Air quality

From time to time, SSE receives multiple simultaneous reports from local residents of kerosene/fuel odours downwind from the airport and occasionally, oily films on the surfaces of garden ponds/pools.

SSE has in the past taken these matters up with the airport and it appears that the problem arises on rare occasions when there are fuel spillages and when fuel vapours are vented from storage tanks on the airport fuel farm, or from aircraft during refueling, when there is warm weather.

A study undertaken by Stansted Airport over a three-month period in 2005 resulted in 99 reports from local residents of fuel odours or fuel films on ponds and pools. The majority of the reports were from Birchanger and Stansted Mountfitchet – the two communities nearest the airport fuel farm.

At the height of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, when Stansted Airport was at a virtual standstill, SSE received a number of reports from local residents to the effect that they had noted an absence of oily films on their garden ponds – clearly indicating that a link with airport operations.

If you detect kerosene/fuel odours you can report this using the same form as for noise complaints noise complaint form. This is automatically sent to the airport and SSE receives a copy which enables us to monitor reports and take follow-up action where appropriate. You can use the same form to report an oily surface film on your garden pond or pool which you believe may be airport related.

For further information about the impacts of airport-related air pollution on community health visit the Health Matters page on this website.

and finally…

… if you’ve ever wondered what comes out of a jet engine, you can find the answer here.

Campaigning to ensure Stansted Airport's authorised operations stay below harmful limits