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Last Updated: Monday, 12 May, 2003, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Stansted expansion option under fire
Stansted Airport
The government says fares will rise if runways are not added
A group campaigning against the expansion of Stansted Airport in Essex, has condemned calls for up to two new runways there.

The operator of Britain's biggest airports, BAA, wants three new runways to be built in south-east England to tackle the growth in air traffic.

Under the proposals, two runways could be built at Stansted and one more at either Heathrow or Gatwick.

Environmentalists campaigning against expansion at Stansted say BAA has abandoned a previous commitment not to push for more runways.

Norman Mead, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion said: "It simply wants to line its shareholders' pockets, even if it has to concrete over some of England's richest heritage, destroy entire villages - homes that have existed for centuries - as well as ancient woodlands and important wildlife habitats.

"It would be environmental vandalism on an unprecedented scale."

Jamie Oliver protests against Stansted expansion
Chef Jamie Oliver is among those against Stansted expansion
But in a statement, Terry Morgan, managing director of BAA Stansted, said should the runway plan go forward, air noise and air quality would be taking into account, along with plans for road and rail schemes to support additional traffic around the airport.

Mr Morgan said: "There would need to be fair and effective arrangements in place for mitigating and compensating for local community effects."

John Williams, spokesperson for BAA Stansted, said the airport has simply stated that extra runways are a technical possibility.

Mr Williams said: "These are not BAA schemes; the government has come up with these schemes, and has asked people to respond as part of the consultation, and we are responding to their consultation.

"What we have said to the government is, so far as the Stansted option is concerned, two new runways are doable at Stansted from a technical point of view."

Mr Morgan said: "We hope that firm decisions will be made before the end of the year, not least so that people who live near airports where there is to be no runway development will be spared ongoing blight."

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12 May 03 |  UK
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