Everything stands or falls on RSP’s business case. The reams and reams of documentation that they have provided is surprisingly slight on hard, cold evidence.
They claim that the south east is desperate for a major new cargo hub and that the lack of capacity in the south east in terms of freight is forcing business to truck their goods in and out of the UK instead of flying them in. In addition, lack of capacity means that even those operators already established at other airports are going to be looking for slots elsewhere.
But there’s plenty of capacity, perhaps surprisingly, at other airports. Remember, most cargo is carried in the belly of passenger flights. With increased passenger expansion at Heathrow, there’s plenty of capacity for extra freight. Stansted too has capacity for expansion of both its passenger and freight operations. East Midlands has capacity. East Midlands and Stansted handle 70% of all dedicated freight flights. At the consultations, RSP denied this to be true. NNF decided to contact Stansted directly and were told categorically that there was plenty of capacity there. For day flights. For night flights. For passenger flights. For dedicated cargo flights.
The 20 million tonnes of cargo each year being trucked in and out of the UK because there is no capacity at airports in the south east – the claim RSP make and on which they predicate their business model – looks more than shaky. There may be all sorts of very good reasons as to why some freight is moved around in this way, not least cost. What is clear, however, is that RSP present as a ‘fact’ 20 millions of tonnes of cargo’ simply waiting for an airport to open in order that it can be flown in (or out) without a shred of evidence to support this claim.
Is is any wonder that the Campaign for Rural England (Kent) this week commented that the owners of the site have more ‘realistic’ plans?
With a business case that is not supported by evidence and residents left completely uninformed in crucial areas, the case for taking private property from its rightful owners is lacking all credibility.