‘This is a recipe for log jam on A120’ – Traffic fears over airport revamp

Heavy traffic on the A120 Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND

Heavy traffic on the A120 Picture: HIGHWAYS ENGLAND - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport has received a major boost in its bid to raise the cap on passenger numbers by eight million a year after the plans were recommended for approval.

Ken O'Toole, chief executive at Stansted Airport.
Picture: Tony Pick

Ken O'Toole, chief executive at Stansted Airport. Picture: Tony Pick - Credit: Archant

If granted – albeit with conditions – the Essex airport will be able to increase the cap on the number of passengers able to use the facility from 35m a year to 44m.

In doing so, the number of flights will also be able to increase to a maximum of 274,000 a year.

But campaigners claim the plans, which are likely to facilitate a significant increase – as much as 44% on the 189,900 flights seen last year to an agreed capacity of 274,000 per year by 2028 – will also have a major impact on traffic and noise levels.

Last year the airport handled a record 26m passengers and is expected to hit its current 35m maximum cap for people using it by 2023.

Aerial view of Stansted Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Aerial view of Stansted Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT - Credit: Archant


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Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) report has said there would be 72 additional flights during the day – 712 between 7am and 11pm.

That’s compared to a minimum scenario of 640 if the cap was not lifted. Without the cap the total number of flights – including cargo and others – will not be able to increase much beyond 249,000, according to figures in the planning application.

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Stop Stansted Expansion deputy chairman Brian Ross said: “Compared to last year if this application was approved there would be a 44% increase in the number of flights and a 66% increase in passengers.

“As far as flights, that means noise impacts and air quality impacts and all of that, as far as passengers are concerned that’s road traffic.

Aerial view of Stansted airport Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT

Aerial view of Stansted airport Picture: STANSTED AIRPORT - Credit: Archant

“This application is a recipe for log jam on our roads.”

Figures compiled by UDC officers suggest the A120 east of junction 8 of the M11 is likely to see an increase of almost 1,000 cars from 5,329 now to 6,266 at peak hours between 5pm and 6pm.

The report also indicates there will be an increase in noise – of 3dB in the daytime and 2.6dB at night.

Councillors are set to debate the plans, which are currently the subject of a High Court battle, on November 14.

Stansted Airport chief executive Ken O’Toole said of the application: “We have to build a tiny sliver of taxiway off either end of the runway and three stands for aircraft, so the physical work is absolutely minimal.

“We are not seeking any change in the number of flights, and there will be no change in the boundary of the airport.”

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