Stansted campaigners head to high court

ANTI Stansted expansion campaigners will take their objections to the High Court tomorrow in a bid to prevent the airport from increasing its passenger numbers by 10 million.

ANTI Stansted expansion campaigners will take their objections to the High Court tomorrow in a bid to prevent the airport from increasing its passenger numbers by 10 million.

A three-day hearing will challenge the legality of a decision by the Government to allow an increase of 63 flights per day which was made in October last year.

Transport secretary Geoff Hoon and local government secretary Hazel Blears approved BAA's expansion plans which would mean the airport's approved passenger capacity increase from 25 million to 35 million.

Tomorrow the legal challenge, bought by campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion, will begin and is expected to be heard by Sir Thayne Forbes at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

His decision on the appeal is expected within a couple of weeks.

Stop Stansted Expansion's objection centres on three key parts of the Government's decision to allow the extra passengers which the group claimed were “wrong in law and in breach of clear assurances previously provided by the Government that, although its policy was to support the expansion of Stansted Airport, any specific proposal would still be subject to rigorous examination at a planning inquiry, where all the environmental and economic impacts would be fully considered”.

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Campaign director Carol Barbone said: “If allowed to go unchallenged the Government's decision could have national repercussions as well as impacts on the case against a second runway at Stansted which is due to be heard at a public inquiry currently scheduled to begin in April.”

BAA has said increasing the passenger numbers secured the airport's future after long-term forecasts predicted passenger growth.

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