14th September 2019
Stansted Airport accused of Bully Boy tactics
Stop Stansted Expansion has condemned Stansted Airport for orchestrating a ‘Project Fear’ campaign aimed at pressurising Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to grant final approval for its 2018 planning application for growth to 43 million passengers per annum.
In recent weeks various local and regional business leaders have issued press releases accusing UDC of causing economic damage to the region and costing jobs as a result of the council’s decision to re-examine the 2018 planning application. It is abundantly clear from the content of these press releases that they are based on briefing material provided by Stansted Airport.
“The suggestion that the Council’s decision to review the latest airport planning application is damaging the local economy and putting thousands of jobs at risk is preposterous”, said SSE Deputy Chairman Brian Ross. Stansted handled 28 million passengers last year and has permission for 35 million. Stansted’s own assessment is that it won’t reach 35 million for at least four years. If Stansted wanted to introduce flights to China, India or anywhere else on the planet, there is plenty of headroom to do so in the existing planning consent. Neither UDC nor SSE is standing in the way.
Moreover, the contribution of Stansted to the regional economy is highly questionable. Ryanair accounts for four out of every five Stansted passengers and its primary function is to provide cheap leisure flights abroad for UK residents. Stansted caters for more than twice as many UK tourists travelling abroad compared to the number of foreign tourists coming into the UK – and most of these incoming foreign tourists are destined for London. Stansted’s main employment impact is therefore to provide jobs for hotel, catering and leisure workers in places such as Tenerife and Torremolinos, rather than in the East of England region.