Campaigners lose Stansted fight

AN attempt to stop Stansted Airport increasing its annual passenger number limit was thrown out by the High Court this morning.

Roddy Ashworth

AN attempt to stop Stansted Airport increasing its annual passenger number limit was thrown out by the High Court this morning.

Campaigners had accused the Government of trying to “steamroll” through plans to allow an additional 10 million passengers a year to use the Essex airport.

But High Court judge Sir Thayne Forbes rejected the challenge, by pressure group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), saying its objections were “unjustified and without substance”.

Speaking after the ruling, SSE campaigner Carol Barbone said: “This High Court action was never simply about winning or losing.

“Our primary concern was to ensure that our main battle against a second Stansted runway was not prejudiced by the wording of the original decision.”

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She added that group would be seeking leave to appeal.

However, Stansted's commercial and development director, Nick Barton, said: “We are very pleased with today's decision - it's the right decision, and one we fully expected.

“The social and economic case for G1 remains strong, and our plans were endorsed by a full and independent public inquiry and a recommendation for approval by the planning inspector.”

Michelle Di Leo, director for pro-aviation coalition FlyingMatters, said: “Today's judgement is a vindication of the social and economic case for sustainable growth in aviation.

“The decision echoes the Government's confidence in the ability of the aviation industry to meet the twin challenges of increased demand and the environment.

“It allows for long-term planning and investment in services and new technology which is vitally important in the current economic situation.”