9th June 2003

SSE Condemns Intervention by John Prescott

Stop Stansted Expansion has condemned the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) for singling out Stansted Airport as a business ‘flying high’ on its good practice within disadvantaged areas as disgraceful.

The comments were made in a news release issued by the ODPM on 6 June and come at a critical period in the Department for Transport’s consultation into the future of air transport in the UK. Expansion at Stansted Airport through the addition of up to three runways is one of a number of proposals being considered in a consultation which ends on 30 June.

Said campaign director, Carol Barbone: “This is a disgraceful and brazen attempt to try to persuade people that regeneration of the Stansted area is sorely needed when in fact it has virtually no unemployment and was only recently voted the best place in Britain to live. Indeed the airport is going to find it difficult to fill the 7000 low skilled, low paid jobs which will come from expanding the airport from 15m passengers per year to 25m and could under no circumstances be called a deprived area in need of regeneration.”

“Bussing staff to Stansted from North London might work in the short term and with low numbers,” she continued, “but it is hardly a sustainable solution when you consider that up to 93,000 extra workers would need to be found if expansion went ahead.”

“Clearly, this announcement calls into question the relationship between the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the aviation industry, particularly BAA. There is no doubt that this is a stitch-up, designed to pave the way for building 80,000 extra homes as part of John Prescott’s misnamed ‘Sustainable Communities Plan’ and the expansion of the airport.”

“If Barbara Roche, the Minister for Social Exclusion and Equality quoted in the statement really wants to ensure that those who are most seriously affected by the proposed expansion have a voice and are not excluded from the consultation process itself, she should come to Stansted and see for herself what is at stake” she concluded.

Stop Stansted Expansion is opposed to the addition of further runways at both Stansted and elsewhere in the South East on the basis that if the aviation industry no longer received unfair exemptions from VAT on fuel, parts and planes then there would in fact be no need to expand air transport capacity.

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