Stansted Airport: MP stands firm on Stansted expansion

A SUFFOLK MP at the centre of a media furore this week over his controversial support for a third runway at Heathrow airport has come under fire for his opposite stance on a shelved plan for expansion at Stansted

Tim Yeo says he remains opposed to a second runway for Stansted the Essex airport, which lies close to his South Suffolk constituency.

Mr Yeo was previously a high profile opponent of Heathrow expansion but he now argues European Union carbon emissions caps will force airlines to use more environmentally friendly planes if they want to use new capacity at the airport.

Having a hub airport enabled Britain to remain competitive with Germany and France in relation to connections with Asia, but this could not be achieved by developing Stansted, he said.

But Terry Farthing, managing director of Airport Lettings, an Essex-based residential property management and letting firm, said: “It is frustrating to hear that Tim Yeo now supports a new runway at Heathrow but remains steadfastly against growth at Stansted. His change of mind on Heathrow is based on environmental considerations but he seems to ignore the fact that Stansted has one of the best records on reducing its impact on the environment of any airport in the world.

“During what continues to be a challenging time economically for firms across the East of England, we have to look at ways to bring new business to our region. That is why Stansted has such a key role, that is why business continues to back the airport and its plans and that is why we need consistency from people like Tim.”

Stansted’s media head Mark Davison said: “We don’t want to reopen the debate about the second runway at Stansted as this is a question which needs to be addressed by Government when forming its aviation policy, due to be unveiled next year.

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“However, on the face of it, there do appear to be some inconsistencies in Mr Yeo’s position as his opposition to a second runway at Stansted was based on environmental impacts.”

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Dugmore said Stansted was a key economic driver of the regional economy.

“Although we are pleased that airport expansion is back on the Government’s agenda, it is vital that business hears consistent messages from our Members of Parliament and from Government about those future plans,” he said.

“There is no doubt the debate around Stansted will continue as the Government moves towards a review of its policy.”

David Burch of Essex Chambers said: “Essex Chambers believe that the Government needs to publish its aviation strategy at the earliest opportunity looking at all options, particularly in the south east, including a third runway at Heathrow. Demand for aviation remains strong and we do not see any conflict between developing Heathrow further and expanding services at Stansted, with or without a second runway. Stansted is a highly successful business and we urge both the Government and its eventual new owners to recognise its importance to the UK and Essex economies.”