The Grimshaw-designed second runway and new terminal at Stansted airport will cost nearly £500m less than anticipated, according to BAA.

Revealing its plans for the extension, the airports operator said the overall cost would be £2.3bn. BAA had put the price at more than £2.7bn in December 2005.

The saving has been achieved by moving the proposed 3km runway 74m closer to the existing one. BAA says the development will now take up 486ha, rather than 627ha. It is hoped this will reduce the impact on the surrounding area.

BAA is also preparing to appeal against a planning decision against its original plan to raise passenger numbers to 35 million.

Uttlesford council in Essex rejected a planning application in November, citing noise levels and pressure on infrastructure.

The plan to scale down the runway is expected to improve BAA’s chances of winning an appeal in the summer. A separate application for the revised plan will also be made in the summer.

If the application is approved, work will start in early 2011 for completion by 2015.