Brass neck or corporate suicide? BAA goes for Stansted expansion

Posted by bex — 11 March 2008 at 5:04pm - Comments

You'd think being slammed for bad science, government collusion and involvement in reverse engineering a consultation in the space of a fortnight would be enough to give a company pause for thought.

Not BAA, who have just submitted an application to build a second runway at Stansted. The runway would add the equivalent of 11 million tonnes of CO2 to the UK's annual carbon footprint, bulldoze a thousand acres of countryside and make Stansted bigger than Heathrow is today.

Back when the new Stansted terminal was approved in the mid-1980s (when climate change was a mere twinkle in the eye of most politicians) the government 'unreservedly' accepted the findings of the independent inspector that:

'Any decision that expansion should take place at Stansted up to the capacity of a single runway must be entirely contingent upon securing the position that a second runway will not be constructed... I would not be debasing the currency if I express my judgement that the development of an airport at Stansted, with a capacity in excess of 25mppa [million passengers per annum] ...would constitute nothing less than a catastrophe in environmental terms.'

Back then, the environmental objections were based on Stansted's rural location. Now though, the stakes are far, far higher, with aviation's contribution to climate change growing at a completely unsustainable rate.

It looks as though BAA assumes the revolving door between government and the aviation industry is swinging as freely as ever. After the recent exposure of the too-close-for-comfort relationship between the two, all eyes will be on the government's response to this application.

Update (27/03/2008): the Stop Stansted Expansion website has a great page of resources on the application and how to lodge your objections.

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