Decision due on Stansted expansion this week: ‘The world has moved on’
Are we nearing a final decision on Stansted Airport’s bid to increase passenger numbers from 35 million to 43 million a year?
The plans were backed by Uttlesford District Council’s planning committee in November last year, but the full council chose to re-examine the proposals in light of UK Carbon Net Zero 2050 legislation.
The planning committee met last week (Friday, January 17) to hear the views of the public and local councillors regarding the application, which dates back to November 2018. It is due to be decided on Friday (January 24).
Officers have recommended it is approved, together with a £35 million package that includes £12 million towards local transport; more than £2 million on Uttlesford roads, including more than £1 million on upgrading junction 8 of the M11; an insulation grant scheme for people living closest to the airport; and discounts to rail commuters parking at Stansted.
They have also said there are no new material considerations to justify a decision different to that concluded by the planning committee in 2018.
However, speakers at Friday’s meeting reminded everyone that the council had declared a climate emergency and pledged to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2030.
Peter Sanders, chairman of Stop Stansted Expansion, said: “The world has moved on since this planning application was first considered by the council’s planning committee in November 2018.
“If the committee had known at that time what we know now about the far more serious potential health impacts of air pollution and aircraft noise, the application would surely never have been provisionally approved.
“Add to that the mounting evidence that we are facing a climate catastrophe if we don’t act now and it becomes clear that to approve this application would be irresponsible to future generations.
“Just a week ago, SSE’s view was that the council should not make a hasty decision but should instead wait for more facts and figures. There is now no need for delay because the latest evidence is overwhelming.
“The application should be refused at the planning committee meeting next Friday. In fact, we are now hoping it will be a unanimous refusal, which will give the decision added weight and make it less likely that [airport operator] Manchester Airports Group will appeal.”