Home Page Link Thaxted - under the present flightpath and threatened with quadrupled activity Takeley's 12th century parish church, close to proposed second runway Harcamlow Way, Bamber's Green - much of the long distance path and village would disappear under Runway 2 Clavering - typical of the Uttlesford villages threatened by urbanisation
Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport

image Press Release - 7 December 2004

***See photocall details for 13 December at the end of this release***


Plans for a second runway at Stansted and other proposals to expand passenger capacity at Heathrow and Luton airports could be stopped in their tracks or radically rethought if the first-ever Judicial Review of a Government White Paper, due to start at the High Court this Monday (13 December), is successful.

The challenge to the Air Transport White Paper has been mounted by a consortium consisting of Stop Stansted Expansion, the Heathrow campaign group HACAN, the Luton campaign group LADACAN and the London Boroughs of Hillingdon and Wandsworth.  It will be heard in parallel with a second claim from a group of five Essex and Hertfordshire local authorities.

The High Court will hear evidence that the White Paper addressing the future of air transport over the next 30 years, published on 16 December 2003, was fundamentally flawed, that it reached its conclusions in material breach of the process which should have been followed in the consultation and made substantial changes in the course of the consultation which the public were not advised about and therefore were not able to comment upon.

The challenge by Stop Stansted Expansion and its partners will highlight four key flaws in the White Paper:

1.      The absence of a commercial justification for a second Stansted runway, contrary to the Government's own requirements for the consultation.

2.      The failure to make clear in the consultation that the ending of runway alternation at Heathrow - a method of ensuring some respite from overflying for people living in West London - could be a short-term alternative to a third runway.

3.      The failure to consult on the extended runway proposals put forward for Luton (the consultation examined two completely different options for expanding the airport).

4.      The failure to provide information to the public about alternative development proposals for airports which had been submitted or to give proper consideration to these options and the failure to inform or consult the public about other fundamental shifts in the Government's position which took place during the course of the consultation.

Regarding the development of a second runway at Stansted, one of the key criteria demanded by the consultation was that commercial viability was a "hurdle which must be passed for new and existing airport sites."  It is clear that a second Stansted runway can only be commercially viable if cross-subsidised by Heathrow and Gatwick revenues - something which the Civil Aviation Authority has repeatedly made clear it is not prepared to sanction.

The challenge by the five local authorities, meanwhile, addresses the failure of the Government to carry out an environmental impact assessment before proposing development at Stansted and the fact that the White Paper is over-specific in determining the location of a second runway without such an assessment.  It also attacks the White Paper on Stansted economic issues and the failure to consult on the extended runway proposals at Luton.

Speaking ahead of the court action, Peter Sanders, Chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said:  "We do not underestimate the scale of the challenge before us because the courts have never before overturned a Government White Paper. However, we believe that in this particular case we can clearly demonstrate to the High Court that the Government's enthusiasm to sanction massive airport expansion in the South East resulted in its bungling and bulldozing its way through to the White Paper, ignoring proper processes and its own ground rules and chopping and changing the issues under consideration without consulting or even informing the public of the changes."

"Our aim is to overturn the conclusions of the White Paper and force the Government to think again about the whole issue of airport expansion in the South East," he continued. "This action is just one element in our much broader campaign founded on challenging expansion through a range of legal avenues, the planning process and economic routes to defeat the unsustainable proposals once and for all."

The presiding judge, Mr Justice Sullivan, has set aside six days for the combined hearing although there will be further opportunities for the claimants' barristers (David Smith and Daniel Kolinsky) to input during the hearing of a separate but related third claim from property developer Persimmon, due to be heard from 20 January.  A decision is not expected before February 2005.


There will be two photo opportunities on Monday 13 December as follows:

1.      Scores of Stop Stansted Expansion supporters departing for the first day of the Judicial Review on a coach decorated with banners and posters (7.30am Silver Jubilee Hall, Takeley, on the west side of the Four Ashes crossroads).
2.      Scores of Stop Stansted Expansion campaigners with bright yellow placards and banners reinforcing the message 'say NO to Stansted Expansion' outside the Royal Courts of Justice at the Aldwych (10am, before the High Court proceedings begin).

Peter Sanders (SSE Chairman) and Carol Barbone (Campaign Director) will be present at both if interviews are required.

Pictures will be available from SSE on request by emailing Peter Riding at peter@webserve.co.uk Contact Carol Barbone 0777 552 3091 for other information about the photo opportunities.

Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, Stop Stansted Expansion 0777 552 3091 and cbarbone@mxc.co.uk

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