| Press Release - 7 December 2004
***See photocall details for 13 December at the end of this release***
JUDICIAL REVIEW OF THE AIR TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER STARTS 13 DECEMBER
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
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
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 email@example.com
Contact Carol Barbone 0777 552 3091 for other information about the photo opportunities.
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, Stop Stansted Expansion 0777 552 3091 and firstname.lastname@example.org
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