Legal action threat over runway

A COUNCIL bitterly opposed to the expansion of Stansted Airport is holding a special meeting to work out what action to take now the Government has decided to build a second runway there.

By Juliette Maxam

A COUNCIL bitterly opposed to the expansion of Stansted Airport is holding a special meeting to work out what action to take now the Government has decided to build a second runway there.

Uttlesford District Council ran a high profile campaign and supported the Stop Stansted Expansion group against further runways at the Essex airport.

But last month the Government announced in its White Paper on the future development of air transport it wanted to make the best use of current facilities at Stansted and build a second runway by 2012.

Councillors are due to meet next Monday at an extraordinary meeting called especially to discuss the Government's plans for Stansted. Council leader Alan Dean predicts there will be fighting talk from members.

"I'm confident the council will resolve to oppose the Government's policy in its White Paper and I expect it will agree we will look into various avenues including the possibility of legal action."

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Mr Dean added: "Members from Uttlesford met with members from East Hertfordshire District Council, Hertfordshire County Council and Essex County Council on Friday afternoon and we are already looking into options for legal action as well as other ways of resisting a future runway ever happening."

The White Paper said it expects bosses at Stansted to move quickly to develop a detailed design for the new runway and development associated with it.

The council expects to receive a planning application for development to make the most of existing facilities at Stansted later this year.

It is expected a planning application for the second runway, associated terminal facilities, aircraft aprons, taxiways, surface access, car parking and other infrastructure will be submitted subsequently.

A report to councillors to prepare them for the meeting says: "It is important to note that the White Paper is a statement of Government policy, providing a framework for action and future consideration of proposals. It does not permit any development.

"The Government is not promoting Stansted; it will not pay for its development. It invites airport operators to bring forward proposals for increased capacity in the light of the Government's policies and conclusions, for critical examination through the proper statutory processes, notably the planning process and within that environmental assessment."

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