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Villiers promises to axe Stansted runway

Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers this week pledged to scrap plans for a second runway atStansted airport if the Conservatives win the next election.

Stansted operator BAA has already won permission for the airport to grow from 23M passengers per year to 35M passengers per year. Proposals for a 442ha second runway will go to public consultation shortly.

Doubts and concerns

But doubts about the economic viability of the proposals have surfaced, as have environmental concerns.

According to anti-runway group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) the recession has triggered a decline in passenger numbers, and the growth outlook for the UK in last month’s Budget means that a new Stansted runway will not be needed before 2030. SSE says Stansted’s passenger forecast has fallen to around 42.7M passengers by 2030. It says this is well within the capacity of the existing runway.

Villiers said that she was “more convinced than ever that a second Stansted runway was environmentally unacceptable and could not be justified on economic grounds.”

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