of unfairness and the practical difficulties
of a twin track approach – which have never been tried before at Public Inquiry.

Regarding the proposed six month duration for the Public Inquiry, SSE pointed
out that this would be the UK’s biggest ever airport Inquiry.   If the proposal
were to be approved, Stansted would have permission to handle 68 million passengers
a year – more than any other airport in Europe today.   By way of comparison, SSE
cited the four years it had taken for the Heathrow T5 Inquiry which had fewer
issues to consider and the six months taken for the London City Airport Inquiry
examining whether it should be allowed to expand to 700,000 passengers a year.  
It was inconceivable that a planning application for almost 100 times that throughput
could be dealt with in the same space of time, especially since if approved, a
second Stansted runway would result in the destruction of so much countryside,
ancient woodlands and so many peoples’ homes.

Many members of the public who spoke at the meeting also expressed strong and
passionate views that the Inquiry had to consider the issue of climate change,
pointing out that aviation was the fastest growing contributor to global warming.  
There were particular concerns about this because the Inspector had not explicitly
identified climate change as one of the key issues to be considered at the Inquiry.

The Inspector agreed to take account of all the views expressed and to re-consider
the proposed timetable and arrangements for the Inquiry.   Encouragingly, Mr Phillipson
acknowledged that his original thinking about parallel sessions had been “booted
into touch” and insisted that he attached great importance to ensuring that the
Inquiry was conducted fairly.

SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone commented: “We very much hope the Inspector
will take on board the many concerns expressed about any attempt to steamroller
the Inquiry process.   There is not much more we can say until we see his revised



A copy of the Inspector’s agenda and advance note for the Pre-Inquiry Meeting
is available online at and minutes from the meeting will be made available on this site in due course.
SSE’s submission to the Inspector prior to the Pre-Inquiry Meeting is also available
online at  



Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, Stop Stansted Expansion M 0777 552 3091,    

Brian Ross, Economics Adviser, Stop Stansted Expansion 01279 814961 or M 07850