BAA drops Heathrow and Stansted runway expansion plans

25 May 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Airport operator BAA has officially dropped plans for new runways at Heathrow and Stansted, saying that “the policy intentions of the new government are clear”.

In a statement BAA said that “In response to the new Government's 'Coalition Agreement', Heathrow Airport today (May 24) announces that it will stop work on the planning application for a third runway.”

The operator added that it plans to stop buying properties in Sipson (where the new Heathrow runway would have been located), after a period of notice. 

Colin Matthews, BAA's chief executive officer, said: "We recognise the importance of government policy in a matter as significant and controversial as runway capacity.

"The policy intentions of the new government are clear and it is no longer appropriate for us to purchase properties. Equally important is our intention to stand behind our commitment made to provide time for those local residents who wish to sell their properties to us, to do so.

"We introduced the current scheme to assist homeowners faced with an extended period of uncertainty.  Today, we will meet with the local community and its representatives to discuss the new situation.

"Heathrow plays an important role for the UK and supports thousands of jobs.  We continue to believe that new capacity would strengthen the UK's trading links with the global markets on which our economy and our competitiveness depend."

At the same time BAA says it is withdrawing its application to build a second runway at Stansted airport, following “a clear indication that Government airports policy will change, following the recent General Election”. 

David Johnston, Stansted Airport's managing director, said: "We have reflected carefully on the new Government's clear intention to change its airports policy and have moved quickly to withdraw this application.

"Stansted Airport is a key driver of economic growth in this part of England, and we will continue to work hard to bring new business here and to work with our neighbours, and the wider community, to provide jobs and strong business and travel opportunities in the months and years ahead. We continue to believe that new airport capacity is needed in the South East of England, to strengthen the UK's international trading links."

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Report by Mark Caswell

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