Airport wants 23,000 more flights a year

AIRPORT chiefs have revealed plans for an extra 23,000 flights every year in and out of Stansted - up to 63 more each day, it emerged last night.BAA Stansted is seeking planning permission to increase the number of flights from the current limit of 241,000 a year to 264,000, using the existing runway.

By Juliette Maxam

AIRPORT chiefs have revealed plans for an extra 23,000 flights every year in and out of Stansted - up to 63 more each day, it emerged last night.

BAA Stansted is seeking planning permission to increase the number of flights from the current limit of 241,000 a year to 264,000, using the existing runway.

The airport is expected to reach its current limit of 241,000 flights and 25 million passengers by 2008.

The planning application to Uttlesford District Council, if granted, would see the cap on passenger numbers rise by 10 million to 35 million, making Stansted the busiest single-runway airport in the world.

Airport chiefs want to maximise use of the existing runway ahead of Government plans for a second runway at Stansted, which are expected to be submitted next year.

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Nick Barton, Stansted's business development and planning director, said: “Today is an important day for Stansted and is the culmination of two years of extensive and wide-ranging studies and consultation on our proposals.

“We announced in April 2004 our intention to make full use of our existing single runway to keep pace with demand for increased business and leisure travel and to support the growing economies of the East of England and London.

“This approach is entirely consistent with Government policy to make best use of all existing airport runways and a priority if we are to continue the successful growth of services at Stansted that has recently enabled us to become the UK's third busiest airport.”

Stansted Airport's application, called “Generation 1”, includes details of 18 new and improved bus and coach services to serve the airport, local community and wider region to increase use of public transport, which Mr Barton said means there will be “no discernable difference” on the road network during peak hours.

The Stop Stansted Expansion Campaign yesterday called on Uttlesford District Council to thoroughly investigate the application before making a decision.

SSE campaign director Carol Barbone appealed to the council: “It isn't just today's residents whose fate lies in your hands. It is our children and grandchildren, wherever they live, who will judge the quality of your decision - particularly on the vital issue of climate change.”

She added: “This community is counting on you to do the right thing. Stand up for what you know is important. Insist on having every tool at your disposal that will enable you to ensure the right outcome in the knowledge that your decision will affect so many lives - for better or for worse.”

The airport's airlines group, Stansted Airlines Consultative Committee, was also critical of the plans.

Uttlesford District Council resolved at a meeting of the full council on the eve of Stansted submitting the application to fully investigate it before making a decision.

The council decided it would look at noise, local air quality, emissions and climate change, surface access, visual factors of landscape and light pollution, water supply and other relevant matters, using expert advice.

Alan Dean, proposed the cross-party motion. He said: “We cannot afford to let down this district, our counties, the wider region, indeed the whole globe, by not handling planning applications thoroughly, transparently and by negotiating hard on all material considerations. To do that members must be informed by sound advice.”

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