| Press Release - 17 May 2010
MPs TO HELP SSE SECURE MINISTERIAL MEETINGS
TO DISCUSS AIRPORT POLICY AGENDA
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is pressing for early meetings with new Government ministers responsible for transport and planning to press for greater certainty in ruling out a second runway at Stansted, not just in the life of the present Parliament, but in the longer term as well.
The campaign group will be aided in its efforts to secure the talks by a number of local MPs led by Sir Alan Haselhurst who has been in the forefront of opposition to airport expansion plans over the last eight years.
The move comes in the wake of the early policy announcement by the new Coalition Government that a second runway at Stansted would be refused, along with new runways at Gatwick and Heathrow.
Ministers will be asked to put pressure on BAA to withdraw completely its second runway application, originally submitted two years ago but now on hold. This would remove the blight which would otherwise hang over the community for years to come. Those subject to Compulsory Purchase Orders for their homes and businesses are particularly vulnerable, but the generalized blight from the airport operator's plans affects some 12,000 properties, according to research by SSE.
SSE will also be working to ensure that a second Stansted runway will be ruled out in the new National Policy Statement (NPS) for UK Airports which is due out for consultation next year. The new NPS will be a crucial document because it will, in effect, determine which UK airports are allowed to be expanded over the next 20-30 years and which are not.
Commenting, SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: "The Coalition Government's commitment to refuse a new runway at Stansted is an important milestone for us, and one that we have worked hard to achieve, but we still have work to do before we can relax our guard. Only when BAA's second runway planning application has been torn up and Government policy rewritten to oppose Stansted's expansion in the long term can we rest."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Newly appointed Business Minister, Hertford and Stortford MP Mark Prisk is a keen supporter of the campaign against a second runway at Stansted and has confirmed to SSE that he is proud to be a member of a Government which is mandated to put this policy into practice.
Editors may be interested to note that the Competition Commission's challenge to the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruling last December allowing BAA to retain ownership of Stansted Airport will be heard at the Court of Appeal (Royal Courts of Justice) on 21 June 2010. Whatever the outcome, the likelihood is that it will take at least a year, possibly much longer, for either BAA to sell the airport or for the Competition Commission to rerun its inquiry into BAA's monopoly. BAA has made clear that only when ownership issues are resolved will the second runway planning application process be resumed - or left for a new owner to pursue, which could prolong the blight still further.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE: M 0777 552 3091 & firstname.lastname@example.org