Campaigners seek judicial review over government decision on Stansted airport
PUBLISHED: 13:06 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 13:06 26 March 2019
A local campaign group is refusing to back down in its bid to prevent the expansion of East Anglia's biggest airport after a government decision not to call in the plans.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says it will start legal proceedings challenging a decision by communities secretary James Brokenshire, taken on March 20, not to intervene after plans to increase the ceiling to up to 43m passengers was given the green light by Uttlesford District Council.
His department, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), said he had examined the decision against call-in policy and decided not to call it in, having decided Uttlesford was the right body to approve the application as the application did not involve “issues of more than local importance”.
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SSE campaigners already have an outstanding judicial review application against transport secretary Chris Grayling over his decision to allow the airport planning application to be determined locally. SSE solicitors argue it would be ‘inappropriate’ to issue any decision on the planning application while the legal challenges are pending.
The campaigners cite a number of concerns, including over noise, air pollution, community health and road traffic, and argue these will be felt “far beyond” the borders of Uttlesford, and that many passengers and employees come from outside the district.
SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “High Court proceedings are not cheap and so we do not take such actions lightly but only after careful thought and professional advice. SSE’s primary objective is to seek to safeguard the community and environment from unfettered and unsustainable airport expansion. Regrettably, legal proceedings are sometimes an unavoidable part of trying to achieve this objective.”
An MHCLG spokesman referred to the communities secretary’s letter, adding: “As the case is subject to legal proceedings, we have nothing further to add at this time.”
Uttlesford District Council said its decision had been subject to MHCLG review and the council confirmed as the right body to approve the application. “The decision notice will be issued when the planning agreement has been signed,” a spokesman said.
Stansted said the application was in line with the government’s aviation policy, and the proposals endorsed by a wide range of independent public bodies.