New timetable for Stansted public inquiry

A NEW timetable has been set up for the public inquiry into a second runway at Stansted Airport. The inquiry was due to begin today (April 15) but was postponed because of the recent Competition Commission ruling that BAA must sell the airport. Secretary

A NEW timetable has been set up for the public inquiry into a second runway at Stansted Airport.

The inquiry was due to begin today (April 15) but was postponed because of the recent Competition Commission ruling that BAA must sell the airport.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears, has written to the four local councils, stating that she hopes to make an announcement on the start date by no later than the end of May.

However, the authorities (Essex, Uttlesford, Herts and East Herts) have written to Mrs Blears, requesting it be stopped indefinately "before millions of pounds of taxpayers' money" is wasted.


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In the letter, the group say any public inquiry would be "a futile exercise and unacceptably wasteful of public resources' at such a difficult time for the UK economy".

The letter also points out a huge fall in passenger projections for Stansted which would mean "no [new] owner is likely to commit to investing in a second runway".

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The expansion of the airport would serve 68 million passengers a year, with the first flights from the second runway taking off in 2017. Currently, the airport can cater for 35 million passengers a year.

An airport spokesman said it was preparing a response to the CC's ruling on the ownership of Stansted, which was announced last month.

She said the decision to delay the inquiry "may be the best way to prevent long-term damage to the delivery of this important project".

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