Uttlesford District Council today reaffirmed its opposition to a second runway at Stansted, declaring it would have a hugely negative environmental impact.
It comes in response to the long-awaited announcement from BAA today of its preferred option for the planned expansion.
The authority will continue its absolute opposition to any new runway being built at Stansted. Nothing in BAA’s announcement should be taken as affecting this position, which is supported by all political groups on the council.
BAA’s plans would see Stansted double in size and eat up a further 486 hectares of countryside. It would see 73 homes and 18 listed buildings destroyed or moved. Even though the plans now see the runway moved closer to the existing one, the impact on local communities remains disastrous.
UDC, Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils and East Herts District Council responded jointly to BAA’s G2 Options Consultation in March 2006 to ensure that any new runway proposal fully considered the impacts on their communities.
UDC believes that a second runway will have an unacceptable impact, both on the local community and the wider environment.
The expansion will place an unacceptable burden on roads and rail services. Land take from the countryside will cause irreversible harm to the continued protection of the countryside. The nation’s most valued landscapes and environmental resources, such as ancient woodland, important hedgerows, historic field patterns, archaeological sites and green lanes cannot be replaced. Many historic buildings will have to be destroyed, causing immense damage to the area’s heritage.
In addition, the growth of aviation facilitated by a second runway will continue to add to global warming, potentially destroying the global environment for future generations.
Council leader Mark Gayler said: “Today’s statement from BAA does absolutely nothing to make us re-think our position. We remain totally opposed to a second runway at Stansted. This development would be an environmental disaster, both locally and globally.”
Councillor Alan Dean, chairman of UDC’s Airport Task Group, said: “This proposal is in response to a misguided set of government policies. It will bring only harm to a wide area. We will fight BAA’s plans until we win.”
Cllr Jackie Cheetham, Deputy Leader of the Conservative Group, said: “Any second runway at Stansted will be an environmental disaster and will destroy the communities in the area.”
Cllr Elizabeth Godwin, Leader of the Independent Group, said: “The countryside which will be destroyed cannot be replaced. Our communities do not want this and it is hard to believe that this is what the rest of the country wants.”
In November 2006 Uttlesford District Council turned down a planning application from BAA to increase passenger numbers using the existing facilities at Stansted. This will be the subject of a separate public inquiry, due to begin this summer.
For interviews please contact:
Cllr Mark Gayler, Leader of Uttlesford District Council, on 07752 505321
Cllr Alan Dean, Airport Task Group Chairman, on 01279 813579 or 07710 105824
Cllr Jackie Cheetham, Conservative Group Deputy Leader, on 01279 870706 or 07711 629212
Cllr Elizabeth Godwin, Independent Group Leader, on 01279 812793 or 07860 188448
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