Opposition group say Stansted Airport passenger cap decision requires national scrutiny

The main terminal at Stansted Airport.
Picture: Stansted Airport

The main terminal at Stansted Airport. Picture: Stansted Airport - Credit: Archant

A group opposing the expansion of Stansted Airport has questioned whether its application to increase the passenger cap should go before the Secretary of State.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) claims the decision is too big for Uttlesford District Council to make, and that an application of this importance needs to face national scrutiny.

It also branded the airport’s claims the application would not increase adverse environmental impacts as ‘misleading’.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said if the airport reaches its new limits for passengers, it would have a huge impact on the local roads and infrastructure.

He said: “It doesn’t need a rocket scientist to work our that a 44% increase in the number of flights and a 66% increase in the number of passengers means a lot more noise, a lot more pollution and a lot more traffic on our already congested local roads.

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“By suggesting otherwise, Stansted Airport owners Manchester Airport group (MAG) are treating the local community as if we were all complete fools.”

A spokesman for the group said the SSE was also sceptical of the airport’s claims that the rise in passenger numbers would not increase environmental harm due to the use of advanced low noise aircraft.

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Mr Sanders added: “We need to have confidence that this planning application will be considered purely on its own merits and subject to fair and through scrutiny.

“That is why it should be determined nationally by the Secretary of State, not locally by Uttlesford District Council.

“We will be working with our legal advisors precisely to achieve that objective.”

However, Ken O’Toole, chief executive of Stansted Airport, said he was confident they could deliver the growth without requiring an increase in the number of flight movements or noise.

“With noise we are confident we can offer a reduction,” he said.

He added the increased passenger cap would bring huge economic benefits to the area, as well as thousands of jobs.

“I believed we can increase our airport staff from 12,000 to 17,000,” he said.

“Of these, 75% of these come from the county and neighbouring area.

“It is very much about local jobs being created.”

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