Impact on climate change from Stansted expansion could be much higher than claimed, report says

London Stansted’s terminal building Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

A public inquiry into the airport's expansion ended in March - with a decision expected in June - Credit: Stansted Airport

Campaigners say the impact of the proposed Stansted Airport expansion on climate change could be eight times higher than was claimed, following the publication of new research. 

The Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) group said research from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) found that the proposed growth of the Essex airport would likely account for an increase in annual emissions of up to 1.8million tonnes of carbon dioxide and CO2 equivalent emissions in 2035. 

This is the equivalent to putting around one million additional cars on Britain's roads, SSE said. 

Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion ( SSE) Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Peter Sanders, chairman of the Stop Stansted Expansion group

The NEF report concluded that Stansted's estimate of the impact of its expansion plans on climate change was not credible. 

The report said the estimate did not account for non-CO2 emissions like aerosols, water vapour and nitrogen oxides, which can double or even triple the climate impact of airport expansions. 

It also did not put a monetary value on the climate change impacts of expansion and has not tested the impact of higher carbon prices in the future, contrary to government guidance.

An eight-week public inquiry into plans to expand Stansted came to an end on March 12 and a decision is expected in June.  

Stansted Airport said the NEF did not put itself forward as a main party at the recent public inquiry. 

Peter Sanders, SSE chairman, said: "This new research is a vindication of the arguments which SSE put before the recent Stansted Airport public inquiry. 

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"The government cannot continue to disregard the economic cost of the damage being inflicted upon the climate as a result of increased aviation emissions." 

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: “Our proposals would mean a small increase in the number of passengers that could use Stansted, but they would not mean an increase in the permitted number of flights.

"The application to increase the number of passengers using the airport has now gone through a public inquiry with evidence from all parties on all relevant topics, including climate impacts, presented to an independent panel of inspectors.

“The NEF did not put itself forward as a main party at the recent inquiry so that its evidence could be properly tested, including under cross examination, and it never raised any objection to the application when it was originally submitted.

“We now await the inspectors’ report.”

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