Response to BAA's Draft Interim Master Plan
issued 12 October 2005 by Broxted Parish Council
As a consultation document it is a bit thin on things to consult on. Basically it sets out, in very broad detail, what an airport handling up to 35 mppa in 2015 would look like. It skirts around a number of issues, which it says it will address later, and seems to take for granted that more use of the existing runway would be a ‘good thing’. There is very little about the infrastructure required to support a busier airport, in particular no concrete details about the road and rail improvements that would be needed.
Broxted Parish Council is opposed to any increase above 25 mppa. This is the limit currently set and agreed and should be adhered to. It is not just a ‘stepping-stone’ to uncontrolled use of the airport. It is appreciated that BAA has shareholders to satisfy, but there are ways to increase turnover and profit without increasing the number of passengers (or the number of cargo flights). The Council wishes to see a complete cessation of night flights (as has been achieved at other airports) and flights spread throughout the day and not bunched in the early morning and late evening. 25 mppa is to be regards as an absolute maximum.
The Council objects to use of the phrase ‘best use of the existing runway’. Best use is subjective – if you mean more use, you should say so.
All of the figures concerning airport employment are 2003 figures – are there not more up-to-date figures?
The plan talks up the contribution the airport makes to the local economy, without justifying it in any way, but says very little about the environmental impacts it is having. It barely touches on climate change, and favours an international emissions trading scheme, as though that would actually reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions. Nowhere does it admit that increasing the number of flights would have a significant effect on those emissions.
The Plan claims to help the UK economy by bringing in 1.4 million tourists who spend money locally, but omits to mention the much greater sum spent by tourists flying out of the airport – representing a huge drain of money abroad.
In many instances the plan claims that the impact of a 35mppa airport would be less than that previously indicated for a 25 mppa airport. (Environmental Impact, Waste, Energy Requirements, Water Usage, Road Traffic Forecasts). If BAA's forecasting was so wrong then, why should we have any confidence in it now?
The White Paper did talk about more use of the existing runways at Luton and Stansted, but it also recognized that other South east airports, specifically London City, Norwich and Southampton, could help meet local demand. The plan assumes that Stansted is the only airport where extra demand could be met.
Broxted Parish Council is a supporter of Stop Stansted Expansion, and is indebted to it for the thorough and professional way it researches issues concerning the airport. The Council totally endorses SSE's response to the Draft Interim Plan, and re-iterates the main points here:
The two BAA consultation documents fall well short of the standard required for a proper consultation. They avoid spelling out how plans to expand the existing runway fit into the long-term developments BAA has in mind. Plans for a second runway are barely mentioned. BAA appears to be merely going through the motions in order to avoid criticism that it acted without consultation
The documents are economical with the truth. For example, they point out that the draft East of England Plan supports the full use of the existing runway but fail to say that the independent sustainability report commissioned by the Assembly concluded that full use could not be sustained. The documents also fail to say that no provision for a second runway has been made in the draft regional plan
BAA gives priority to rapid development of the airport over the need to consult with local communities. The Government's Air Transport White Paper said it expected airport operators to produce Masterplans in 2004, yet BAA says that to do so would cause serious delay and therefore does not intend to comply until 2007
The impact of expansion of Stansted Airport on climate change is ignored despite the fact that it is high on the agenda of governments and the aviation industry, and the Prime Minister has said that global warming is as big a threat as terrorism
The documents ignore criticism from both Uttlesford District Council and SSE over continued reliance on the dBA Leq system of noise measurement, which is discredited because it is an average of noise over a period in which both quiet troughs and noisy peaks are measured. BAA continues to use 57 dBA as the level at which noise becomes annoying rather than the lower noise limit recommended by the World Health Organisation
The latest consultation is another example of incremental growth by stealth. BAA wants to use 25 million passengers a year (mppa) as the starting point for this consultation despite the fact that passenger numbers are only at 21 mppa now. Before it was granted permission for 25 mppa, it made over-generous predictions about the impact that expansion would have in areas such as jobs, noise and transport. In this way, BAA is able to sustain its claim that an increase to 35 mppa would result in little change.
BAA launches a public consultation on proposed plans for increasing traffic on the existing runway - press release issued 2 August 2005 by SSE
Stansted urges community to ‘Have your say’ - press release issued 28 July 2005 by BAA
BAA Consultation Document: Stansted Airport - Interim Master Plan - Draft for Consultation July 2005 (Acrobat® format 0.9 MB)