SSE say Stansted airport spin doctors are in a desperate final attempt to sway Uttlesford DC planners
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has described the latest Stansted press release claiming public support for its expansion plans as a complete distortion of the facts and a desperate eleventh hour attempt by the airport’s spin doctors to influence members of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) Planning Committee. The Committee is due to consider the airport planning application – for 44% more flights and 66% more passengers per year – on 14th November. The expansion would mean far higher CO2 emissions (over 1 million tonnes) from Stansted flights than now. SSE says the expansion plan “would have very serious environmental consequences for this generation and future generations. It would inflict yet more noise misery upon local residents and it would be a recipe for gridlock [local roads]. … We simply do not have the infrastructure to support an airport the size of Gatwick”. When Stansted claim hundreds of people support its plans, this is in part due to “repeatedly badgering all airport employees to trigger automatic computer-generated “I support expansion” emails. Only 16 members of the general public sent individual letters or emails to UDC backing the proposals. But UDC received 934 individually-written letters and emails opposing the plans including objections from 47 Parish Councils. No Parish Council has registered its support for the expansion proposals.
STANSTED AIRPORT SPIN DOCTORS IN DESPERATE FINAL ATTEMPT TO SWAY COUNCIL PLANNERS
6.11.2018 (Press release from Stop Stansted Expansion)
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has described the latest Stansted Airport press release claiming public support for its expansion plans as a complete distortion of the facts and a desperate eleventh hour attempt by the airport’s spin doctors to influence members of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) Planning Committee.
The Council’s Planning Committee is due to consider the airport planning application on Wednesday 14th November. The application, submitted earlier this year by the owners of Stansted Airport, the Manchester Airports Group (MAG), would, if approved, mean 44% more flights and 66% more passengers, compared to last year. It would also increase Stansted’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main contributor to global warming – by an average of over a million tonnes a year.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders said “The evidence submitted by SSE and others clearly demonstrates that this application, if approved, would have very serious environmental consequences for this generation and future generations. It would inflict yet more noise misery upon local residents and it would be a recipe for gridlock at Junction 8 of the M11, as well as on many of our key local roads. [Note 1] We simply do not have the infrastructure to support an airport the size of Gatwick”.
Stansted Airport claims that hundreds of people have registered their support for its expansion plans. The fact is that, despite repeatedly badgering all airport employees to trigger automatic computer-generated “I support expansion” emails, only some 900 out of 12,000 airport employees did so, and only 16 members of the general public sent individual letters or emails to UDC supporting the expansion proposals.
By contrast, UDC received 934 individually-written letters and emails opposing the expansion proposals including objections from 47 Parish Councils. Not a single Parish Council has registered its support for the expansion proposals.
Peter Sanders concluded: “This is a choice between the facts and spin; between the airport PR machine and the interests of our precious local environment and the quality of life for local residents, their children and grandchildren. We don’t have the funds to invest in glossy publications, slick videos and celebrity endorsements. We do however have the confidence that our elected representatives will not be swayed by the spin. We are confident that UDC Planning Committee will focus on the hard evidence and its duty to the community and, accordingly, will not permit these highly damaging airport expansion proposals.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
Note 1: Amongst the worst affected local roads would be the A120, the A1250, the B1383, the B1256, the Bishop’s Stortford bypass, Chapel Hill, Grove Hill, Church Road and Bury Lodge Lane (all Stansted Mountfitchet) and Parsonage Lane and the Four Ashes junction in Takeley.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
- Peter Sanders, SSE Chairman, T 01799 520411; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brian Ross, SSE deputy chairman: 01279 814540; (M) 07850 937143 email@example.com
- SSE Campaign Office, T 01279 870558; firstname.lastname@example.org
Stop Stansted Expansion says Uttlesford DC planners’ recommendation is just an uncritical rehash of MAG’s claims
The recommendation by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) planning officers, published on 22 October, that the current airport planning application should be approved, will not surprise anyone who has followed UDC’s handling of this airport planning application from the beginning. As far back as July 2017 – before the application was even submitted – UDC were openly discussing concessions that might be extracted from Manchester Airports Group (MAG), the owners of Stansted, in return for approving the application. SSE say the UDC officers’ report is little more than a rehash of MAG’s planning statement with no attempt made to challenge the many unsubstantiated and misleading claims made in the planning application. They say UDC planning officers haven’t even bothered to check the many wholly implausible assumptions made by MAG which allow it to claim that there would be no significant adverse impacts if the application is approved – thought that would mean a 66% increase in passengers and a 44% increase in flights compared to last year. But UDC say this “would not result in significant adverse impacts.” It is now for UDC councillors on the planning committee to decide. This case seems too large and complex for a small team of planning officers in a small local authority, without the necessary resources or expertise.
Stansted Airport expansion decision delayed again, (from 17th October) – no date set
Plans to expand Stansted have been grounded, for now. Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has postponed a meeting to determine the future of the plans, under pressure from expansion opposition. The airport wants to increase the annual passenger limit by 35 million, from 8 million now up to 43 million. Expansion plans include work to build new aircraft stands and taxiways for additional aircraft (not a runway). The meeting was originally due to be held in July, before being pushed back until October 17th. A rearranged date has yet to be set. Expansion opposition group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) successfully requested the latest delay so that technical issues can be discussed. Highways England also complicated matters with concerns about road traffic implications. SSE said it is important that approval is not given before all the implications have been properly considered. They say it is “astonishing” that UDC were preparing to approve the expansion “even when important issues were – and still are – unresolved.” UDC said:“As a consequence of accommodating this request, officers expect to need extra time to address any technical issues that may arise from these enhanced consultation arrangements”.
Date set for Stansted Airport expansion planning decision by Uttlesford – 17th October
The passenger limit at Stansted could be lifted from 35 million a year to 43 million. Now the date of the special planning committee hearing at Uttlesford District Council, (UDC) to decide a planning application that would mean potentially millions more people going through Stansted, has been announced. UDC said the special planning committee is will be on October 17th, following 3 public speaking sessions the week before the decision will be made. The decision on whether to allow the airport to increase its annual passenger numbers was due to be decided in July, but because of the lack of information on sections of the application the meeting was delayed. There has been staunch opposition from residents fighting to stop any increase in passenger numbers. In August, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) filed legal papers to try and force the government to make the decision on the application, saying that UDC didn’t have the experience or expertise to handle such a complicated application. Currently the airport is operating with around 27 million passengers per year, eight million fewer than its current passenger limit. SSE will continue with legal action to make central government decide the plans, irrespective of the decision taken by UDC’s planning committee.
Stop Stansted Expansion wants Uttlesford District Council to allow more time (not 31st August deadline) for consultation on airport expansion plans
Campaigners against plans to expand passenger numbers and flights at Stansted are calling for more time for the public to consider new information about the plans. Airport owner MAG is seeking permission to raise the upper threshold for passenger numbers and flights. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) argues Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) August 31 deadline for comments on an extra 900 pages of information is not enough. SSE says the council and the airport owners were seeking to “rush through” the application, and corners were being cut. SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “This is an impossible deadline to achieve, unless Uttlesford only wants to receive superficial responses. Parish and town councils don’t even meet during August, nor does UDC council or cabinet. August is a lost month so far as a public consultation is concerned. It is especially galling because Uttlesford caused this problem in the first place. The council should not have accepted such a deficient planning application back in February. It is a case of more haste, less speed.” SSE is pursuing a high court challenge aimed at transferring responsibility for determining the planning application from UDC to the Secretary of State.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has served legal papers requiring the Government to take control of deciding the airport’s expansion plans
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has served legal papers requiring the Government to take control of deciding the latest Stansted Airport expansion proposals, or face proceedings in the High Court. This puts the Secretary of State for Transport on formal notice of a Judicial Review application if he fails to designate the airport’s planning application as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) within 14 days. Such a designation would mean the application would be considered nationally (a longer, more detailed, more effective process) rather than by the local planning authority, Uttlesford District Council (UDC). The application for expansion at Stansted was submitted by Manchester Airports Group (MAG) on behalf of the airport last February. If approved it would mean a 44% increase in flights and a 66% increase in passengers compared to 2017 levels. From the outset, SSE fiercely opposed the attempt to rush through the application and has argued that the scale of the application – the threshold is 10 million more annual passengers – meant that it had to be determined nationally rather than by the local Council. Stansted is trying to put the increase at 8million (35m to 43m) to avoid the NSIP process.
Uttlesford District Council to delay decision on Stansted’s expansion application – details needed on noise, air pollution & surface access
Plans to increase the number of passengers Stansted Airport handles, along with other infrastructure, have been delayed after Uttlesford District Council (UDC) asked for more information. Stansted’s application to expand the number of passengers allowed per year from 35 million to 43 million was due to be heard by UDC on July 18th. But it is unlikely to be heard before at least one more consultation and one more public meeting. A spokesperson from the council said: “The council has been examining the robustness of the evidence supplied within the application, particularly in relation to surface access, noise and air quality. Ongoing discussions are taking place with relevant stakeholders including Highways England, Essex and Hertfordshire County Councils, Natural England and engaged consultants, and further work is being undertaken.” Additional information is needed from the airport to ensure that the Planning Committee has all it needs in order to make an informed decision on the application. UDC has also announced that the Planning Performance Agreement (PPA), an agreement that fast tracks the application in return for monetary payments to UDC’s planning officers to cover the costs of processing the applications, will be re-negotiated.