BAA says it has 'Huge' support for expansion plans at Stansted Airport

STANSTED owners BAA have hit back at claims that expansion plans for the airport have no support. Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst expressed major doubts on plans to build a second terminal and runway at the Essex hub. Talking after Secretary of State

STANSTED owners BAA have hit back at claims that expansion plans for the airport have "no support."

Uttlesford MP Sir Alan Haselhurst expressed major doubts on plans to build a second terminal and runway at the Essex hub.

Talking after Secretary of State for Communities, John Denham, told BAA to update its information if it wants second runway proposals to go ahead, Sir Alan said: "There is plenty of spare capacity already at the airport. So the need factor for expansion does not arise."

He added: "I doubt whether BAA have any serious ally for their plans for a second runway."


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However, this has provoked a reaction from BAA which has reiterated that support for expansion - known as G2 - has been coming from all parts of the community.

In fact over 3700 letters of support have been handed to Uttlesford District Council as of February 2009, compared to 5600 letters of objection.

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A BAA spokesman said: "Contrary to Sir Alan's comments we have received huge support for G2 including letters of support.

"Business and community leaders, as well as airlines, have rallied in support too. The CBI, Essex Chamber of Commerce, Suffolk Institute of Directors, East of England Development Agency and East of England International are some of the organisations that back the plans."

The spokesman added: "In 2006, the Essex Chambers of Commerce conducted a survey highlighting overwhelming support from the local business community for expansion."

According to the survey figures 83 per cent of businesses that took part supported expansion of Stansted, whilst nearly 50 per cent said it would directly benefit their business.

BAA have also moved to reassure expansion supporters by indicating that it is only waiting for the proposed public inquiry to be given the go ahead.

That is not likely to happen until after a General Election, and in a further twist, if the Tory party comes to power, leader David Cameron has vowed to scrap any expansion plans for the airport.

Should an inquiry take place though, fierce public opposition would be represented by the Stop Stansted Expansion Group which has vowed to fight any expansion.

Chairman Peter Sanders said: "BAA has failed in its original intention to secure planning approval for a second runway before the next General Election.

"If they do decide to go ahead with it they must make a start on updating the ten-foot pile of planning documents. The blight and uncertainty on our communities has gone on for far too long."

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