| Press Release - 30 January 2007
FERROVIAL'S PLAN FOR STANSTED 'BELLIGERENT AND IRRESPONSIBLE'
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has described Ferrovial's latest expansion plans for Stansted as "belligerent and irresponsible" and has accused the Spanish infrastructure company which acquired BAA last year of being concerned only with profit regardless of the devastating environmental impact which its plans would have both locally and globally.
Aviation is the fastest growing contributor to global climate change and last year Stansted was responsible for the equivalent of some five million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. With a second runway, this figure could rise to some 12 million tonnes a year. [see Note 1]
Locally also, the environmental impact would be devastating. It would result in the destruction of communities that have developed over centuries as well as vast swathes of unspoilt countryside and ancient woodlands. At the last Stansted Public Inquiry, Inspector Graham Eyre concluded as follows:
"I would not be debasing the currency if I express my judgement that the development of an airport at Stansted, with a capacity in excess of 25mppa and requiring the construction and operation of a second runway and all the structural and operational paraphernalia of a modern international airport as we know the animal in 1984, would constitute nothing less than a catastrophe in environmental terms." [see Note 2]
At that time (1984) Graham Eyre's reference to an 'environmental catastrophe' was entirely based on the local impacts. Had he known what we now know about the damage caused by aircraft emissions to the global environment, and of the urgent need to dramatically reduce emissions of carbon dioxide if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, there can be little doubt that he would have taken an even stronger line against the expansion of Stansted.
Ferrovial has chosen to pay only lip service to the environmental consequences of its expansion plans for Stansted and wants another runway by 2015. It goes without saying that this will be fiercely opposed by the local community. In addition, all of the key local authorities are totally opposed to a second Stansted runway including Essex, Herts and Suffolk county councils, Uttlesford and East Herts district councils and the East of England Regional Assembly.
Peter Sanders, Chairman of SSE commented: "Ferrovial is still trying to play yesterday's game with the imperative of capitalising on the growth in cheap leisure flights. However, today's imperative for the rest of us is to combat climate change. This does not yet seem to have dawned on BAA's new owner who wants to go on making the problem worse regardless of the environmental impacts. This is the unacceptable face of capitalism complete with sombrero."
"It is all very well putting a plan on paper but the hurdles that lie ahead will render this a pointless exercise," said Peter Sanders. "Not only will this plan continue to be fiercely opposed at local level but also, it will become a much wider battle. It will become a key test as to whether - in the full knowledge of the environmental damage that it would cause - we as a society attach greater importance to protecting tomorrow's environment or to meeting today's insatiable demand for ever more cheap flights."
Peter Sanders concluded: "Today's announcement also demonstrates a staggering degree of belligerence and irresponsibility on the part of Ferrovial. This project should have been given up long before now and it will be opposed tooth and nail until such time as it is abandoned."
NOTES TO EDITORS
1. These figures are based on SSE's calculations and reflect the revised estimate by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of a 1.9 radiative forcing index (RFI) in respect of aircraft emissions, excluding the impact on cirrus cloud formation. This compares to the previous IPCC estimate of 2.7 for the RFI. The new RFI estimate has not yet been officially announced but is expected to be published by the IPCC in the very near future. SSE has adjusted its own estimates for Stansted equivalent carbon dioxide emissions to take account of the revised 1.9 RFI. Further details are available from SSE on request.
2. Two Stansted Public Inquiries and a Royal Commission in the course of the last 30 years have ruled against Stansted expanding beyond a single runway, most recently in the 1980s when it was judged that a second runway at Stansted, in any position or location, would be an "environmental catastrophe". The exact words of the Inspector, Graham Eyre QC (later Sir Graham Eyre) were as follows:
"I would not be debasing the currency if I express my judgement that the development of an airport at Stansted, with a capacity in excess of 25mppa and requiring the construction and operation of a second runway and all the structural and operational paraphernalia of a modern international airport as we know the animal in 1984, would constitute nothing less than a catastrophe in environmental terms." [Chapter 25.12.12]
"I take so strong a view on this aspect that if I believed, as so many do, that a grant of planning permission for an expansion of Stansted to a capacity of 15mppa would inexorably lead to unlimited and unidentifiable airport development in the future to an unknown capacity, I would, without hesitation, unequivocally recommend the rejection of BAA's current application in relation to the main site." [Chapter 25.12.13]
"In the absence of such a declaration or other mechanism designed to demonstrate and ensure that a second runway at Stansted will not be constructed I would recommend that the application referred to in paragraph 1.1 above be refused." [Chapter 60.1.3]
In response to the Inspector's recommendations, the then Secretary of State, Nicholas Ridley, in giving approval for Stansted to expand to 15mppa, made a statement to the House of Commons on 17 June 1985, accepting Graham Eyre's recommendations 'unreservedly' and giving an assurance on behalf of the Government that there would be no second runway at Stansted.
3. Stansted Airport handled 23.7 million passengers in 2006 and is currently subject to a planning restriction of 25 million passengers a year ('25mppa'). BAA submitted a planning application in April 2006 to have the 25mppa restriction removed but (in November 2006) this was refused by Uttlesford District Council. The matter will now be the subject of a Public Inquiry which is expected to start in June 2007.
4. The economic impact of expanding Stansted would be negative overall. Stansted primarily caters for the cheap flights market - predominantly UK residents on leisure trips to Europe. Official Government statistics show that leisure air travel was responsible for a £19 billion balance of payments deficit for Britain last year.
5. There are major questions over the robustness of Stansted's financial and market position given that it is so dependent on only two customers, Ryanair and Easyjet, which together account for almost 90% of its business. More than 15 years since the last major expansion, Stansted is still only achieving a 4.6% return on its net assets (and only 3.6% on fixed assets) and its accumulated profit since 1987 stands at only £3.3m, having only just moved into surplus in 2005/06 - for the first time since the major expansion of the airport in 1991.
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, Stop Stansted Expansion M 0777 552 3091 and email@example.com
Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign Office: T 01279 870558 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Details of BAAs proposals are on its website at www.stanstedairport.com/future
PRESS RELEASE - SIR ALAN HASELHURST MP
M.P. SCORNS BAA RUNWAY PLANS
"This benefits no-one in my constituency" was the immediate verdict of Saffron Walden M.P., the Rt. Hon. Sir Alan Haselhurst, on BAA's announcement of their plans for a second runway at Stansted Airport."
"In the week in which a group of scientists has published the starkest warning yet about climate change BAA chooses this moment to unveil a blockbusting plan to triple the throughput at Stansted. When you set these proposals alongside their Eco newsletter of Autumn 2006 ("Working Together for a Sustainable Airport Environment") you quickly see how they speak with a forked tongue."
"The arrogance of BAA is breathtaking. They publish these latest plans before they have obtained planning permission for full use of the existing runway. As a child I was taught to digest the first course before reaching for the next! But it casts interesting light on their corporate attitude towards the forthcoming public enquiry into the first runway proposal. Perhaps they are confident that they have the Secretary of State in their pocket and that the public enquiry will be no more than a charade. What an insult to the people of Uttlesford!"
"The siting of the proposed second runway is the result of a supposed consultation. BAA would have received precious little support from local people for any option. It is no surprise to me therefore that BAA's final choice has such a close resemblance to its original preferred placement. Any claimed improvements (and I welcome them for what they are) cannot mask the fact that any second runway amounts to an environmental catastrophe which will alter forever the rural character of a large swathe of Essex and Hertfordshire."
"If this Government, or more likely its successor, is prepared to take global warming seriously, measure will be introduced to make aviation cover its environmental costs. This is likely to put a brake on the growth in passenger numbers making the viability of a huge airport at Stansted extremely dubious."
"There are not employment benefits. BAA cannot fill existing jobs from within the constituency and its closest hinterland. So an enlarged airport will simply be a magnet to people from further afield and cause unacceptable pressure on local infrastructure."
"At last BAA seems to be waking up to the need for improved surface access arrangements. What they still cannot understand is that they are needed now, not tomorrow nor at some unspecified date in the future. There is not the slightest hint from the Government that it will fund what is patently needed."
"In short this is a deeply depressing announcement destined to rob Uttlesford over time of its reputation as one of the most desirable parts of England in which to live."
PRESS RELEASE - UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL
UTTLESFORD DISTRICT COUNCIL OPPOSES SECOND RUNWAY AT STANSTED
Uttlesford District Council today reaffirmed its opposition to a second runway at Stansted, declaring it would have a hugely negative environmental impact.
It comes in response to the long-awaited announcement from BAA today of its preferred option for the planned expansion.
The authority will continue its absolute opposition to any new runway being built at Stansted. Nothing in BAA's announcement should be taken as affecting this position, which is supported by all political groups on the council.
BAA's plans would see Stansted double in size and eat up a further 486 hectares of countryside. It would see 73 homes and 18 listed buildings destroyed or moved. Even though the plans now see the runway moved closer to the existing one, the impact on local communities remains disastrous.
UDC, Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils and East Herts District Council responded jointly to BAA's G2 Options Consultation in March 2006 to ensure that any new runway proposal fully considered the impacts on their communities.
UDC believes that a second runway will have an unacceptable impact, both on the local community and the wider environment.
The expansion will place an unacceptable burden on roads and rail services. Land take from the countryside will cause irreversible harm to the continued protection of the countryside. The nation's most valued landscapes and environmental resources, such as ancient woodland, important hedgerows, historic field patterns, archaeological sites and green lanes cannot be replaced. Many historic buildings will have to be destroyed, causing immense damage to the area's heritage.
In addition, the growth of aviation facilitated by a second runway will continue to add to global warming, potentially destroying the global environment for future generations.
Council leader Mark Gayler said: "Today's statement from BAA does absolutely nothing to make us re-think our position. We remain totally opposed to a second runway at Stansted. This development would be an environmental disaster, both locally and globally."
Councillor Alan Dean, chairman of UDC's Airport Task Group, said: "This proposal is in response to a misguided set of government policies. It will bring only harm to a wide area. We will fight BAA's plans until we win."
Cllr Jackie Cheetham, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: "Any second runway at Stansted will be an environmental disaster and will destroy the communities in the area."
Cllr Elizabeth Godwin, Leader of the Independent Group, said: "The countryside which will be destroyed cannot be replaced. Our communities do not want this and it is hard to believe that this is what the rest of the country wants."
In November 2006 Uttlesford District Council turned down a planning application from BAA to increase passenger numbers using the existing facilities at Stansted. This will be the subject of a separate public inquiry, due to begin this summer.