1st June 2010
SSE embarks on final mission
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has launched the final stage of its campaign against major expansion at Stansted Airport. The key message of SSE’s new initiative is ‘NEVER AGAIN. but we’ll settle for 50 years’ and the objective is to secure a commitment that no additional runways will be permitted at Stansted until 2060 at the earliest. SSE’s first action has been to write to BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews setting out the justification for the moratorium, as follows:
“The people of this area have lived under the threat of a further runway or runways at Stansted Airport for almost half a century. On four separate occasions since the early 1960s we have had to mobilise, raise funds and expend enormous amounts of time and energy, fighting one public inquiry after another in order to defeat the threat. On each of those four occasions we have ultimately won the argument, but only to find that the same or similar plans for an additional runway or runways at Stansted are resurrected a decade or so later. We believe this is profoundly unfair and that it is time to say that ‘enough is enough’.
In 1979 BAA provided the people living in the vicinity of Gatwick Airport with long term peace of mind by entering into a legally binding agreement with the local planning authority that it would not build a second Gatwick runway for a period of at least 40 years, i.e. before 2019. We believe that it is now Stansted’s turn to have long term peace of mind and for the reasons we have explained above we regard 50 years as the appropriate duration for a Stansted moratorium.”
SSE wants to see a commitment to a 50-year moratorium on any new runways at Stansted included in the Government’s new National Policy Statement on airports, due to be published in draft form early next year. This will largely determine the long term future for Stansted Airport and will be finalised following public consultation in 2011.
SSE wants to ensure that the local community is fully aware of the importance of the forthcoming National Policy Statement and its new campaign is designed to raise local awareness so that as many people as possible respond to next year’s public consultation. As part of the build up to this the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ theme will feature prominently in a new poster campaign.
Over the coming months SSE will also be aiming to enlist support for its efforts from all relevant local authorities in the vicinity of Stansted Airport as well from local MPs and all East of England MEPs. SSE will also be meeting Government Ministers and other leading politicians to press the case for a 50 year moratorium on major expansion at Stansted Airport.
Commenting on the start of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ campaign, SSE Campaign Director Carol Barbone said: “Having had to face up to – and defeat – the threat of a second Stansted runway four times in the past 50 years, we believe that the people of this area have now earned the right to be given 50 years peace of mind. And there is already a precedent. In 1979, BAA gave a legally binding guarantee that there would be no second runway at Gatwick for at least 40 years. It’s now Stansted’s turn.”
In addition to seeking a long-term moratorium on new runways at Stansted, SSE is pressing BAA to demonstrate that the immediate threat has been removed by putting back on the market all of the houses it acquired in connection with its second runway plans. SSE believes that the original owners should be given the first option to buy back and, in the case of rented properties, the tenant should be given second option.