Council warns government over expanding Stansted

Business / Wed 25th Sep 2013 at 06:08am

stanstedESSEX County Council (ECC) has warned the government’s expert Commission on aviation that it must not submit proposals for an “unwanted and unviable” giant super airport at Stansted and has called instead for greater focus on realistic, affordable and practical options that will allow “sensible growth” in Essex.

In ‘Flights of fancy: getting real on aviation’ published today, ECC says proposals like closing Heathrow and building five-runway “super-hub airports” either at Stansted or on the Thames Estuary, would be too costly and disruptive to deliver.

County Councillor David Finch, Leader of ECC said: “The UK does not have the time or the money to waste on unpractical or undeliverable schemes that could suck up a sum of taxpayer’s money equivalent to twice the UK’s defence budget. Any proposal for a giant super-hub airport at Stansted is completely unacceptable to the council and Essex residents. “

While ECC does support sensible growth at Stansted, it does not believe the case for a second runway exists at the present time. However, the Council does recognise that additional runway capacity at airports across the south east – including Gatwick and Stansted – are likely to be inevitable in the long term.

Councillor Finch said: “Stansted has the scope to more than double its annual passenger and freight numbers before anyone even thinks of the need for a second runway but this Commission has to look at long term options and we have to be realistic about that. If Ministers in London do impose further capacity on our airport, they need to know that a bill comes with that. We would need assurances that the environmental impact would be minimised and that there would be massive investment in road and rail infrastructure for Essex.”

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