PRESS RELEASE 17 July 2017
ISSUED BY STOP STANSTED EXPANSION – 6 July 2017
DON’T BE HOODWINKED BY STANSTED SPIN, WARNS SSE
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has issued a warning to residents across the region not to be hoodwinked by Stansted Airport’s smoke-and-mirror exhibition and biased consultation survey on further expansion plans.
Both the exhibition which opened on July 6th and related survey appear designed to trick people into thinking that further expansion at the airport will be painless and sustainable -before the environmental impacts have even been assessed.
“The portrayal of the potential impacts that would arise from further expansion at Stansted is deliberately misleading and the public should be very, very sceptical about the claims being made to try to push through its proposals,” commented Brian Ross, SSE’s deputy chairman, after visiting the exhibition at its first outing.
“The airport’s so-called roadshow has all the hallmarks of a sales pitch for time-share apartments. It’s all about spinning the positives and saying nothing about the negatives,” Brian Ross continued.
The campaign group is encouraging those visiting the airport’s travelling exhibition to ask questions and insist on explanations about the proposed increase in flight and passenger movements compared to the position today. This, say SSE, reveals a very different picture from the one being put forward by Stansted’s bosses who have been making the false claim that the extra passenger numbers will only lead to “approximately two extra flights an hour”. In reality the proposal would mean an extra 2,000 flights a week compared to today’s levels.
The airport is currently handling 25 million passengers a year and has not yet started to use the extra 10 million increase to 35 million, granted after a five month public inquiry held in 2007. Despite this, Manchester Airports Group which owns Stansted say that that its growth predictions mean that the present 35 million cap ‘urgently’ needs to be raised to a massive 44.5 million.
Compared with the current throughput, the expansion plans would mean 20 million more passengers per year and an extra 104,000 flights. This translates into an aircraft overflying during daytime hours from the current average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Noise, air quality and especially road and rail transport impacts would all be significantly worsened in contrast to the airport’s claim that there will be ‘no significant adverse environmental effects.’
Those contemplating the use of the airport’s questionnaire as a means of providing comment on concerns about impacts, meanwhile, should also be aware that the survey is deliberately skewed to elicit results which are favourable towards the airport’s plans.
Analysis of the questionnaire reveals that it is appallingly biased. It consists almost entirely of claims for the benefits of Stansted expansion, and a wish list of further potential benefits with no negatives included. It provides no opportunity to express any opinion about the pluses and minuses of expansion, such as likely damage to quality of life and the environment, except in the ‘Anything else we should consider?’ question, which does not encourage criticism, in particular because it says ‘as part of our proposals’.
SSE is recommending that those living in the region who wish to make representations on the expansion plans should email or write direct to Uttlesford District Council Planning Department or use their online planning portal (quoting reference UTT/17/1640/SO) to give their views first-hand, rather than be manipulated into answering a set of questions that are contrived to give an overly positive answer that can be used against the community and support the latest round of calls for growth
ISSUED BY STOP STANSTED EXPANSION – 19 June 2017
SSE BRANDS AIRPORT EXPANSION PLANS AS PREMATURE AND OPPORTUNISTIC
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has condemned Stansted Airport for insulting the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and the community at large by claiming that its latest expansion proposals will have “no significant adverse environmental effects”.
SSE’s Chairman Peter Sanders has further stressed the need for the council not to be hoodwinked by the airport’s spurious claim and to ensure a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts that would result from major expansion.
The statement comes following the airport’s formal notification of its intention to submit a planning application later this year to seek permission to grow to an annual throughput of 44.5 million passengers and 285,000 flights. This compares to last year’s throughput of 24 million passengers and 180,000 flights.
If approved, this application, taken together with the increases in passenger movements and flights to meet the existing caps, would result in an extra 20 million passengers and an extra 104,000 flights every year blighting the lives of thousands across the region. Yet, according to the airport in its letter to council bosses there is no cause for concern because:
“It should be noted that at this time no significant adverse environmental
effects are predicted as a consequence of the proposed development.”
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders makes clear: “It’s an insult to the intelligence of Uttlesford District Council and the entire local community, for Stansted Airport to claim that an extra 20 million passengers per annum (mppa) and an extra 104,000 annual flights will have no significant adverse environmental effects.”
About half of all Stansted’s passengers travel to and from the airport by car and this proposal would give rise to an 80% increase in airport-related road traffic. That would have serious implications in terms of traffic congestion on our local roads, especially when considered alongside the scale of local housing development currently underway and planned.
The proposed 104,000 increase in the number of flights meanwhile – an extra 2,000 flights a week – will increase the frequency of overflying during the day from the current average of a plane every 2¼ minutes, to a plane every 85 seconds. Again, common sense alone indicates that this will have a serious adverse impact upon local communities.
Why the rush?
Stansted hasn't even started to make use of its 2008 permission to grow from 25mppa to 35mppa. Even by its own projections, the airport doesn’t expect to reach 35mppa until 2024 although the credibility of its forecasts are questionable given its wildly inaccurate record on this front.
Meanwhile, the Government is currently preparing its National Airports Policy to be presented to Parliament for approval, next spring. The will set down the long term policy for the development of all UK airports. Until such time as the new policy is agreed, there is a policy vacuum and further uncertainty has been created by the recent general election results.
As a consequence, SSE considers that it is both premature and opportunistic for Stansted Airport to submit a planning application this year to expand the airport beyond its present planning limits.
Peter Sanders concluded: “We may not be able to prevent the airport from submitting a planning application but we must at least try to ensure that there is a comprehensive, honest and thorough assessment of all the environmental impacts. That will be our main focus in the months ahead. We must do our best to ensure that Uttlesford District Council is not rolled over by the glossy presentations and smooth words from the experts Stansted Airport is paying to dance to its planning application tune.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
• More information on Stansted Airport’s formal submission to Uttlesford District Council can be found at http://publicaccess.uttlesford.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OQWZHTQN01O00
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
• Brian Ross, Deputy Chairman, SSE, T 01279 814961, M 07850 937143, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Carol Barbone, Campaign Director, SSE, M 0777 552 3091, email@example.com
• SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; firstname.lastname@example.org