Essex: No recommendation for new runways at Stansted Airport

Braintree and Witham Times: Essex: No recommendation for new runways at Stansted Airport Essex: No recommendation for new runways at Stansted Airport

New runways at Stansted Airport are not being considered as a solution to the country’s air capacity problems.

Creating a four-runway ‘super hub’ at Stansted was one of the options available to the Airports Commission, led by Sir Howard Davies.

But an interim report, published this morning, has left Stansted off its shortlist of recommendations.

The commission, which is expected to make its final recommendations to the Government in 2015, has suggested adding new runway capacity to either Gatwick or Heathrow.

Stansted, along with Birmingham, could however be included as a long-term option to increase British air capacity between 2030 and 2050.

Sir Howard said: “The UK enjoys excellent connectivity today.

“The capacity challenge is not yet critical but it will become so if no action is taken soon and our analysis clearly supports the provision of one net additional runway by 2030.

“In the meantime we encourage the Government to act on our recommendations to make the best of our existing capacity.”

Essex County Council (ECC) and Braintree Council both outlined their opposition to a new Stansted runway in submissions to the commission.

According to ECC’s report, Flights of Fancy, expansion could increase Braintree district’s population by 16 per cent and create as many as 261,000 jobs.

The Airports Commission has recommended immediate action to improve rail links between London and Stansted.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Stansted’s owners, the Manchester Airports Group, said: “Stansted welcomes the commission’s support for measures to increase capacity at the airport in the short term, including improving rail links between the airport and central London.

“We also support the Commission’s finding that Stansted is one of the viable options for a runway beyond 2030.

“Stansted has a bright future, indeed we are the only London airport that can grow substantially in the next ten years.

“Our immediate priority is to continue to transform the airport experience for our passengers.“

Brian Ross, economics adviser for campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “We are obviously greatly relieved that Stansted is not on the shortlist.

“The environmental consequences of even one extra runway would have been catastrophic and the fact is that there has never been a viable business case for any extra runways at Stansted.

“The airport currently operates at less than half of its potential capacity.”

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