Labour Party’s Stansted Airport policy u-turn: SSE wants further proof

SUPPORT for a second runway at Stansted Airport has been dealt a huge blow this week after the Labour party dropped a bombshell in its 2010 election manifesto. The party – which had previously outlined its support for expansion at the Essex airport – turn

SUPPORT for a second runway at Stansted Airport has been dealt a huge blow this week after the Labour party dropped a bombshell in its 2010 election manifesto.

The party - which had previously outlined its support for expansion at the Essex airport - turned full circle and stated that only expansion at Heathrow will get any backing should the party win an historic forth term in power.

A statement in the document, which was published on Monday April 12, states: "Heathrow is Britain's international hub airport, already operating at full capacity, and supporting millions of jobs, businesses and citizens who depend upon it.

"We support a third runway at Heathrow, subject to strict conditions on environmental impact and flight numbers, but we will not allow additional runways to proceed at any other airport in the next Parliament."

Currently plans for a second runway and terminal at Stansted have stalled due to the ownership of the airport being called into question by the competition commission and a subsequent delay in the start of a public inquiry.

Because the planning application was 'called in' by the Government it is the secretary of state that will be trusted with the final decision following that inquiry.

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Labour's statement means that none of the mainstream parties capable of winning the General Election on May 6 will support expansion at Stansted during the next parliament.

The Conservatives and the Lib Dems have both stated that they would "block" or "cancel" any plans.

Fringe party UKIP went one step further and said they would prefer a "Hong Kong-style" airport in the middle of the Thames Estuary.

However, anti-expansion protest group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) urged the Labour party to go even a step further and rule out expansion for good.

SSE campaign director Carole Barbone said: "The Labour manifesto doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know. If Labour really wants to prove its opposition to a second runway, it should tear up its white paper policy which supports expansion at Stansted."

She added that airport owners BAA, who have reiterated their desire to continue with the inquiry process and press on with expansion plans, should withdraw its planning application completely.

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