New Stansted runway plans revealed

DETAILS of the controversial second runway for Stansted Airport have been revealed in expansion plans which could see passenger numbers leap to 76million per year.

DETAILS of the controversial second runway for Stansted Airport have been revealed in expansion plans which could see passenger numbers leap to 76million per year.

Airport operator BAA has shortlisted seven possible options for the £2.7 billion pound project which it boasts will be “greener” than previous design drawn up by the Government.

But at the start of a three-month public consultation, anti-expansionists said their battle would continue and called for the runway to be scrapped.

BAA's preferred option would take less land and boasts costs that are 30% lower than the £3.7 billion estimated in the Government's White Paper on aviation in 2003.

At yesterday's launch, Terry Morgan, BAA Stansted's managing director, acknowledged there would be an environmental impact but said the development was vital for economic development.

He also claimed people in the eastern region would not notice a great change in the noise, saying new technology was making planes quieter.

Most Read

The company hopes the second runway will be open by 2013 at the earliest - a year later than previously stated - and believes it will create about 26,000 jobs.

Stansted currently serves 22million passengers each year on its one runway, but by 2030 that figure could be 76million.

Mr Morgan said the launch of the consultation was to “test whether the preferred option is the right option and whether it can be improved even more”.

“Today's announcement is a hugely significant moment in the development of Stansted as one of the EU and UK's premier airports. A second runway here will play a key role in helping UK industry compete and win in the global economy,” he said.

The company has said it will be putting £500million towards the costs of road and rail infrastructure to support the airport but anti-expansionists believe that falls far short of true costs.

Mr Morgan said it was his belief people in the region would not be badly affected by the extra planes.

He said although the increased airport traffic planes would be more noticeable in the area directly around the airport he argued there were be little difference for those further away when the planes are at 10,000feet and above.

BAA's preferred option of those being put forward is a new runway about 2,274 metres to the east of the existing one.

At yesterday's briefing at the airport, the company said it had reduced the amount of land needed by about 10%, reducing the number of properties which will be destroyed from 100 to 83.

The runway which was revealed to the public back in 2003 would have resulted in 29 listed buildings being bulldozed - a figure now down to 25.

If the project goes ahead as BAA hopes it will be submitting its planning application in the summer of 2007, with 2008 as the estimated starting date for a public inquiry.

At a press conference which followed airport operator BAA's announcement, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) said the “slightly scaled-back perimeter” would do nothing to lessen the widespread impact on the surrounding counties including Essex and Suffolk.

SSE has called on BAA to withdraw its plans for a second runway, saying it would be an environmental catastrophe if it ever went ahead.

Chairman Peter Sanders said: “It is utterly irresponsible to put forward this scheme and we call on them to withdraw it straight away.

“By no stretch of the imagination could the noise from three times as many planes at Stansted as today be ignored, nor could the impacts which would result from an extra million passengers per week travelling to and from the airport, largely by road but also on a creaking rail system.

“The rural character of the region would inevitably suffer a major transformation as a result of the proposals in the unlikely event of their ever being allowed.”

Lord Hanningfield, leader of Essex County Council, described the plans as “unwanted, unfundable and unnecessary.”

nA Suffolk businessman appeared on primetime television last night to support the proposed second runway.

Clive Thomas, chairman of the Institute of Directors' Suffolk branch, was interviewed in the Three Horseshoes at Molehill Green, Essex - a pub that has become a focus for some protests - to make the case for the development on the BBC's Six O'Clock News.

Speaking after the interview, Mr Thomas said: “We believe a second runway at Stansted is good for business. We believe that a thriving Stansted is an important part of a thriving East Anglian business scene.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter