Stansted second runway delay

A TWO-year delay in the construction of a second runway for Stansted is today good news for Suffolk's peace and tranquillity - but the bad news is that BAA still wants to build it.

Richard Cornwell

A TWO-year delay in the construction of a second runway for Stansted is today good news for Suffolk's peace and tranquillity - but the bad news is that BAA still wants to build it.

There are likely to be 20,000 fewer planes fly over the county this year because of less people flying due to the recession.

However, once recovery starts, Stansted's owners BAA expect people to start flying again and confidently predict twice as many planes to be criss-crossing Suffolk by 2030 when 68 million people a year are expected to use the airport.

It is the fourth time the second runway has been delayed - and protesters say it is time it was dropped once and for all.

The massive expansion - which will send tens of thousands of extra planes across Suffolk every year - was originally due to be up and running in two years' time. It will now be 2017 before it is built.

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While the delay is good news for Suffolk people plagued by noise from passenger jets destroying the county's tranquillity, the battle to curb flying will still go on because BAA is determined to press ahead with the runway in the long-term and new flightpaths and holding stacks are still on the horizon.

Stop Stansted Expansion economics adviser Brian Ross said: “It is wholly unacceptable for BAA to try to keep its options open by continuing to postpone the threat of a second runway.

“It should remove the threat once and for all. BAA should face up to realities and do the decent thing.”

BAA expected permitted expansion of its current runway to 35 million passengers a year to be reached by 2015.

A letter from Alistair Watson, senior associate with the planning team at CMS Cameron McKenna, acting for BAA, said figures had been revised in the light of the downturn in the economy and other factors affecting the air industry and there was expected to be a drop in passenger numbers in the short term. By 2015, BAA now expects Stansted to handle 31.6m passengers.

“The precise date of completion of a second runway will depend on a number of factors,” said a Stansted spokesman.

“What hasn't changed, however, is the need for a new runway at Stansted given the shortage of capacity in the south-east of England.”

Should a second runway be built at Stansted? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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