Stansted expansion: public inquiry gets under way
The public inquiry into a bid to increase passenger numbers at Stansted Airport began online today (Tuesday, January 12, 2021).
It is being held after site-owner Manchester Airports Group appealed against Uttlesford District Council’s refusal to allow numbers to rise to 43 million passengers a year from the current limit of 35 million.
MAG will make its submission, along with organisations challenging the hike, including the council and campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion.
A statement on the latter’s website states: “After more than three years of fierce resistance by the local community, the proposed expansion of Stansted Airport will be decided by a Public Inquiry [which opens Tuesday 12 January].
“The outcome will determine whether Uttlesford, East Herts, and other surrounding districts will continue to consist of largely rural communities or will, in time, become further blighted and urbanised in the same way as large areas around Gatwick and Heathrow airports.
“SSE considers it entirely irrational, and potentially dangerous, for the Government’s Planning Inspectorate to insist that the Public Inquiry must start at the height of a pandemic.
“Stansted already has permission for 35 million passengers and its passenger throughput peaked at 28 million in 2018, with passenger numbers in decline since mid-2019, long before the pandemic.
“In 2020, Stansted handled just 7 million passengers and has forecast that it will take years to return to pre-pandemic levels. Plainly, there is no urgency to increase the current planning cap.”
The inquiry is expected to last until the start of April.
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