BAA unveils pounds 200m Stansted plan

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The Independent Online
AIRPORTS operator BAA will today unveil plans for a pounds 200m expansion at Stansted to deal with growing demand. It would create hundreds of jobs but could generate fierce opposition, writes Philip Thornton.

The plans, which would need local authority planning permission, would allow the airport to nearly double the number of passengers it could receive to 15 million a year from its current capacity of 8 million. Figures released last week showed that year-on-year passenger growth is running at almost 30 per cent. BAA said: "Stansted was always intended to form part of a London network with Heathrow and Gatwick, and although we had a slow start we are now growing at a rate that will fulfil the potential."

BAA wants to press ahead with the second phase of development at Stansted because of the "phenomenal" growth in demand and because of the length of time taken by the public inquiry into plans for a fifth terminal at Heathrow.

The inquiry, already the longest-running in British legal history, is expected to drag on for several more years. BAA expects demand for air travel in the South-east to double over the next 15 to 20 years.

The company said it accepted there would be local opposition, on the grounds of the disruption the building might cause and because of fears of extra noise due to the increase in air movements. But it said the plan already had outline planning permission.

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