An environmental catastrophe
In the course of the past five decades, two major Public Inquiries, a Royal Commission (Roskill) and the independent Airports Commission have ruled against Stansted expanding beyond a single runway.
The famous Airport Inquiries which ran from 1981-83 judged that a second runway at Stansted, in any position or location, would be an “environmental catastrophe”. The words of the Inspector, Graham Eyre QC (later Sir Graham Eyre) were as follows:
“I would not be debasing the currency if I express my judgement that the development of an airport at Stansted, with a capacity in excess of 25mppa and requiring the construction and operation of a second runway and all the structural and operational paraphernalia of a modern international airport as we know the animal in 1984, would constitute nothing less than a catastrophe in environmental terms.”
More recently, the independent Airports Commission, which was established by the Government in 2012 to consider options for increasing airport capacity in the South East, did not even include Stansted on its shortlist for a second runway. After extensive examination of all the options, the Commission narrowed down the possibilities to a choice between Heathrow and Gatwick and, in its final report (July 2015), the Commission came down in favour of Heathrow. The Government accepted this recommendation.