Stansted rallies more runway support

THE on-going battle over the future of Stansted Airport has seen business leaders throw their support behind expansion plans. But as the commerce community praised the benefits of a proposed second runway, the council which will decide whether it gets permission warned airport operator BAA it will not have a “walkover”.

THE on-going battle over the future of Stansted Airport has seen business leaders throw their support behind expansion plans.

But as the commerce community praised the benefits of a proposed second runway, the council which will decide whether it gets permission warned airport operator BAA it will not have a “walkover”.

Last week the long-awaited designs for the second runway were revealed and if given the green-light as many as 76 million passengers annually could be using the Essex-based within 30 years.

BAA's preferred “greener” design, which take less land than a previous blueprint, was strongly criticised by the Stop Stansted Expansion group.


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But Terry Morgan, Stansted's managing director, said he had been delighted with the support received since the plans were made public.

Among those to come out in favour were Sir Digby Jones, director general of the Confederation of British Industry.

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He said: “Stansted is now a major employer and driver of economic development within the East of England. The airport will become increasingly more important as the region and its businesses develop further, business needs a world-class gateway to enable the UK to compete in a competitive global market.”

And John Clayton, chief executive of the Essex Chamber of Commerce added: “Expansion of Stansted is seen as one of the keys to the future prosperity of the business community in Essex and the East of England.

“Importantly, expansion will assist the international competitiveness of Essex-based businesses, promote increased inward investment and has the potential to provide a major boost for tourism in the county.”

But Uttlesford District Council, which will decide if the second runway gets the go-ahead, is determined to make any increase in capacity link in to environmental and transport responsibilities.

Council leader Mark Gayler said: “The council is making a clear statement to BAA that any planning application for extended use of the runway beyond 25 million passengers per annum will not be a walkover.

“The council has said BAA must demonstrate that the environmental impacts on those living nearby will be reduced and minimised.”

He added BAA would have to prove all the economic and social implications of the expansion would be beneficial.

There is currently an on-going period of public consultation and it the project goes ahead as BAA hopes it will be submitting a planning application in the summer of 2007, with 2008 as the estimated starting date for a public inquiry.

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