Stansted Airport welcomes Government strategy to make full use of existing runway capacity
- Credit: Archant
Business leaders in Essex have welcomed Government proposals to make best use of existing airport runway capacity across the UK.
Proposals set out by Ministers aim to boost economic growth, connectivity and skills by ensuring that short-term demand for air travel is met ahead of the completion of the planned third runway at Heathrow.
Stansted Airport, which already has consent to grow from its current total of around 25m passengers a year to 35m, is currently consulting the local community on increasing the cap to 44m a year – around the maximum number possible using its existing, single, runway.
Andrew Cowan, chief executive at Stansted, said the continuing success of Stansted would be “critical in supporting economic growth and increasing our global competitiveness”, and the Government’s proposals for making the most of existing capacity were “very welcome”.
“By lifting the current planning caps, Stansted will be able to serve around 44m passengers a year on its existing runway by 2030 and within current environmental limits,” said Mr Cowan.
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“This will benefit not only the dynamic and fast growing East of England region, but also London and the UK. It will support the creation of 5,000 new on-site jobs and billions of pounds in additional economic activity, ensuring the UK succeeds as an outward-facing trading nation as we leave the EU.
“Unlocking the full potential of Stansted’s single runway will provide long term certainty and clarity for the local community, and confidence for our airlines and customers to invest in the airport. We look forward to developing and shaping these plans to make best use of the airport over the coming months.”
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Denise Rossiter, chief executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said: “Essex’s economy is still growing and we know businesses are looking to trade more overseas, which will be especially important as we leave the EU. Stansted has spare capacity which the Government should be looking to encourage the use of.”
However, the Stop Stansted Expansion group has claimed that a recent series of exhibitions held by the airport was misleading, with the full environmental impact of the proposed expansion yet to be full assessed.
The group says the airport’s impact on the environment would be “significantly worsened”, with more noise and air pollution.