Stansted chief welcomes 'strong show of support' for controversial airport expansion plans

PUBLISHED: 16:42 01 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:42 01 May 2018

Ken O'Toole, chief executive of Stansted Airport. Picture: TONY PICK PHOTOGRAPHY

Ken O'Toole, chief executive of Stansted Airport. Picture: TONY PICK PHOTOGRAPHY

© 2017 Tony Pick

Stansted airport's chief has welcomed "a strong show of support" for controversial plans to expand it using its existing runway.

An aerial view of Stansted Airport. Picture: STANSTED AIRPORTAn aerial view of Stansted Airport. Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Uttlesford District Council (UDC) officially closed a statutory public consultation, lasting 10 months, on the airport’s growth plans on Monday, April 30.

To date, there are more than 650 responses in support of the proposals, which include adding two new taxiway links to the existing runway, six additional remote aircraft stands and three additional aircraft stands, the airport said. These would allow for up to 274,000 aircraft movements and a throughput of 43m terminal passengers a year.

Objectors, including campaigning group Stop Stansted Expansion, have cited a number of concerns, including noise, pollution and increased traffic on already congested local roads. Several hundred objections are believed to have been submitted, but the council said it may take some weeks for it to be in a position to confirm numbers.

But airport chief executive Ken O’Toole welcomed the support the application had received from local people and political and business communities across the East of England.

“I’ve been delighted at the scale and breadth of the backing our plans have received,” he said. “The airport is clearly recognised as a major asset and gateway to the East of England, London and the wider UK, and it is very encouraging to know we have developed such a broad coalition of support, particularly from those businesses and organisations that are also creating jobs and delivering growth in the local and regional economy.

“It is clear that local people also place great value on international connectivity, especially long-haul routes to fast-growing markets like China, India and the US.”

The proposals would deliver 5,000 airport jobs and thousands more in the wider region, he claimed,

“I’m very proud we have developed our plans to achieve this without needing to increase the number of flights we are already permitted to operate or the airport’s noise footprint.”

The airport has put forward a package of commitments as part of its application in an attempt to address the local community’s concerns about its plans for growth, including no increase in the existing aircraft movement limit.

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