3rd October 2002

228,000 extra cars to travel daily to Stansted Airport

Full-scale development of Stansted Airport on the lines envisaged by the Government would generate overwhelming increases in traffic throughout the area, according to research by independent consultants Berkeley Hanover Consulting.

The four-runway option proposed by the Government would generate a staggering average daily increase of 228,000 car journeys to the airport in 2030 if three new runways were built. Currently there are some 40,000 daily trips by passengers and workers – by 2030 this would increase to some 270,000 trips on an average day. Maximum use of the current runway would increase road use by an average of more than 19,000 vehicles a day. Economic consultants Berkeley Hanover predict that even with improved motorway links, local roads would suffer from significant congestion in the network.

To ease congestion caused by the airport’s development, the Government has proposed that, even with a single extra runway, a new dual carriageway linking the M11 to the A120 trunk road should be built. This major route will be driven through unspoilt countryside to the north of the airport, potentially ruining the quality of life in at least five villages. The projected route leaves the M11 just south of Henham and passes directly through Pledgdon Green, Broxted, Great Easton and Little Easton before joining the A120 to the west of Great Dunmow. For the two and three runway options widening of the M11 between junctions 6 and 8 is proposed.

The Berkeley Hanover analysis, commissioned by Stop Stansted Expansion, has provided technical advice on economic and traffic impacts of the airport expansion. It estimated an average six-fold increase in the number of employees driving to work at a four-runway airport and an average seven-fold rise in the annual numbers of passengers driving to the airport by 2030.

Berkeley Hanover predicts rapid airport expansion will generate tens of thousands of extra local jobs in the aviation industry, support industries and the service sector. Many will be relatively low-paid, ruling out long distance commuting by public transport for the majority of employees. Because of low unemployment levels in the vicinity of the airport, it is predicted that the vast majority of jobs will be filled by people from outside the area and from as far as North London.

Martin Shenfield of Berkeley Hanover Consulting said: “The development of three new runways could lead to a ten-fold increase in the numbers of passengers driving to Stansted at peak times by 2030, particularly in the summer. It is unlikely the motorway could take the strain of all this extra traffic because people would be traveling to the airport from different directions. That is bound to cause severe congestion on the local road network unless significant expansion of local roads is undertaken.”

Norman Mead, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “This madness has to be stopped. The monstrous growth in traffic generated by even one extra runway could, quite literally, bring local roads to a standstill. People must realise the knock-on effect of the airport expansion is not just an unimaginable increase in airborne noise and pollution, but also an intolerable pressure on their day-to-day lives. Just driving to another local town or village could become a mission.”

“The plans that the Government is putting forward to ease congestion are laughable,” he continued. “They will in no way be able to cope with this kind of massive increase in car journeys. Furthermore, they mean that the rural character of at least five villages will change forever and the impact of the new link road would spread far more widely into dozens of surrounding towns and villages. Knowing the disruption that the current roadworks on the M11 are causing, I cannot begin to imagine how significantly these major infrastructure developments will affect us all from a very early stage.”

The Stop Stansted Expansion campaign is urging people who would be affected by the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport to write to their MP to express their concerns so that these views can be represented to the Secretary of State for Transport.

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