| Press Release - 13 March 2009
SSE SEEKS LEAVE TO APPEAL 'CONFUSING' HIGH COURT DECISION
A High Court Judge has ruled that the Government's decision to approve permission for an extra ten million passengers a year at Stansted Airport was legal.
The decision by Justice Sir Thane Forbes follows a four day hearing at the end of February. The wording of his judgment fails to provide the clarification which Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) was looking for when it brought the case and so SSE is seeking leave to appeal.
SSE's primary concern was that the wording of the Government's decision to approve the extra 10 million passengers a year could compromise its case at any future Public Inquiry to consider a second runway at Stansted. There were also wider implications for planning decisions across the UK.
The three issues on which SSE sought clarification were:
1. Whether the adverse aircraft noise impacts could be disregarded because they were an unavoidable consequence of the Government's policy to expand Stansted Airport;
2. Whether the economic impact on the UK trade deficit, however adverse, could be disregarded;
3. Whether the increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions, however substantial, could be disregarded in the decision to approve the extra flights.
SSE welcomes the Judge's ruling that the impact of the additional aircraft noise which would ensue from the expansion of Stansted is a legitimate consideration to be taken into account during the decision-making process. However, SSE believes it is illogical for the Judge to uphold the original decision when the evidence suggests that the noise impacts were not properly taken into account by the Government when reaching its decision to approve the extra 10 million passengers a year at Stansted.
Regarding the adverse economic impact on the UK trade deficit, on the one hand the Judge appears to agree with SSE that this should be taken into account in the decision-making process but on the other hand he appears to be saying that the trade deficit can be disregarded.
SSE is even more concerned about the Judge's decision on the climate change issue because it appears to mean that these wider environmental impacts of airport expansion do not need to be taken into account when deciding whether planning permission should be granted.
SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: "This High Court action was never simply about winning or losing. Our primary concern was to ensure that our main battle against a second Stansted runway was not prejudiced by the wording of the original decision. However, today's ruling seems to make matters even less clear than they were before. That is why we are seeking leave to appeal."
NOTE TO EDITORS
The High Court Judgement
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, firstname.lastname@example.org