We won't expand Stansted - Cameron

A SECOND runway at Stansted Airport would not go ahead under a Tory Government, David Cameron has confirmed.

A SECOND runway at Stansted Airport would not go ahead under a Tory Government, David Cameron has confirmed.

The party's opposition to the plans to expand the Essex airport was outlined for the first time by their leader yesterday.

David Cameron, speaking to the BBC from the party conference in Birmingham, said: “We have never supported plans for a second runway at Stansted.

“What we support is the high-speed rail option that we are looking at from London through Birmingham to Manchester which we think could help radically reduce the number of internal flights that are necessary and take pressure off airport expansion.”

Asked directly if there would be no second runway at Stansted under a Conservative government, David Cameron replied: “We've said that it's never been part of our plans.”

It comes after his party rejected proposals for a third runway at Heathrow.

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Last night campaigners against expansion at Stansted welcomed the confirmation of the Tory stance.

Carol Barbone, the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign director, said: “To have confirmation from the party leader is highly significant for our campaign.

“We cannot be complacent, however, or rely solely on a change of government to thwart the second runway plans and our challenge now is to prepare our case for the public inquiry which will take place to consider the application, starting next April.”

She added: “We will do everything in our power to ensure that history is repeated with the rejection of this latest attempt to make Stansted bigger than Heathrow.”

Ashley Riley, head of public affairs at BAA Stansted, said: “We are frustrated at today's announcement by David Cameron because while it makes good headlines for the Conservatives this week, what it doesn't do is address the real pressing issues of aviation, not only in our region, but across the whole of the UK.

“There are people that oppose the expansion, but there are a growing amount of people that want to support the growth of Stansted.”

Though a planning application has now been officially submitted to Uttlesford District Council by airport operator BAA, a public inquiry will determine the plans in April next year.