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By Tim Castle
LONDON, March 13 Protestors objecting to the
expansion of Lon don's Stansted Airport lost a legal challenge
on Friday against a government decision to allow flight capacity
to rise by 10 percent.
The High Court in London rejected the objection by the Stop
Stansted Expansion lobby group, saying their complaint was
"unjustified and without substance", the Press Association
The protest group had argued the government had broken the
law by disregarding the increase in aircraft noise, carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions caused by the
The group said it was disappointed in the decision and it
would seek permission to appeal the ruling because the decision
could have an impact on an inquiry due to start in April on
plans for a second runway at the airport.
Stansted Airport Commercial Director Nick Barton said the
decision was good news for passengers, airport employees and
"The decision secures our future and ensures we can continue
investing in the airport to deliver sustainable improvements in
the passenger experience and airline operations through modern
facilities and better service standards," Barton said.
Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said in October that the
airport, owned by BAA, a subsidiary of Spain's Ferrovial
(FER.MC) would be able to raise flights to 264,000 a year from
The maximum number of passengers allowed to use the single
runway airport in Essex, east of London, would climb to 35
million a year from 25 million.
The move overruled a decision by local councillors who had
refused permission because of noise and environmental concerns.
In December environmental activists briefly stopped flights
at the airport when they climbed over security fences and
occupied the runway.
Britain's antitrust regulator has told Ferrovial to sell
Stansted as well as its London Gatwick and Edinburgh airports to
break its hold over the country's airports.
(Editing by Hans Peters and Karen Foster)