Stansted: Protestors’ joy as Davies Report says no airport runway until 2030

Sir Alan Haselhurst

Sir Alan Haselhurst - Credit: Archant

Campaigners opposed to the expansion of Stansted Airport yesterday expressed their “huge relief” that a review had discounted proposals for a new runway at the Essex site until 2030.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) feared the Airports Commission’s report into future aviation demands in the south east would have included the proposal on its shortlist in response to pressures from the Government.

However the interim report, launched yesterday by Sir Howard Davies, favoured options in Gatwick and Heathrow, ruling Stansted out until after 2030.

“This is exactly the outcome that the entire SSE team has been working so hard to achieve all year,” said chairman Peter Sanders.

“In truth, however, keeping Stansted off the shortlist was more than we dared hope for – but it is absolutely the right outcome.

“The environmental consequence of even one extra runway would have been catastrophic and there has never been a viable business case for any extra runways at Stansted.”

Politicians in Essex and Suffolk have also welcomed the review.

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MP for Saffron Walden, Sir Alan Haselhurst, pictured, whose constituency covers the airport, said it would have been a “nightmare” if Stansted was to become a London hub airport.

“I’m very pleased that Stansted does not feature in the plans for the immediate future,” he said.

However, Sir Alan said there was still a “feint shadow of blight hanging about” as future governments may not follow the report’s recommendations.

South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo was more assured of the long term picture.

“It’s a very sensible report and I welcome it very warmly,” he said. “I think for this generation, Stansted’s expansion is off the agenda.”

Essex County Council has also supported the report, which it described as a “clear reflection” of its own Flights of Fancy report, published earlier this year.

“We said that a four runway super airport at Stansted was unviable and unwanted – Davies has listened to us,” said a spokesman.

District councillors in Uttlesford, where Stansted is located, said they had campaigned “long and hard” against a runway and were pleased their views had been considered.

“Further runways at Stansted would have a significant impact on the environment and the lives of our residents,” said Jackie Cheetham, deputy leader of the council.

With the final decisions on future airport capacity resting with the government in 2015, however, campaigners and councillors have stressed their commitment to engaging fully with the commission until then.

“It will be another two years before we can even think of letting our guard down,” said Mr Sanders.