6th July 2017
Don’t be hoodwinked by Stansted Spin, warns SSE
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on further expansion plans.
Both the exhibition which opened today (6 July) and related survey appear designed to trick people into thinking that further expansion at the airport will be painless and sustainable – before the environmental impacts have even been assessed.
“The portrayal of the potential impacts that would arise from further expansion at Stansted is deliberately misleading and the public should be very, very sceptical about the claims being made to try to push through its proposals,” commented Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, after visiting the exhibition at its first outing.
“The airport’s so-called roadshow has all the hallmarks of a sales pitch for time-share apartments. It’s all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives,” Brian Ross continued.
The campaign group is encouraging those visiting the airport’s travelling exhibition to ask questions and insist on explanations about the proposed increase in flight and passenger movements compared to the position today. This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”. In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels.
The airport is currently handling 25 million passengers a year and has not yet started to use the extra 10 million increase to 35 million, granted after a five month public inquiry held in 2007. Despite this, Manchester Airports Group which owns Stansted say that that its growth predictions mean that the present 35 million cap ‘urgently’ needs to be raised to a massive 44.5 million.
Compared with the current throughput, the expansion plans would mean 20 million more passengers per year and an extra 104,000 flights. This translates into an aircraft overflying during daytime hours from the current average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Noise, air quality and especially road and rail transport impacts would all be significantly worsened in contrast to the airport’s claim that there will be ‘no significant adverse environmental effects’.
Those contemplating the use of the airport’s questionnaire as a means of providing comment on concerns about impacts, meanwhile, should also be aware that the survey is deliberately skewed to elicit results which are favourable towards the airport’s plans.
Analysis of the questionnaire reveals that it is appallingly biased. It consists almost entirely of claims for the benefits of Stansted expansion, and a wish list of further potential benefits with no negatives included. It provides no opportunity to express any opinion about the pluses and minuses of expansion, such as likely damage to quality of life and the environment, except in the ‘Anything else we should consider?‘ question, which does not encourage criticism, in particular because it says ‘as part of our proposals’.
SSE is recommending that those living in the region who wish to make representations on the expansion plans should email or write direct to Uttlesford District Council Planning Department or use their online planning portal (quoting reference UTT/17/1640/SO) to give their views first-hand, rather than be manipulated into answering a set of questions that are contrived to give an overly positive answer that can be used against the community and support the latest round of calls for growth.
More information on Stansted Airport’s formal submission to Uttlesford District Council can be found here.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Brian Ross, Deputy Chairman, SSE, T 01279 814961, M 07850 937143, firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE, M 0777 552 3091, email@example.com
SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; firstname.lastname@example.org