Stansted plans announced: To be bigger than Heathrow

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Today BAA, the UK airport operator, announced its plans for a second terminal at Stansted airport. The plans, backed by the Department of Transport and costing £2.2 billion, will allow Stansted to carry an additional 33 million passengers by 2030 giving it a total of 68 million passengers a year - larger than Heathrow today.

The development, opposed by over 130 organisations including all the key local councils and the East of England Regional Assembly, would increase Sransted's annual carbon emissions from 5 million tonnes to 12 million according to campaigners.

BAA predicts that air travel will double in the south-east by 2030. The Department of Transport expects the total number of passengers using UK airports to to rise from 228 million per year to 465 million. This would appear to be totally incompatible to the governments plans to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050.

However in its December Progress Report 'The Future of Air Transport' the Department for Transport placed international air travel outside of the government's carbon reduction targets:

"Although domestic aviation emissions are included within these targets, international aviation emissions are not."

This enables the government to allow the growth of flying unchecked while still claiming to be cutting the UK's carbon output.

Labour has said that airlines will be allowed to trade on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for inter-European flights by 2011 and flights between the EU and the US by 2012. This shows a lack of faith in the current carbon trading systems ability to cut carbon output. If the carbon markets were working, taxing companies who produce carbon and rewarding those that stop, there would be no need to exempt international flights.

Opposition to the development is broad and well organised. If you wish to join the campaign to stop the airport expansion please contact Stop Stansted Expansion.

To read our article 'If I were... aviation minister' by the co-founder of the aviation campaign group Plane Stupid, Joss Garman click here