19th July 2013

SSE slams opportunistic, irresponsible and pointless expansion proposals for Stansted

Proposals today from the Manchester Airport Group (MAG) to develop Stansted into a two-runway, or even a four-runway, airport have been described by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) as “opportunistic, irresponsible and pointless”.

Commenting on the submission to the Airports Commission, SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “It is of little consolation that MAG has framed its proposals in an unenthusiastic, half-hearted way which grudgingly admits that it would be ‘willing’ to add an extra runway or runways at Stansted, about 15 years from now, if that’s what the Airports Commission and the Government decide is best. This will be seen by many as an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for any decision to expand the airport.”

The MAG proposals resurrect the expansion options for Stansted put forward by the Government almost exactly eleven years ago, in July 2002. These all came to nothing but it took an eight-year battle before BAA, the former owner of the airport, conceded defeat and withdrew its plans for a second runway.

During that time – from 2002 to 2010 – needless stress and anxiety was caused to those whose homes were threatened by the bulldozer and over a £1billion was wiped off local house prices – all for nothing. Now, just three years later, there is the prospect of another prolonged battle over the same issue.

Peter Sanders added: “We really shouldn’t have to go through this whole argument again just three years after the last threat was lifted. We are profoundly disappointed that MAG has behaved in this opportunistic and irresponsible way.”

“We will be doing everything possible to convince the Airports Commission to reject the idea of any new runways at Stansted. With the airport currently operating at only half its permitted capacity a second runway – never mind a four-runway hub double the size of Heathrow today – is completely unnecessary on business grounds and it would be completely unacceptable on environmental grounds. Even looking 15 years down the line and beyond, there is no case for Stansted to be one of the short-listed options.”

Mr Sanders concluded: “This will once again create widespread blight and uncertainty in the local community, and once again it will prove to be a pointless exercise. As in the past, any proposals for an extra runway or runways at Stansted will be met with fierce local opposition, will be fought tooth and nail, and will ultimately be defeated.”


  • Today’s proposals from MAG are contained in its submission to the Airports Commission, the independent body, chaired by Sir Howard Davies, which has been given the job of advising Government what, if anything, needs to be done to maintain the UK’s status as a global aviation hub.
  • It will now be for the Airports Commission to consider MAG’s proposals for Stansted alongside other airport expansion proposals it has received, including for Heathrow, Gatwick and Birmingham and for a new airport in the Thames Estuary. The Commission will produce a shortlist by the end of the year and will make its final recommendations in two years’ time, in mid-2015.

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