Expansion protestors urge airport owners to resist appealing refusal

Aerial view of Stansted Airport Picture: LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT

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

Campaigners against expansion of Stansted Airport have urged the group behind proposals to resist appealing recent refusal of planning permission.

Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion ( SSE) Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion ( SSE) Picture: ANDREW PARTRIDGE

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) called on the Manchester Airports Group (MAG) not to appeal against the decision of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) last week.​

Expansion was blocked after councillors overturned a previous decision to green-light plans.

An extraordinary planning meeting resulted in councillors ignoring a recommendation to approve two new taxiway links to runways and nine new hangars, increasing the number of passengers the airport is allowed to serve from 35million to 43m a year - growth MAG said can be achieved with aircraft movements remaining capped at 274,000 flights a year. It also proposed to reduce the current noise footprint by 15%.

Debate has raged since the application was submitted almost two years ago - culminating in more than 500 pages of reports and 200 letters from the public.

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Plans were approved in November 2018, subject to owners MAG investing in the area.

After a change of administration at the council - with power shifting from the Conservatives to the Residents for Uttlesford independents - it was delayed last June so councillors could reassess the agreement.

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A spokesman for Stansted Airport stopped short of announcing an appeal, but said: "We will now carefully consider the comments made by the committee before deciding our next steps."

SSE said an appeal could result in a lengthy public inquiry and continued local uncertainty.

Chairman Peter Sanders said: "MAG has always insisted this planning application must be dealt with locally by UDC rather than nationally.

"The fact that MAG has not obtained the result it wanted should not mean that MAG can now simply reverse its position and insist on its application being dealt with at national level.

"Airports have an insatiable appetite for expansion and it is wholly wrong that we should be forced to keep fighting battle after battle. Local communities should be entitled to some respite and peace of mind."​

If there is an appeal, SSE said it will to support UDC in presenting the case at public inquiry.

A High Court judgment is still awaited on SSE's challenge against the decision of the Secretary of State to allow the planning application to be determined locally by UDC rather than dealt with as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project.

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