28th January 2004
SSE slams BAA’s minimalist, cost-saving approach
BAA’s latest announcement (27 January) on how it would compensate homeowners if plans for a second runway were allowed to proceed confirms the company’s minimalist approach to its compensation obligations and almost total disregard for the impact its proposals would have on at least 12,000 local homeowners many of whose homes will be blighted for years even if the expansion plans never see the light of day.
By BAA’s own admission in its controversial ‘Dear Neighbour’ letter sent just before Christmas, 12,000 local homes would be adversely impacted by expansion. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) considers that the actual number is likely to be nearer to 19,000 homes – some 44,000 people who would be subjected to noise levels in excess of the World Health Organisation recommendations.
However, the announcement by BAA offers a financial safety net only to the 74 householders whose homes would need to be removed to make way for a second runway and to another 33 homeowners in Bambers Green and Molehill Green.
Commented SSE Chairman Norman Mead: “SSE has said all along that BAA cannot justify the cost of a second Stansted runway without external subsidies. BAA itself admits this is the case. Today’s announcement merely scratches the surface of the compensation issue. Is this a signal that BAA intends to cut its costs to the bone, including compensation costs, at the expense of its ‘neighbours’?”
“The announcement says nothing about how BAA would compensate those who live in the other 18,900 (or 11,900 using BAA’s figures) local homes. If BAA was prepared to extend its ‘safety net’ offer to all those whose properties and quality of life would be adversely affected by a second runway, this would at least show a degree of corporate social responsibility. This would mitigate some of the effects of the current uncertainty and anxiety which it has caused with its plans for a second runway.”
“Specifically, in relation to the 107 householders covered by the announcement, SSE’s advice is that they should not allow themselves to be bullied into thinking a second runway is a foregone conclusion.”
“The legal, regulatory, planning and commercial obstacles are of such magnitude that we believe BAA is deluding itself and creating unnecessary anxiety in the community by continuing to threaten us with a second runway,” continued Norman Mead. “We will oppose their plans every step of the way until such time as they formally withdraw this threat.”
PUBLIC MEETING TO DISCUSS PERIMETER PLAN
Stop Stansted Expansion will be holding a meeting at Takeley Primary School next Thursday, 5 February at 7.30pm, regarding the proposed new perimeter and the homes which are directly threatened by this. This will provide an opportunity for the people of Takeley and Broxted particularly those in receipt of the BAA letter dated 27 January to share information and develop a mechanism for addressing issues of common concern so that BAA cannot play people off against each other.
Further information on the public meeting is available from the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign office on 01279 870558.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) operates a Contact Centre Helpline on 0870 333 1600. This helpline puts callers in touch with experienced chartered surveyors locally who will provide up to 30 minutes free advice. See also the RICS website www.ricsfirms.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org.