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Stansted campaigners mount legal challenge

21st November, 2008

Following the Government’s decision to give the go-ahead to an additional 10 million passengers per year at Stansted airport, campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion has launched an appeal with the High Court. SSE is challenging the ruling on three grounds. First, argues SSE, it unjustifiably disregards the impact of expansion on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, second it disregards the trade deficit that expansion would exacerbate, and third it rules out effective consideration of noise impacts on the basis that Government policy would be frustrated if noise impacts were allowed to prevent expansion.

The application by BAA to overturn the constraint at Stansted on passenger numbers, which currently may not exceed 25 million annually, was originally turned down by Uttlesford District Council. This was a significant decision as it was the first time in the UK that climate change impacts had been cited as part of the reason for refusing a planning application related to airport activity. The decision was later ‘called in’, however, to be decided by central government since it was seen as being of national significance. The 2003 Aviation White Paper outlined the Govermnent’s theoretical support for expansion at Stansted, including the building of a second runway at the airport. But this came with the commitment that the final decision on any given expansion scheme would rest with the planning system.

The Government’s decision letter is available at

Further information is on SSE’s website: