Airports operator BAA has written to communities minister Hazel Blears, asking for a delay to the public inquiry into a second runway at Stansted airport.
The request comes on the back of BAA’s decision to appeat the Compeition Commission’s ruling that it must sell both Gatwick and Stansted airports, in addition to either Edinburgh or Glasgow airport.
The letter reads:
“While BAA’s proposals for a second runway at Stansted are full supported by clear and up-to-date Government aviation policy, BAA agrees that communities need certainty … and that developers promoting large infrastructure projects need confidence in the processes that they will use.
“The timetable and the process for considering the G2 [second runway] applications previously contemplated by the Inquiry Inspector may now appear less reliable for both the communities and for BAA as a result of the current position regarding the CC’s investigation, and where that might lead, even though the merits of the G2 applications are unaffected.
“BAA does not intend to withdraw its planning applications for its G2 proposals. In the event that you should decide that, for reasons associated with the points made in the previous paragraphs, the planning process should be suspended until such time as there is clarity about the future ownership of Stansted airport, you should be aware that, notwithstanding the appeal to the Competition Appeal Tribunal, BAA has provided interim undertakings to the CC to preserve the G2 applications.”
Pressure group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) say that the Inquiry could be delayed by up to three years
SSE campaign director Carol Barbone said: “BAA is trying to have its cake and eat it. The actions of Stansted’s owners demonstrate a callous disregard for this community and a mindset focused only on protecting BAA’s commercial interests.
“This is the company which tries to preach to us about how seriously it takes its responsibilities to its neighbours. Never before has the hollowness of these claims been clearer for everyone to see,” she said.