Campaigners against airport expansion call for more time to consider new information

More information on Stansted Airport's planning application are now being consulted on Picture: TONY

More information on Stansted Airport's planning application are now being consulted on Picture: TONY PICK - Credit: Stansted Airport Ltd

Campaigners against plans to expand passenger numbers and flights at Stansted airport are calling for more time for the public to consider new information about the plans.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) argues Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) August 31 deadline for comments on an extra 900 pages of information is not enough.

Airport owners Manchester Airports Group (MAG) is seeking permission to raise the upper threshold for passenger numbers and flights.

SSE, which is highly critical of its proposals, claims the council and the airport owners were seeking to “rush through” the application, and corners were being cut.

SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “This is an impossible deadline to achieve, unless Uttlesford only wants to receive superficial responses. Parish and town councils don’t even meet during August, nor does UDC council or cabinet. August is a lost month so far as a public consultation is concerned.”

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“It is especially galling because Uttlesford caused this problem in the first place. The council should not have accepted such a deficient planning application back in February. It is a case of more haste, less speed.”

The group is pursuing a high court challenge aimed at transferring responsibility for determining the planning application from UDC to the Secretary of State.

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A council spokesperson said as further analysis and work was required, particularly around surface access, noise and air quality, timescales were changed. The full information had been received and a further period of public consultation was now being carried out.

“It was not possible to stick to the original July timescales as stated in the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) as further analysis and work was required,” the spokesperson said.

“Following receipt of revised documents UDC met with the statutory consultees to establish that all of the appropriate and correct information had been provided and checked. Rather than consult on numerous occasions, officers considered that a single consultation would prevent confusion to consultees and the public.

“The full information has now been received, and a further period of public consultation is being carried out with statutory consultees, local residents and other interested parties. The PPA is also being renegotiated with MAG and Essex County Council and when it is finalised, the revised timescales for dealing with this application will be announced.”

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