3rd August 2012

SSE celebrates tenth birthday

There was only time for a brief pause during a busy Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) committee meeting today (3 August) to celebrate the campaign group’s tenth birthday. After a quick group photograph and a slice of cake it was back to work, dealing with the Government’s latest consultation on future aviation policy.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders later took time out to reflect on the origins of the campaign group, back in the summer of 2002, when the Government published airport expansion proposals for the South East, including proposals for up to three additional runways at Stansted which would have made it bigger than any other airport on the world.

The following year the Government finalised its policy, settling for one extra runway at Stansted which it wanted to have operational by 2011 or 2012. Peter Sanders commented: “When you consider that we had to do battle with both BAA and the might of the Government, it was quite an achievement when Stansted’s owners finally threw in the towel on the 24th of May 2010 by withdrawing its second runway planning application”.

Mr Sanders continued: “Once again, however, the Government is re-visiting the issue of airport capacity in the South East and SSE is working hard behind the scenes trying to prevent a repeat of the threat of Stansted becoming another Heathrow. But make no mistake: if the threat does re-emerge, we will resist it with as much determination as ever.”


1. Successfully challenged the 2002 consultation in the High Court, forcing a re-run of the consultation and buying precious time to organise the community campaign of opposition
2. SSE’s Judicial Review of the 2003 Air Transport White Paper forced BAA to go back to the drawing board on siting options for a second Stansted runway
3. SSE campaign opposing cross-subsidy of Stansted by Heathrow and Gatwick led to the outlawing of this practice by the CAA, reducing the viability of expansion at Stansted
4. Led a successful campaign against BAA’s practice of offering free car parking passes for all its airports to all MPs, MEPs and members of the House of Lords
5. Brought the BAA monopoly issue to the fore in the media, Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels and through unusual collaboration with certain airlines prompting investigations by the OFT and the Competition Commission which ultimately led to the break-up of BAA
6. Used concerted Parliamentary action to force the Government to retain limits on night flights at Stansted at a time when it wanted to rely solely upon unenforceable noise quotas
7. Whilst unable to prevent approval for Stansted to grow to 35 million passengers a year on the existing runway, SSE secured a number of important concessions
8. SSE has been successful in lobbying for increases in Air Passenger Duty so that aviation pays more of its environmental costs and a fairer share of overall taxation
9. Received a Parliamentary Award for Best Community Campaign and an Award was made in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for SSE’s former Chairman, Norman Mead
10. David Cameron and Nick Clegg both pledged support for SSE’s campaign in their 2010 manifestos – and kept to their word – cancelling Stansted’s second runway plans in the Coalition Agreement

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