19th June 2017

SSE brands Airport expansion plans as premature and opportunistic

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned Stansted Airport for insulting the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the community at large by claiming that its latest expansion proposals will have “no significant adverse environmental effects”. SSE’s Chairman Peter Sanders has further stressed the need for the council not to be hoodwinked by the airport’s spurious claim and to ensure a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts that would result from major expansion.

The statement comes following the airport’s formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights.

If approved, this application, taken together with the increases in passenger movements and flights to meet the existing caps, would result in an extra 20 million passengers and an extra 104,000 flights every year blighting the lives of thousands across the region. Yet, according to the airport in its letter to council bosses there is no cause for concern because:

It should be noted that at this time no significant adverse environmental effects
are predicted as a consequence of the proposed development.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders makes clear: “It’s an insult to the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council and the entire local community, for Stansted Airport to claim that an extra 20 million passengers per annum (mppa) and an extra 104,000 annual flights will have no significant adverse environmental effects.

About half of all Stansted’s passengers travel to and from the airport by car and this proposal would give rise to an 80% increase in airport-related road traffic. That would have serious implications in terms of traffic congestion on our local roads, especially when considered alongside the scale of local housing development currently underway and planned.

The proposed 104,000 increase in the number of flights meanwhile – an extra 2,000 flights a week – will increase the frequency of overflying during the day from the current average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Again, common sense alone indicates that this will have a serious adverse impact upon local communities.

Why the rush?
Stansted hasn’t even started to make use of its 2008 permission to grow from 25mppa to 35mppa. Even by its own projections, the airport doesn’t expect to reach 35mppa until 2024 although the credibility of its forecasts are questionable given its wildly inaccurate record on this front.

Meanwhile, the Government is currently preparing its National Airports Policy to be presented to Parliament for approval, next spring. The will set down the long term policy for the development of all UK airports. Until such time as the new policy is agreed, there is a policy vacuum and further uncertainty has been created by the recent general election results.

As a consequence, SSE considers that it is both premature and opportunistic for Stansted Airport to submit a planning application this year to expand the airport beyond its present planning limits. Peter Sanders concluded: “We may not be able to prevent the airport from submitting a planning application but we must at least try to ensure that there is a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts. That will be our main focus in the months ahead. We must do our best to ensure that Uttlesford District Council is not rolled over by the glossy presentations and smooth words from the experts Stansted Airport is paying to dance to its planning application tune.”


More information on Stansted Airport’s formal submission to Uttlesford District Council can be found here.


Brian Ross, Deputy Chairman, SSE, T 01279 814961, M 07850 937143, brian.ross@lineone.net
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE, M 0777 552 3091, cbarbone@mxc.co.uk
SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; info@stanstedairportwatch.com

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