Plea to northern Tories: veto Stansted

Blackpool, Tuesday October 7 2003A DIRECT appeal has been made to Tory delegates from the north, midlands, and Scotland to oppose the expansion of Stansted airport in order to boost their local economies.

By Graham Dines

Blackpool, Tuesday October 7 2003

A DIRECT appeal has been made to Tory delegates from the north, midlands, and Scotland to oppose the expansion of Stansted airport in order to boost their local economies.

Essex and Hertfordshire county councils and East Herts district authority are urging Tories not to allow air traffic to be sucked into the south and east of England at the expense of airport development in other regions.


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A government consultation document published earlier this year puts forward the proposal that Stansted should have at least one extra runway, built over hundreds of acres of mid Essex green fields, and could end up with another three, turning it into a hub airport bigger than Heathrow or Paris Charles de Gaulle.

Lord Hanningfield, the Tory leader of Essex county council, has written to delegates in Blackpool this week saying: "The road and rail networks in the south and east are already heavily congested and there are serious questions about how they would cope with the additional traffic expanded airports would generate.

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"By concentrating airport development in the south and east, we will continue to force more people from outside the region into the system, with all the negative impacts this brings.

"At a time when the profile of the south east is widely acknowledged as being unsustainable while other UK regions are developing at a much slower pace, we cannot understand why the Government appears to be failing to grasp the significant opportunity aviation offers to simultaneously address these issue," says Lord Hanningfield.

"The Government insists not only on considering aviation in isolation from the overall national transport strategy, but appears not to acknowledge the crucial role of airports in delivering its own economic and social regeneration objections for regions outside the north east."

Lord Hanningfield says delegates should back the Core Cities Group which represents Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, Liverpool, Sheffield, Nottingham and Bristol, which supports the development of regional airports in their area as well as a greater national role for Manchester Airport.

He points out that currently one in five passengers flying from the south east comes from outside the region. An expanded Stansted would increase that figure considerably.

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