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Approval of Stansted passenger hike sparks independent probe


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An increase in passenger numbers at Stansted has been approved, but how well was the application handled?

The decision by Uttlesford District Council to approve an increase in passenger numbers at Stansted Airport has prompted an independent investigation.
Two councillors, Mark Lemon and Barbara Light, had asked for the local authority’s scrutiny committee to review November’s handling of the application, which was passed on the chairman’s vote.
And on Tuesday last week (January 15) their motion was approved by the scrutiny committee, which agreed to an independent investigation into how Uttlesford deals with substantial applications, including the Stansted approval from November.
Cllrs Lemon and Light had asked for the review of how some aspects of the airport application were tackled; these included whether the council’s engagement with applicant Manchester Airports Group should have been kept confidential and whether consultation and public-speaking arrangements were adequate.
It is intended to establish whether good practice was followed and how the handling of subsequent large applications could be improved.
Scrutiny committee chairman Alan Dean told local media: “The reason that Cllr Lemon and Cllr Light wanted a review is that they felt it was not handled well enough, which left the public not trusting the decision made.
“I suppose you could say democracy wasn’t seen to be done, so we want this to be done thoroughly and professionally.
“The airport process will be looked at in detail once we appoint somebody to do the work, which will be an independent body, and we’re not just looking at the airport but also other large-scale applications to see if there are any systematic problems that occur each time.”
It is hoped that a draft report with recommendations will be published by the summer.