25th October 2003

SSE Condemns Blair’s Political Preference for Stansted Expansion

Stop Stansted Expansion has reacted with anger and incredulity to news that Tony Blair favours expansion at Stansted for reasons of political expediency.

Commenting on the story published in the national press which cites a ‘deep split’ between the Prime Minister and Chancellor over the site of a new runway in the south-east, (Independent, 24 October), Campaign Director Carol Barbone said:

“The lack of an economic case for expanding Stansted has clearly been acknowledged by Gordon Brown.  BAA also admits that a second Stansted runway would not be commercially viable without cross-subsidation from Heathrow. The economics just don’t stack up.  For Tony Blair to make party politics the prime consideration is wholly unacceptable and in flagrant breach of the whole consultation process.”

“This has been the largest public consultation ever conducted,” she continued.  “Putting party politics ahead of what is right for this country or the views of the 400,000 people who have contributed to the debate merits our utter contempt and quite possibly the contempt of the courts.  If the Prime Minister thinks he is going to have an easy ride by forcing his views on the people of this region, he’ll be taking on more than he bargained for.”

Stop Stansted Expansion will be making representations to Downing Street and will also be raising the matter with Aviation Minister Tony McNulty at a meeting scheduled for Monday 27 October.

Meanwhile, Stop Stansted Expansion has today issued a major new report on The Economics of Stansted Airport by leading regulatory economist Professor David Starkie.  This concludes that a second runway at Stansted is unlikely to be deliverable because it is not commercially viable.  There would be regulatory obstacles and possible legal challenges.  In addition, it is unlikely that BAA shareholders and financiers would be prepared to invest in an unviable project.


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