STANSTED AIRPORT: BAA hits back at council’s demand that it sells back second-runway homes

AIRPORT operator BAA has hit back at Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) demands that it sell back properties bought as part of a plan to build a second runway at Stansted Airport.

The council yesterday called for an early meeting with the Secretary of State for Transport, to press for a binding commitment that residents will not have to endure a situation similar to that created by the 2002 aviation white paper.

The letter will also ask for a meeting with Philip Hammond MP, at which the council will impress upon the Government the impact of the airport on the local community and environment and ask for support to force BAA to sell back properties it purchased as part of the second runway scheme – known as G2.

The council also wants to ask for a moratorium of at least 50 years on any new runway plans at Stansted.

However, a BAA spokesman said: “Stansted Airport has already made its position very clear - runways are nationally important pieces of infrastructure that only Government’s can decide on, and we will respect and follow Government policy.

“We have already been invited to take part in Philip Hammond’s S/E airports taskforce to look at the future of aviation, where we look forward to working with colleagues in the industry and Government to consider how airport capacity is best used to promote great service to passengers and to strengthen the UK’s important global trading links and its future competitiveness.

“In an interview in the FT last Monday, Philip Hammond, when asked how else the country might answer the need for greater capacity, talked of the smarter use of airspace and “spare capacity in the Stansted runway”.

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“It should be acknowledged and recognised that all properties for G2 were purchased through voluntary schemes - not a single property was acquired via CPO.

“And neither have we decimated communities. On the contrary, we have done everything possible to keep communities going, including buying and supporting the local pub.

“As we said when withdrawing the planning applications, we are giving careful thought and consideration to this situation.

“We will adopt a responsible approach to our next steps, but there are lots of issues to consider.

“So far, we’ve had no interest whatsoever from anyone looking to buy back previously owned properties.”