15th December 2020


Most of us will say good riddance to 2020.  Some 70,000 of our fellow citizens will have died from Covid-19 in 2020 and that will be the lasting memory for most of us.  The pandemic has also caused many local job losses and taken Stansted Airport back almost 20 years to an annual throughput of less than 8 million passengers.

Some better news

It’s not all bad news. Global carbon emissions have fallen by 2.4 billion tonnes in 2020 because of the reduced level of economic activity, including fewer flights. In that regard, the Government’s independent advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, published a major report on December 9th recommending no further airport expansion if the UK is to meet its ‘net zero’ target for Greenhouse Gas emissions by 2050.

Another piece of good news is the positive impact of the grounding of most air travel on the UK Balance of Payments.  In 2019 the UK posted a £34 billion trade deficit on international travel and tourism.  UK residents made 93 million visits overseas compared to just 41 million inward visits to the UK by overseas residents.

It is estimated that the Spanish tourism industry has lost £20 billion this year from UK tourists.  There have also been huge losses for the tourism industry in France, Greece and Portugal.  Whilst the UK also has lost income from foreign tourists, it is benefiting in net terms to the tune of about £3 billion every month.

Consumer spending statistics indicate that much of the money which would otherwise have been spent on foreign holidays has been diverted to home improvements, new furniture and appliances, and savings. Despite intermittent restrictions, there has also been increased consumer spending on ‘staycations’.

Public Inquiry

The Stansted Airport Public Inquiry starts on January 12th at the Radisson Blu Hotel, adjacent to the airport terminal. SSE will be presenting a mountain of technical evidence but it is also vital for the Inquiry to hear the views of local residents. Your contribution needn’t be lengthy or complicated. A personal statement from a local resident can be far more powerful than an expert consultant’s report.  For example, you could provide a local perspective which the Inspectors might not otherwise have been able to hear.

You can give your evidence via video link rather than appearing in person. Applications to speak should be emailed to info@programmeofficers.co.uk who will then advise on the arrangements.


  • MAG’s Planning Application seeks permission for Stansted to be allowed to handle 43 million passengers per annum (mppa), close to Gatwick’s level of throughput. Stansted currently has permission for 35mppa and in 2019 handled 28.1mppa.



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