Updated Monday 10th March 2003
Second Consultation Issued
All options for Stansted Airport remain open in a new consultation document published by the government.
In December the government was forced to withdrew it's existing consultation document after a judicial review deemed that it should include proposals for Gatwick Airport.
Cllr Duncan Peek, Executive Member for Planning and Property for East Herts District Council said: "[the council] is disappointed that the Government has not taken this new opportunity to rethink the proposed development at Stansted, instead of just adding the option of expansion at Gatwick to the consultation.
The authority is now organising further public meetings to discuss the issues surrounding airport expansion at Stansted, the first being at County Hall on Thursday 10th April 2003. It is expected that a full report will go to the Full Council before 30th June 2003.
The government has proposed building up to three news runways at Stansted Airport as one of the options being considered to deal with an expected threefold increase in air passengers over the next 30 years.
The addition of the new runways would make the airport larger than Heathrow and increase it's current capacity of 13 million to 122 million.
The effects of the expansion would be widespread and dramatic. Huge areas of land would be required and many homes and villages will be destroyed. The increase in air traffic in the skies around Stansted would be massive and substantially impact of the quality of life for those in the surrounding areas through increased noise and pollution. In addition, accompanying development in terms of supporting infrastructure and new homes would swallow up vast areas of unspoilt countryside.
Moreover, government plans for a big increase in housebuilding in the home counties raises fears that the entire region will become urbanised.
The government launched a consultation exercise in Autumn 2002 and was expected to announce its' final plans in the Spring of 2003.
However, a judicial review was brought by Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) and a handful of councils, who argued that it was wrong for the government to exclude Gatwick Airport from their list of options. Justice Maurice Kay, presiding, agreed, calling the exclusion "illogical".
During late 2002, Herts County Council organised a number of public meetings to discuss the issue of airport expansion, having already voiced its' strong opposition to the plans. East Herts District Council too voiced it's serious concerns.
To read more about the Government Consultation on The Future Development of Air Transport visit www.airconsult.gov.uk.