| Press Release - 18 June 2009
APPEAL COURT REFUSES TO RE-OPEN STANSTED CASE
The application by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) to the Court of Appeal, asking it to re-examine the legality of the Government's decision to approve permission for an extra 10 million passengers per annum ('mppa') on the existing Stansted runway, was today (18 June 2009) refused by Lord Justice Elias and Lord Justice Keene (presiding).
SSE will not be seeking any further leave to appeal because these two highly respected Appeal Court judges have clarified important aspects of the unsatisfactory original ruling which could have compromised SSE's case at a future Public Inquiry to consider the far bigger issue of a second runway at Stansted. That, of itself, has made the case worth taking to the Court of Appeal.
The original ruling implied that:
* The increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions, however substantial, could be disregarded in the decision to approve the extra flights;
* The economic impact on the UK trade deficit, however adverse, could be disregarded;
* The adverse noise impacts upon local residents and people living further afield could not amount to a reason for refusal because to do so would frustrate Government policy.
SSE is now content that these matters are legitimate considerations for a future Public Inquiry.
Since embarking upon this round of legal action, the prospects of a second Stansted runway have substantially receded. A Public Inquiry was due to begin on 15 April but has now been postponed twice. It is now unlikely to begin before May 2010, if at all, because a General Election must be held no later than 3 June 2010 and both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats are pledged to cancel plans for a second runway at Stansted.
Also, since SSE initiated this action, BAA has been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted and so seems unlikely ever to be able to take advantage of the permission for an extra 10 mppa (raising the cap from 25 mppa to 35 mppa). Two years ago, Stansted was handling 24 mppa but there has since been a dramatic decline in its passenger throughput. This year it will handle fewer than 20 million passengers.
Carol Barbone, SSE Campaign Director commented: "In all the circumstances, we'll settle for today's Appeal Court decision which, although not the outright victory that we would have liked, vindicates our determination to obtain clarification of the original ruling."
NOTE TO EDITORS
The written judgement is expected to be available next week and will then be posted on this website.
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091, firstname.lastname@example.org