Uttlesford decision on Stansted: New councillors mean an opportunity for a fresh approach
The previous council at Uttlesford voted through expansion proposals for Stansted Airport, in November 2018, but the Chairman’s casting vote. It then came to light jhat at least some of the councillors had either not read, or had not understood, even the most basic information about the application. Now with the council elections in early May, there has been a huge re-shuffling. Local group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) says this left no doubt as to its dissatisfaction with the incumbent administration. The Conservatives retained just 4 out of their 24 seats, making this proportionately the largest loss by any ruling party in any District Council in the entire country. The 5 members of the Council’s Planning Committee who voted in favour of the Stansted Airport planning application last November are no longer councillors, whereas the 5 who voted against were all re-elected. Voters were unhappy that an unpopular administration had attached greater priority to the commercial interests of Manchester Airports Group than to the wellbeing of local residents. SSE now looks forward to re-establishing a constructive dialogue with the Council.
Uttlesford decision on Stansted airport: an opportunity for a fresh approach
6th May 2019
Stop Stansted Expansion press release
An electoral tsunami swept through Uttlesford last Thursday as the local community left no doubt as to its dissatisfaction with the incumbent administration. The Conservatives retained just 4 out of their 24 seats, making this proportionately the largest loss by any ruling party in any District Council in the entire country.
The five members of the Council’s Planning Committee who voted in favour of the Stansted Airport planning application last November are no longer councillors, whereas the five who voted against were all re-elected.
The leader of Uttlesford District Council (UDC) sought to blame Brexit but it was far more than that. This was a deeply unpopular administration which attached greater priority to the commercial interests of Manchester Airports Group than to the wellbeing of local residents. There is no doubt that the controversial Local Plan was another reason for the catastrophic losses suffered by the Conservative group.
Many of the members of the public who spoke out on behalf of their communities at recent Council meetings to voice their concerns about airport expansion and other matters have now been elected as full members of the Council, replacing those who refused to listen. Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) congratulates all of them and looks forward to re-establishing a constructive dialogue with the Council.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “I very much regret the fact that our relationship with UDC has been strained in recent times as a result of the Council’s mishandling of the current Stansted Airport planning application. We now have a change of administration and I am optimistic that this will allow us, once again, to have a cordial and business-like relationship with the Council. This is an opportunity for a fresh approach.”
1. The composition of Uttlesford Council prior to the local elections on 2 May was:
10 Residents for Uttlesford,
4 Liberal Democrats
and one vacant seat. (total 39)
The composition of the Council now is
26 Residents for Uttlesford,
7 Liberal Democrats,
and 2 Independents. (Total = 39)
FURTHER INFORMATION AND COMMENT
• Peter Sanders, SSE Chairman, T 01799 520411; email@example.com
• Brian Ross, SSE Deputy Chairman: 01279 814961; (M) 07850 937143 firstname.lastname@example.org
• SSE Campaign Office: 01279 870558; email@example.com
SSE takes Communities Secretary James Brokenshire to JR on Stansted expansion, including its CO2 emissions
Campaign group, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) say they will use latest EU figures showing Ryanair as one of Europe’s biggest polluters in their latest judicial challenge. Currently about 21 million of Ryanair’s 130 million passengers in 2018 travelled via Stansted. Ryanair has the highest CO2 emissions (for intra-EU flights) of any European airline. Its flights emitted 9.9 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, up 6.9% on 2017, and up 49% over the past 5 years. SSE say the added argument of the vast carbon emissions, to only be hugely worsened by expansion to 43 mppa, is another reason why the planning consent by Uttlesford council, for the airport expansion, should be called in for determination by the government. The Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has said his reason for not intervening was that the application does not involve issues of “more than local importance.” Carbon emissions are indeed of much more than local significance – it is a global issue. Brian Ross, from SSE said: “You can’t just allow local authorities to approve an increase in carbon emissions as they like. There needs to be national co-ordination.”
Stop Stansted Expansion to start legal challenge to government decision not to call in expansion application
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has confirmed that it will commence legal proceedings to challenge last week’s decision [20 March] by the Communities Secretary James Brokenshire not to intervene in the decision by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to approve the expansion of Stansted to 43 mppa. Brokenshire said his reason for not intervening was that “the application does not involve issues of more than local importance”. SSE considers this conclusion to be completely wrong. In the next month or two, Stansted is expected to overtake Manchester to become the UK’s 3rd busiest airport. The noise, air pollution, community health and road traffic impacts of Stansted are felt far beyond the borders of Uttlesford, and the 3.7 million equivalent tonnes of carbon dioxide attributable to Stansted flights this year will have significant adverse global impacts. SSE will apply to the High Court for a JR of Brokenshire’s decision. SSE solicitors have written to UDC pointing out that it would be inappropriate for UDC to issue any decision in relation to the airport planning application whilst these legal challenges are pending. SSE already has an outstanding JR application against the Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling, over his decision of 28 June 2018 to allow the airport planning application to be determined locally by UDC.
UTTLESFORD COUNCIL PLANNING CHAIRMAN DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE WAS VOTING FOR!
Following the decision of the Chairman of Uttlesford Planning Committee, Councillor Alan Mills, to use his (additional) casting vote in favour of the airport planning application, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) health adviser, Professor Jangu Banatvala, wrote to him to ask whether he had reviewed the latest important WHO Noise Guidelines, published on 10th October, prior to voting. The disturbing reply from Councillor Mills suggests that he was not aware of the WHO Guidelines and he believed the planning application was for 174,000 flights, rather than 274,000. He did not appear to have understood that the application was for an increase in flights, by about 25,000 per year, despite claiming to have read a third of the documents. Five councillors voted in favour of the Stansted application, but SSE has found that at least some of them had either not read, or had not understood, even the most basic information about the application. SSE said this is entirely unsatisfactory. It confirms that this application should be dealt with at a higher level than a small district council, with limited resources to deal with such a significant application with such widespread implications. SSE’s lawyers are now working on the detailed legal submissions to the Secretary of State on why he must now ‘call in’ the application for national determination.
Uttlesford DC approves Stansted expansion plan, only by Chairman’s casting vote – but plans may now be “called in”
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has expressed dismay and disappointment that the vote on 14th November)by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) Planning Committee granted approval for Stansted’s planning application to grow – to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers per annum (from the 35 million cap now). If this approval is allowed to stand, it would mean that Stansted could increase its flights by 44% and its passenger throughput by 66% compared, to last year’s levels. The Planning Committee, comprising ten elected Uttlesford councillors, split right down the middle with 5 in favour of the application (including the Planning Committee Chairman) and 5 against. Where there is a split vote, the Council rulebook gives the Chairman an additional (casting) vote – so he gets 2 votes. Both BBC and ITV regional news teams filmed the session, which was attended by many local people. UDC cannot issue a decision notice until the Sec of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (James Brokenshire) has considered whether the application should be called in. This should have been done already, as the planned expansion is very near the threshold necessary – of an increase by 10 million annual passengers. SSE will now submit further representations to the Secretary of State asking him (again) to call in the application. They are currently also legally challenging the decision.