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Essex: Councillors welcome Stansted Airport decision
2:00pm Tuesday 17th December 2013 in Local News
The decision not to include Stansted Airport on a shortlist for expansion has been welcomed by Essex County Council.
The Airports Commission recommended new runways at Gatwick or Heathrow in an interim report published this morning.
A proposal for Stansted to become a four-runway 'super hub' was one of the alternatives being considered by the commission, led by Sir Howard Davies.
Essex County Council (ECC) outlined its opposition to the scheme in a submission to the commission earlier this year, entitled Flights of Fancy.
Kevin Bentley, ECC deputy leader and cabinet member for economic growth, said: "The Davies Commission has reflected exactly what we put in Flights of Fancy.
"A second runway may be something that is required at some stage in the future, but Stansted needs to expand to its capacity first."
Mr Bentley dismissed suggestions Essex would lose out on employment opportunities if a new runway is not built.
He said: "With Stansted expanding to its full capacity it will bring jobs anyway."
Stansted currently handles 18 million passengers a year, but could deal with as many as 45 million people with a single runway.
The potential impact on residents under the airport's flightpath would have to be considered, Mr Bentley stated.
He said: "Clearly we would need to look at that and work with Stansted Airport.
"It has planning permission but we need to keep a constant eye on that, which is crucial."
Today's report was also welcomed by the Essex Green Party.
James Abbott, who leads the party on Essex County Council, said: "The Green Party has consistently opposed expanding Stansted due to the catastrophic impact that would result on the countryside and rural communities in the area, a point noted decades ago by Government inspectors.
"However we note that the Commission has stated that Stansted is still a 'potential option' up to 2050."
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