Climate-change rules will be considered in delayed Stansted decision
UK Carbon Net Zero 2050 legislation will be brought into play when plans to expand Stansted airport are reconsidered.
The airport’s bid to increase passenger numbers to from 35 million to 43 million a year was backed by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee (courtesy of the chairman’s casting vote) in November last year.
Full council had been expected to confirm the decision in April, but political machinations allowing for examination of the draft Section 106 agreement relating to the expansion (see here) delayed that process beyond May’s local elections.
And how that changed things!
The Conservatives lost 19 Uttlesford seats as the Residents’ Association (Residents for Uttlesford) took control of the local authority, now holding 26 of the 39 seats. Many believe that the issue of Stansted expansion lay behind the extraordinary political swing.
And now councillors have voted to delay a decision on the planning application so new material evidence, including the new UK Carbon Net Zero 2050 legislation, can be considered.
At an extraordinary council meeting Friday, June 28, the new council chose to delay the expansion proposals so they could be re-examined, while a petition was presented by more than 1,600 people calling for such a move.
John Lodge, council leader, said: “There is a strong belief that the previous Conservative council administration tried to rush through the expansion before the May election.
“Stansted Airport is a significant part of our district and is nationally important, so it has to be done properly. The proposed expansion to nearly the size of Gatwick will bring jobs, but it will have a big negative impact on surrounding communities, our roads and railways, and particularly the environment.
“These impacts must be properly mitigated and so the council has voted for a new review before planning is granted.
“Very importantly, there are also new material considerations that directly relate to aviation. The UK’s brand-new Carbon Net Zero 2050 legislation was signed in to law this week; a recent High Court decision backed Heathrow’s third runway; the government issued its Aviation 2050 strategy; and the European airport industry has agreed its own climate change net zero initiative.
“These must now also be considered. If the airport’s owners appeal this decision, it could well be the UK’s first test case for the new Carbon Net Zero 2050 legislation.”
Monday, July 29, 2019