Ministers want airport to grow

PUBLISHED: 14:11 21 December 2006 | UPDATED: 21:28 29 May 2010

A SECOND runway at Stansted Airport is still on the cards following the government s review of the 2003 Air Transport White Paper. The report, published last Thursday, states that a new runway is likely to be needed early in the next decade. Confirming th

A SECOND runway at Stansted Airport is still on the cards following the government's review of the 2003 Air Transport White Paper.

The report, published last Thursday, states that a new runway is likely to be needed early in the next decade.

Confirming the Government's commitment to build two new runways in the south east of England, the report said: "The Government continues to support the development of a third runway at Heathrow, as soon as it is possible to meet the stringent environmental limits set in the White Paper.

"The White Paper makes clear that the first priority at Stansted should be to make best use of the existing runway.

"However, it is also anticipated that a second runway would be needed early in the next decade, although the airport operator does not expect a runway to be operational before 2015."

Welcoming the report, BAA's chief executive Stephen Nelson said: "Developing new runway capacity is a matter of national interest and will be subject to public scrutiny.

"We have already made great strides in planning a new runway at Stansted and are increasingly confident that Heathrow, the UK's hub airport, will be able to meet strict environmental limits allowing BAA to deliver the extra capacity necessary for keeping Heathrow competitive."

Stop Stansted Expansion's campaign director Carol Barbone said the community around Stansted was still in danger, despite expansion at Heathrow being the Government's priority.

She said: "SSE takes no consolation from the switch of emphasis to Heathrow, nor from the acceptance that a new runway at Stansted is now unlikely before 2015 at the earliest and that its timing and nature will be subject to the commercial judgement of airport operator BAA and the planning process. The Government's continued commitment to a rush for growth approach leaves the community around Stansted still very much under threat."

An emissions cost assessment will also be carried out by the Government, to make sure the aviation sector is meeting its external costs of climate change.

Cllr Alan Dean, who represents Stansted South and is chairman of the council's airport advisory panel said: "The suggestion of an emissions cost assessment sounds little more than government hot air that will do nothing much to cut the damaging effect of aviation on the world's environment.

"You can't buy your way out of environmental catastrophe and ministers need to accept this."

Cllr Mark Gayler, leader of Uttlesford District Council, added: "We will continue to resist plans for a second runway, which will do huge damage both to the local and the global environment.

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