Stansted Airport given go-ahead for expansion after winning appeal

London Stansted’s terminal building Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Stansted Airport's owner has won an appeal against its expansion plans - Credit: Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport has won its appeal against a district council that had blocked its plans to expand its annual capacity by eight million passengers.

The government's Planning Inspectorate has sided with the Essex airport's owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which had appealed against an Uttlesford District Council (UDC) decision made in January 2020 to reject its expansion from 35million to 43million passengers a year.

UDC was opposed to the scheme due to concerns over its impact on the environment and infrastructure. 

Inspectors heard evidence over three months this year before coming to a decision, which was announced on Wednesday.

The Planning Inspectorate has also awarded MAG its full costs for the case.


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In its decision, inspectors said: "Overall, the balance falls overwhelmingly in favour of the grant of planning permission.

"Whilst there would be a limited degree of harm arising in respect of air quality and carbon emissions, these matters are far outweighed by the benefits of the proposal."

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The decision means MAG's plans to create two new taxiway links to the existing runway, six additional remote aircraft stands and three additional aircraft stands can proceed.

Stansted Airport's managing director, Steve Griffiths, said: "We welcome the decision of the Planning Inspectorate to grant permission to increase the number of passengers London Stansted is able to serve following the recent independent public inquiry.

"Our original planning application to serve up to 43million passengers a year followed extensive public engagement and set out how the airport could grow with no additional flights and a reduced noise limit.

"Throughout, the aim was to provide clarity and certainty for local communities and we feel today’s decision is a strong endorsement of our approach and the strength of the case we made at the Inquiry.

"The Planning Inspectorate’s decision provides clear assurance to local communities that Stansted’s growth can be delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. This decision allows us, the community and our airline partners to plan ahead with certainty.  

"We always believed that UDC failed to provide any credible or substantiated reasons to justify refusing the application, while ignoring the clear advice it received from its own officers and expert legal advisors, and this belief is borne out with the inspectors’ conclusion that planning permission should have been granted by the council and the appeal should not have been necessary. 

"We will now take time to study the full detail of the decision before commenting further."

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