Village takes BAA to the European court
TAKELEY Parish Council is taking its claim for fairer treatment for residents blighted by Stansted Airport expansion plans to the European Court of Human Rights. The move comes after discussions over permission to proceed to a full judicial review of BAA
TAKELEY Parish Council is taking its claim for fairer treatment for residents blighted by Stansted Airport expansion plans to the European Court of Human Rights.
The move comes after discussions over permission to proceed to a full judicial review of BAA's plans for restricted compensation through its Homeowner Support Scheme (HOSS) with the High Court and the Court of Appeal resulted in a stalemate.
Trevor Allen, chairman of Takeley Parish Council, said: "We were always told that we had a case and we would be able to present it in court.
"But we feel we've never been allowed to have our day in court where we can make our argument.
"We have gone as far as we can with the UK courts and don't feel we've had a sympathetic hearing and we owe it to our residents to do our very best to protect them from these plans.
"We've always said that if we did not get what we call justice for our people, then we would take it to the highest court possible, and that's exactly what we are doing on the advice of our legal team."
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He admitted he did not know how much the action would cost but said it would be a lot cheaper than going through the UK courts.
"The refusal by the courts to issue a protective costs order is one of the reasons we have taken this course," he said.
"Without this order the parish council could face paying the fees for the airport developer's counsel. The council has a fighting fund of £70,000 to £80,000."
Cllr Allen said: "The financial risk to the parish would have been too great."
The move to the European Court of Human Rights comes just weeks before Uttlesford District Council's decision on BAA's application for unlimited passenger use and more aircraft movements on the single runway.
It also follows the announcement on BAA's intentions regarding the siting of its proposed second runway, both due before the end of November.
Richard Buxton, the solicitor advising Takeley Parish Council, said: "At heart, this is a case that is based upon human rights considerations.
"We believe that the Strasbourg court is likely to be interested, both for access to justice reasons and for the underlying issues.
"They may be further improved if such issues can be shown not simply to be a question of people seeking compensation for breaches of the various human rights provisions, but of the need to properly cost the environmental costs of projects like new runways."
Approaching the European Court of Human Rights will, says Takeley Parish Council, provide more affordable access to justice without the potential for a substantial liability to costs through the UK system.
A spokesman for BAA said: "We are not making any comment at the moment and the matter is in the hands of our lawyers.