COUNCIL BEARS HEAVY RESPONSIBILITY TO FUTURE GENERATIONS ON RUNWAY EXPANSION APPLICATION
(press release issued 26 April 2006 by Stop Stansted Expansion)
Stop Stansted Expansion has reminded Uttlesford District Council of the heavy responsibility it bears in determining BAA's application for making full use of Stansted's single runway.
Speaking on the eve of the submission of BAA's application to make Stansted the busiest single runway airport in the world, SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone told a packed meeting of the Full Council that this would be the most significant application ever to be faced by UDC, the planning authority for the airport.
The current planning permission, granted just three years ago, allows 25 million passengers to be handled.
Calling on the Council to take a lead in setting the agenda in representing the community, Ms Barbone made clear that the onus was on UDC to thoroughly investigate all of the direct and indirect impacts which such major expansion would have. She emphasised that Uttlesford is the special place it is today because generations past have fought tooth and nail to defend and protect its unique character.
Future generations would be the judge of the quality of UDC's decision, particularly on the vital issue of climate change. As such, the responsibility on the Council's shoulders is very heavy.
The full text of the statement to Council is reproduced below.
ADDRESS BY CAROL BARBONE, STOP STANSTED EXPANSION, TO UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL, 25 APRIL 2006
Three years ago this council approved BAA's application for 25 million passengers a year to use Stansted Airport.
Tomorrow, BAA will submit an application which, if approved, will make Stansted the busiest single runway airport in the world. As a result, this planning application will be the most significant ever to have been considered by Uttlesford District Council.
The application will not be about bricks and mortar, but about the direct and indirect effects of an airport handling more passengers than Gatwick today.
It is essential that these effects are thoroughly examined by the Development Contol committee before a proper assessment can be made. And it will be vital to ensure that the Council does not rely upon BAA's projections, produced by its so-called "independent consultants" (or for that matter to rely upon SSE's analysis). The Council must take its own fully independent expert advice.
But it isn't only the members of Development Control who will bear responsibility for doing the right thing. Every councillor elected to serve the people of Uttlesford has a duty to ensure that the final decision reflects the interests not only of the voters of today, but of the community of the future – irrespective of political party. The focus must be on containing the development of Stansted Airport within tight limits that are truly sustainable. And this Council must set the agenda.
For far too long BAA has been allowed to take the lead and, frankly, a more proactive approach by this Council is long overdue.
SSE's Chairman Peter Sanders recently wrote to every councillor setting out views on how this council could use its power as planning authority to insist on proper protection for those whom it serves. Let me give you two examples:
First, have a look at what has happened elsewhere. West Sussex Council's permission for expansion of Gatwick's single runway to full use was granted only on the condition that BAA accepted a 40-year moratorium on any second runway at Gatwick. If it's possible at Gatwick, why not at Stansted - if you do eventually decide to grant permission for full use here.
The second point is in relation to night flights, where this Council has a longstanding policy of seeking a total ban on all night flights. This planning application presents an opportunity to put that policy onto the negotiating table. Both of BAA's airports in mainland Europe already have a ban on night flights. If the residents of Budapest and Naples can have a decent night's sleep, why should people around Stansted be treated as second class citizens? And even those living within the vicinity of London City Airport, just 35 miles away, are saved from night flights thanks to active negotiation by the planning authority there.
Again, the message is clear. The people of this area must not be sold short.
It isn't just today's residents whose fate lies in your hands. It is our children and grandchildren, wherever they live, who will judge the quality of your decision – particularly on the vital issue of climate change. This of course is the most difficult issue of all to resolve in a manner consistent with the Council's statutory duty to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development. The responsibility is very heavy.
This community is counting on you to do the right thing. Stand up for what you know is important. Insist on having every tool at your disposal that will enable you to ensure the right outcome in the knowledge that your decision will affect so many lives – for better or for worse.
Uttlesford is the special place it is today – a collection of rural communities steeped in heritage and nestled in largely unspoilt countryside – because generations past have fought tooth and nail to defend and protect its unique character.
The responsibility for maintaining the uniqueness of Uttlesford now rests with you.
DON'T BE FOOLED BY BAA'S CLAIMS ON RUNWAY EXPANSION
(press release issued 27 April 2006 by Stop Stansted Expansion)
The airport developer is seeking unlimited use of the existing Stansted runway in terms of passenger numbers by using the runway to its maximum capacity which it estimates at 264,000 commercial flights a year. Just over 22 million passengers currently use the airport annually.
BAA is describing the application as "purely" a variation on the current condition limits. However, the very real effects of further expansion, if given the go-ahead by planning authority Uttlesford District Council, would be felt far and wide across the region. BAA is asking for Stansted to become bigger than Gatwick and, in fact, the most intensely used single runway airport in the world.
As an indication of the impacts, BAA's proposals would, if approved, result in an extra quarter of a million people travelling to and from the airport every week, largely by road, and an increase from an average 490 commercial flights per day to 723 per day – an increase of 48 per cent. Once again, BAA is claiming that its proposals would not require any new investment in road or rail upgrades – a cost which BAA would otherwise have to bear.
These numbers are based on BAA's claim that the airport would grow to handle 35 million passengers a year by 2014 but this is widely regarded as a significant understatement of what would actually happen. Historically, BAA has a record of revising its forecasts upwards as soon as planning consent is obtained. BAA has itself acknowledged that the runway could handle 40 million passengers a year whilst others have estimated that 45 million or even 50 million passengers could be handled on the existing runway.
BAA's attempts to play down the impacts of its application have been condemned as "par for the course" by SSE whose long-standing objective is to contain the development of Stansted Airport within tight limits that are truly sustainable. SSE is now in the process of going through BAA's planning application with a fine toothcomb, knowing that the projected environmental impacts have been produced by highly-paid BAA consultants whose role is to assist BAA in getting its proposals through.
SSE's Campaign Director stressed the importance of seeing beyond the gloss beyond presented by BAA and urged those responsible for determining the application to make sure they weren't deceived by BAA's spin.
"The application will not be about bricks and mortar, but about the direct and indirect effects of an airport handling more passengers than Gatwick today,"she said. "This application is the thin end of the wedge and BAA will have a very tough job on its hands persuading people that further expansion could be sustainable. Pressures on the road and rail system, local air quality, water usage, landscape and climate change would be enormous."
"In determining the application Uttlesford District Council must take account of its statutory duties to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development so that the people of this area are not sold short," she continued. "The onus is on BAA to demonstrate how its proposals for further expansion on the existing runway could truly be sustainable in terms of the effects on local people and the environment. Our elected representatives must not be hoodwinked by a BAA charm offensive aimed at getting approval for its proposals whatever the cost to the local community and the environment."
SSE Campaign Office: 01279 870588
See also the Media Centre for further information including other relevant media releases
Other responses to this planning application, as collected by SSE
"Stansted submits planning application to increase use of existing runway" - press release issued by BAA 26 April 2006
Stansted Generation 1 - Planning Statement issued 26 April 2006 by BAA (Acrobat® format 4.3 MB)
future.stanstedairport.com/main/user/page.phtml?page_id=130 - BAA's full documentation of the application above
Broxted Parish Council's response to the Generation 1 consultation - published 12 October 2005
SSE's initial response to the Generation 1 consultation - published 2 August 2005
BAA Consultation Document: Stansted Airport - Interim Master Plan - Draft for Consultation July 2005 (Acrobat® format 0.9 MB)
Stansted urges community to ‘Have your say’ - press release issued 28 July 2005 by BAA
"Stansted confident of its place at the heart of the regional economy" - press release issued by BAA 11 November 2004, in response to the EERA Draft Regional Plan
(with more on their intention to apply for 35 million passengers per annum on the existing runway)
Draft Regional Plan published December 2004 by EERA (Acrobat ® format 2.8 MB)
Uttlesford District Council's response to BAA's "Scoping Report"- November 2004 (Acrobat ® format, 178 KB)
BAA's "Scoping Report" Consultation on studies proposed to consider the environmental effects of further growth of Stansted (within its existing single runway capacity) - July 2004 (Acrobat ® format, 3.7 MB)
"Stansted confirms plans to submit planning application to grow beyond 25 million" press release issued 28 April 2004 by BAA
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