Stansted Airport runway public inquiry delayed again

17.6.2009     (Independent)

By Margaret Davis, Press Association

A public inquiry into whether a second runway should be built at Stansted Airport
was today delayed for a second time, the Communities and Local Government Secretary

In a letter to all parties John Denham said it was not yet “feasible nor realistic”
to draw up a timetable for the probe.

This was because the future ownership of the airport remains in question.

The Competition Commission ordered BAA to sell Stansted in order to break up
its monopoly but the airport operator has appealed.

Mr Denham wrote: “It is clear to me that it is neither feasible nor realistic
to announce the start date for the Stansted G2 public inquiry until such time
as the outcome of the appeal is known. Whilst there is no set timetable for the
appeal process, I understand that it might take around nine months to complete.”

The probe had already been postponed once by his predecessor Hazel Blears over
the same issue.

Nick Barton, Stansted Airport’s commercial and development director, said: “This
announcement does not alter the fact that new runway capacity is urgently required
if the United Kingdom is to preserve its global economic competitiveness, and
the case for a second runway at Stansted remains a strong one.”

He said the operator would continue with its voluntary compensation scheme for
affected homeowners.

BAA says the expansion would create thousands of jobs and give greater choice
to passengers, while campaigners maintain it would decimate their quality of life.

see also
Times     18.6.2009

Stansted runway inquiry likely to be delayed until after election