10th December 2002
Stansted campaign group warns of further challenge
Stop Stansted Expansion – which was one of the parties to the recent High Court action which forced the government to delay its plans for airport expansion – has warned Transport Secretary Alistair Darling of the risk of another legal challenge.
The campaign group which is opposing additional runways at Stansted Airport and the development of other mainland sites is calling for a new national consultation questionnaire to be issued. Stop Stansted Expansion has effectively put the Secretary of State on notice to use the opportunity created by the delay to develop a single questionnaire for the entire UK, to simplify the questions and to remove the bias in the original version – or face a fresh legal challenge.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Alistair Darling, the Chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, Norman Mead argues that the consultation questionnaires should provide people with a fair and proper opportunity to express their views and there should be an even-handed approach for all parts of the United Kingdom.
“The original questionnaires contain a marked bias in favour of expansion and allow residents of other regions to recommend a particular South East airport for development but do not allow residents of the South East to recommend any airport outside of their area,” Mr Mead points out. “If these defects are not remedied there is the risk that the government will face another challenge for being discriminatory and unfair.”
“The government appears hell-bent on massive airport expansion in the already overcrowded mainland South East and unwilling to consider other options,” he continues. “For as long as this blinkered attitude continues, we will use every opportunity to oppose the government’s proposals.”