| Press Release - 23 February 2009
HIGH COURT CHALLENGE TO THE GOVERNMENT DECISION
TO EXPAND CAPACITY ON STANSTED'S SINGLE RUNWAY
The Appeal by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) challenging the Government's recent decision to sanction BAA's application for an additional 10 million passengers a year on Stansted Airport's runway will be heard over three days this week - Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 February - in the High Court, London).
NOTE: THE HEARING WILL TAKE PLACE IN COURT 3, ST. DUNSTAN'S HOUSE, FETTER LANE
(a few minutes walk from the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand)
The case has been assigned to be heard by Sir Thayne Forbes (subject to change), recently retired High Court Judge, with a decision expected to be forthcoming very shortly thereafter.
If SSE succeeds in its challenge to the legality of the process by which the increase in Stansted's capacity was approved, it would result in the decision to allow Stansted to handle an additional 10 million passengers a year being quashed.
GROUNDS FOR CHALLENGE:
SSE's legal action [CO/10952/2008: Carol Barbone and Brian Ross (on behalf of Stop Stansted Expansion)] challenges three aspects of the Government's decision to approve an extra 10 million passengers a year and the related extra flights on Stansted's runway:
1. That the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions, however substantial, can be disregarded in the decision to approve the extra flights;
2. That the economic impact on the UK trade deficit, however adverse, can be disregarded;
3. That the adverse noise impacts upon local residents and people living further afield cannot amount to a reason for refusal because to do so would frustrate Government policy.
SSE considers the Government's reasoning on the above three points to be wrong in law and in breach of clear assurances previously provided by the Government that although its policy was to support the expansion of Stansted Airport, any specific proposal would still be subject to rigorous examination at a planning inquiry, where all the environmental and economic impacts would be fully considered. If allowed to go unchallenged, the Government's decision could have national repercussions as well as impacts on the case against a second runway at Stansted which is due to be heard at a Public Inquiry currently scheduled to begin in April.
Because of the wider implications, major national environmental groups are supporting SSE's decision to mount this High Court challenge and in some cases have provided financial support. Those who support SSE in this matter include the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), Woodland Trust, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Aviation Environment Federation, HACAN Clear Skies [Heathrow], ReStoreUK, Ramblers Association, and the World Development Movement.
SSE is advised in this matter by barristers Mr Paul Stinchcombe and Ms Sarah Hannett of 4-5 Grays Inn Square, London and solicitors Leigh Day & Co, St John's Lane, London.
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, firstname.lastname@example.org