16.3.2011 (Stop Stansted Expansion)

More ‘storm clouds over Stansted’

BAA may be forced to sell Stansted at the worst possible time following the Supreme
Court’s ruling that the airport operator can’t take its challenge to the Competition
Commission’s sell off requirement to the Supreme Court. In a major Sunday Times
‘Storm Clouds gather over Stansted,’ the paper comments on Stansted’s falling passenger numbers, complaints from
Ryanair about excessive airport charges, and the fact that Gatwick is attracting
business away from Stansted – Air Berlin has just moved its Hanover and Nuremberg
services from Stansted to Gatwick. Stansted could face a further high-profile
defection as Air Asia X, the budget long-haul service to Kuala Lumpur, is understood to be in talks with Gatwick about taking its business there,
says the paper.



Carol Barbone, SSE campaign director, said she believed BAA had been planning
for the inevitable for some time. The dilapidated state of some of the 300 properties
bought up by BAA in anticipation of a second runway was also prominently featured
in the article. BAA rejected claims that it had neglected one such property, Yew
Tree Cottage, Takeley, after it was damaged by fire. “Like Yew Tree Cottage, those
plans [for a second runway] are now falling apart”, said the paper. It is interesting
to note that BAA has hurriedly re-tarpaulined Yew Tree Cottage this month in the
wake of the unfavourable media coverage of its neglect of local listed and non-listed
buildings. Now all that remains is for the cottage to be given the full restoration
which its listed status requires.



Supreme Court calls time on Stansted ownership

Following last month’s rejection of BAA’s arguments by the Supreme Court, the
airport operator has run out of legal options to fight the March 2009 ruling by
the Competition Commission (CC) that it must sell Stansted Airport – or has it?  SSE has expressed concern that BAA may try to run the legal arguments
all over again by claiming that
circumstances have changed over the past two years.



SSE’s economics adviser, Brian Ross, commented: “BAA has now launched more appeals than Wayne Rooney, with the result that
the airport has been in a state of limbo for three years and has been losing customers
in droves. “Prolonging this state of limbo is neither in the interests of the
local community nor the airport’s employees. BAA should now accept the Supreme
Court’s ruling and bring this damaging period of uncertainty to an end.”



The Competition Commission is expected to make a final pronouncement on the future
of Stansted at the end of March.



Aviation pleads for Budget relief


Ahead of the government’s reported U-turn on moving to a system replacing Air
Passenger Duty (APD) with a Duty Per Plane method as promised in the Coalition
Agreement, the aviation industry has mounted a full scale attack on the current
system of APD.   Its hope is that the Chancellor will scale down the taxes in
the Budget – a move which would severely undermine efforts to make the industry
pay for the real costs of its activities. In an attempt to counter the campaign,
airport campaigners have set up a fledgling Fair Tax on Flying page on Facebook
at associated website to provide some balance. 
“The aviation industry’s campaign should jolt us out of any complacency that,
after the Government dropped plans for new runways in the South East, the battle
was over. The industry was always going to fight back,” says John Stewart, chair
of AirportWatch.



Airport charges could ‘undermine Olympics’

Virgin Atlantic and British Airways have warned that uncompetitive taxes and
airport charges are damaging to the industry, and could undermine inbound tourism
to the UK during the crucial lead-up to the 2012 Olympics,
reports Marketing Week.  Hoteliers, meanwhile, don’t expect any such problems:  they’re hiking room
rates by anything up to five times the 2011 rate according to a
report in the Financial Times. 



Lord Sugar’s hotel plans abandoned

Lord Sugar has pulled the plug on plans for a luxury hotel and golf complex a
mile from Stansted Airport because the project was no longer viable in the current climate and now that
second runway plans have been scrapped,
reports the Herts and Essex Observer. The 441-acre site at Hatfield Park Farm in Bush
End has instead been sold by Amsprop, the property branch of his business empire,
for above its £3.2m guide price and is likely to be retained as high quality arable
farmland which is now at a premium in the context of world food prices.

Fedex to phase out MD11s at Stansted

FedEx Express has begun replacing its old MD11 cargo aircraft with Boeing 777s
for cargo flights between Stansted Airport and Memphis,
. The
airport says it has advanced noise reduction technology and is more fuel efficient than
aircraft previously used on the route. SSE’s noise spokesman Martin Peachey has
made clear that while the 777 will be less noisy than the MD-11 freighter it replaces,
it is nevertheless still quite a noisy aircraft, being in the same ‘noise quota’
parameters as the MD11 for departures, and just one level down for arrivals.

Stansted’s ‘Paved Paradise’ featured by BBC

The way that car parking helps to keep Stansted Airport afloat has been featured in a series of programmes on BBC Radio 4’s You and
Yours. Revelations included worthless cars abandoned at the airport by Eastern
Europeans quitting the UK, and an admission by an airport source that parking is vital to income at the
airport, describing it as a parking business with an airport nearby to attract
customers. The programme coincided with recently published information that shows
combined earnings from parking at Stansted and Heathrow were £104 million compared
with BAA’s loss of £317m on the two airports last year. The programme also mentioned
a list of 76 locations, including private houses, where passengers can park within
walking distance of Stansted Airport – much to the annoyance of those in the community who have told SSE they suffer
the impacts of late night and early morning comings and goings. Background music
for the programme was provided by Joni Mitchell’s ‘They Paved Paradise’, which
was previously used as the theme tune for an
SSE campaign video.



Business and City press for more air capacity


Business leaders and
London politicians are increasing pressure on the Government to look at
adding more capacity at London airports in its forthcoming two-stage consultation on the new aviation policy.
This comes in the wake of a report by the Transport Select Committee, which called
for transport investment to be ‘backed up by a pro-active and fully integrated
economic development strategy’. Louise Ellman, Chair of the Committee, said she
welcomed the Government’s commitment to undertake transport investment that will
deliver sustainable growth but it needed a much stronger strategy for developing
the UK‘s major ports and airports.. Syed Kamall, Conservative MEP for London, urged the Transport Secretary to work with the Mayor of London on how to develop
a new hub airport to meet future demand. The City of
London has also added its voice to demands for greater aviation capacity in London. Delivering the additional capacity needed to meet this demand will prove challenging,
given the Coalition Government has ruled out the development of a third runway
at Heathrow and a second runway at Stansted, says the London Daily News. The Economist
reports that Johnson has timed his latest campaign – “one part aviation and one part
raw politics” – to coincide with the next Budget. He is arguing for a new airport
in the Thames estuary or more capacity at airports nearby including Gatwick and Stansted.



Birmingham runway, says Hammond


Meanwhile, Birmingham Airport has been encouraged to press ahead with plans for runway extension by transport secretary Philip Hammond. He said
an extension could help to solve airport capacity problems following abolition
of plans to build a third runway at Heathrow.
Birmingham could become one of the world’s best connected airports with the planned 250mph
rail link that would bring it within 37 minutes of central London, he said.
Birmingham airport bosses say this beats the rail journey time to London from both Stansted and Heathrow.



Nearly half of businesses have reduced flying


The World Wildlife Fund’s latest business travel report, ‘Moving on’, shows that business is finding new ways of working and changing travel and
meeting practices to save money and reduce the carbon footprint. The report, whose
launch was supported by Norman Baker MP, Under-Secretary of State for Transport,
shows that 47% of companies have reduced the number of business flights in the
last two years, and of those firms that have cut their flying, 85% do not intend
to return to ‘business as usual’ flying.



Met Office studies contrails and climate change


The public is being asked to look out for aircraft contrails, which may be contributing to climate change and which can only be recorded
by the human eye. The research led by scientists at the Met Office and the Royal
Meteorological Society will study how humans are affecting the climate and how
people might adapt to rising temperatures. In a related research project, Open
Air Laboratories (Opal) is urging schoolchildren to blow bubbles to measure wind
speed and direction near the ground, to reveal how the built environment affects
the wind, as well as watching cloud movement to record wind direction in the sky.
OPAL consists of 15 partners led by Imperial College, London, and including the
Natural History Museum, working together to deliver 31 projects.
The Opal survey also involves the public recording how hot or cold they feel
as part of efforts to see how we might cope with temperature changes. The survey
is easy to use, and records can be sent in online or by text.



Emissions: ‘firm action’ or ‘irresponsible’?


A decision by the European Commission on the level of aviation emissions when the industry is brought into the emissions
trading scheme (EU-ETS) from 2012 has provoked widely differing reactions from
opposing forces in the debate. The European Commission has decided on the historical
aviation emissions that will be used to calculate the number of aviation allowances
to be available from 2012. Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, said: ”Emissions from aviation are growing faster than from any other sector, and
all forecasts indicate they will continue to do so under business as usual conditions
. Firm action is needed.”



However, Transport & Environment (T&E), the sustainable transport campaign
group, say that there is no evidence of firm action being taken and calculates
that the cost to the aviation sector will be the equivalent of a one-cent per
litre tax on aviation fuel, currently untaxed in the EU.  The effect on ticket
prices, if not inflated by airlines, should be less than 1 per cent on average
– in stark contrast to the average level of road fuel tax in the EU of around
48 cents per litre. T&E’s Bill Hemmings said: “Inclusion of the sector in
the EU-ETS is no more than a minor first step.  And it is no excuse for prolonging
the massive subsidy of fuel tax and VAT exemptions.. In times of fiscal austerity
these subsidies are more irresponsible than ever.”



Aircraft concentration could cause ‘noise ghettos’


Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will face difficult questions about aircraft
noise at a
public meeting he has called in his own constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge. One topic will be whether aircraft flight paths should be spread
over a wide area to share the pain caused by noise or concentrated into a narrow
band causing misery to fewer people. Hammond will confront growing frustration at aircraft noise, which residents attribute
to Heathrow’s policy of using fewer take-off flight paths and restricting aircraft
to a narrower band of space, as well as low flying. John Stewart, chairman of
action group HACAN, says the policy of concentrating routes is threatening to
create ‘noise ghettos’. In its submission to the current Civil Aviation Authority’s
Future Airspace Strategy consultation,
SSE stated,  “The introduction of more accurate navigation and more direct routing is generally
welcomed since this will reduce noise and emissions overall. However, more research
should be carried out to ensure that noise levels are not increased under routes
that become ‘concentrated’.



Obama to land at Stansted


US President Barack Obama will land at Stansted Airport at the start of a state visit to the UK in May. The expected day of arrival, May 24, coincides with the anniversary
of the withdrawal of BAA’s application for a second runway at Stansted.


Passengers down for 40th successive month

The 6.3% fall in Stansted Airport’s February passenger numbers was the fourth successive February fall, a reduction
of 28.0% since February 2007. The month’s flights (ATMs) were down 9.2% from last
year and 30.7% down from February 2007. The last 12 months saw 18.4 million passengers
per year (mppa) – a fall of 23.3% from the peak 12 months to October 2007, whilst
the comparable figures for ATMs were 141,378 and 27.0% down against the October
2007 12 months peak.  Monthly cargo tonnage was up 4.4%, whilst the 12 month figure
was up 8.2% – a worrying trend since the air freighters used for cargo at Stansted
are generally noisier than the passenger aircraft which serve the airport. As
the actual figures fall, the scope for percentage increase to the levels for which
BAA has permission rises. 35mppa would mean an increase of 90% from the number
of passengers in the last 12 months, whilst 264,000 ATMs would be reached with
an increase in ATMs of 86%.   Those who are bothered by noisy or off-track aircraft
should report incidents to BAA via the SSE
noise complaint form online. 


Books and a royal wedding invitation

Stop Stansted Expansion will be holding a massive sale of thousands of good quality
second hand books at The Old School House, Four Ashes Crossroads, Takeley, on
2 April from
. Most of the books will be priced at 50p for paperbacks and £1 for hardbacks.
 In the meantime, if you have any solid tables or bookshelves you’d like to donate
to SSE, please get in touch.  More information from the SSE Campaign Office on 01279 870558 or


The Duton Hill Community Association in conjunction with The Three Horseshoes,
Duton Hill, invite you to a Royal Wedding Quiz at the pub on 29 April,
for an 8.30pm start. Due to the timing, this year’s quiz will contain a sprinkling
of royal questions! This is always a popular quiz so teams of 6 or individual
tickets should be booked in advance either by contacting the SSE Office on 01279
870558 or Derek Connell at The Three Horseshoes, Duton Hill on 01371 870681. Tickets
cost £7 per head. Food will not be provided but you are very welcome to take your
own. Profit made on the night will be divided 50/50 between SSE and the Community



SSE Campaign Office



“Our Community – Our Responsibility”