29th November 2006

SSE calls upon BAA to respect democratic decision

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has called upon BAA to respect the democratic decision of Uttlesford District Council by not appealing against its unanimous decision today (29 November) to refuse BAA’s planning application which could have led to a doubling of passenger numbers at Stansted and an extra 80,000 flights a year over and above current levels.

If BAA appeals the decision to the Secretary of State, the consequence will be a lengthy public inquiry and continued uncertainty for the local community throughout next year. The uncertainty not only affects people’s lives but would also have an adverse impact on the community which has been blighted by this latest round of expansion plans for over four years.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said: “In the first instance I would like to express appreciation and gratitude to the Uttlesford councillors not only for reaching this decision today but also for the very thorough, professional and transparent manner in which they have dealt with this planning application over the past seven months. I believe that I speak not only for Stop Stansted Expansion in this regard but for almost the entire local community.”

Peter Sanders continued: “BAA’s plans would have had an appalling impact on this predominantly rural area as well generating the equivalent of an additional five million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide emissions at a time when tackling climate change is the most pressing issue facing the world today. BAA should now accept the decision of our democratically elected council to avoid a further period of uncertainty for local people. In so doing, BAA would also be showing respect for the environment – both locally and globally.”

Apart from prolonging the uncertainty, if BAA were to appeal there would also be significant cost implications for the local community. Uttlesford District Council is one of the smallest local authorities in the country and the cost of dealing with a public inquiry would amount to several hundred thousand pounds. Ironically, BAA does not pay local council taxes. It pays business rates which go directly to central government.

If BAA does lodge an appeal, SSE has pledged itself to support Uttlesford District Council in presenting the case at public inquiry. This should assist UDC in minimising the cost burden whilst also sharing technical expertise to strengthen its case.

Campaigning against proposals to expand Stansted Airport