Airport expansion plans set to get green light after delays

The departure lounge at Stansted Airport - which could be a lot busier if extension plans are approv

The departure lounge at Stansted Airport - which could be a lot busier if extension plans are approved - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport is set to finally receive permission for its major expansion.

The news comes a year after it was originally granted, before a change of council administration put the process on hold.

Uttlesford District Council's planning committee approved the application to increase the cap on the annual number of passengers using Stansted from 35 to 43 million in November 2018, with the proviso that conditions over financial contributions would be met.

However, that process was delayed after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control of the council from the Tories and decided to refer the original decision back to the planning committee, so it could look at the plans in detail again.

Council officers have now recommended that a financial contribution package totalling £35m should be accepted from Stansted when the council meets on January 17 and 24.

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Officers also said there are no new material considerations that would justify a different decision to that resolved by the planning committee in 2018.

However Brian Ross, from Stop Stansted Expansion, cautioned against making early predictions when the decision is to be made by elected councillors - not officers.

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He said: "This is an officer recommendation. It is important to make that distinction."

The core elements of the investment include £12m for local transport schemes, more than £2m for improving local roads within Uttlesford, including over £1m upgrading junction 8 of the M11, an insulation grant scheme for those living closest to the airport, and an offer of substantial discounts to local rail commuters parking at Stansted.

Chief executive of London Stansted Airport, Ken O'Toole, said: "We have listened to the community from the outset and remain absolutely committed to delivering additional passenger growth in a sustainable manner, without an increase in the number of permitted flights and within a smaller noise footprint than our existing permission requires."

He said there is no denying that the airport delivers substantial benefits to the Uttlesford, Essex and East of England economies.

"This comes in many forms, but most notably from the 12,000 people employed across the 200+ employers at the airport, including over 2,000 Uttlesford residents," he added.

"Growth to 43m passengers a year will generate 5,000 more jobs at the airport and a further £1 billion of additional economic and social benefit."

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