SSE will be in the High Court from 12-14 November for a Judicial Review challenge of the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport (SST)
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will be in the High Court from 12-14 November for a Judicial Review challenge of the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport (SST) to allow Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to determine the 2018 Stansted Airport planning application for 43 mppa. The essence of the SSE challenge is that the application should be treated as a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008 – because it is nearly 10 million extra annual passengers – and therefore determined by the Secretary of State for Transport, rather than UDC. Part of the challenge relates to the CO2 emissions impact of the proposed development. It is not satisfactory for the DfT to say the limiting of aviation carbon emissions is not an issue for Local Planning Authorities (LPAAs). The SST cannot just sit back and allow LPAs to sanction major airport expansion projects all over the UK, and at the same time tell them to disregard aviation CO2 emissions of these airport expansion projects. Many airports plan expansion, and the combined carbon emissions way exceed even lax future cap targets. SSE will be trying to pin down the SST on this key issue.
Note from Stop Stansted Expansion:
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will be in the High Court from 12-14 November for a Judicial Review challenge of the decision of the Secretary of State for Transport (SST) to allow Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to determine the 2018 Stansted Airport planning application for 43 mppa. The essence of the SSE challenge is that the application should be treated as a nationally significant infrastructure project (NSIP) under the Planning Act 2008 – because it is nearly 10 million extra annual passengers – and therefore determined by the Secretary of State for Transport, rather than UDC.
Part of our challenge relates to the CO2 emissions impact of the proposed development where the Government’s position, as set down in ‘Beyond the Horizon: making best use of existing runways’, DfT, June 2018, para 1.11), is that aviation CO2 emissions are considered at national level and so local planning authorities (LPAs) only need to consider the local environmental impacts when determining airport planning applications.
Our submission is that the SST – having agreed to the objective of limiting aviation CO2 emissions to 37.5Mt by 2050 – cannot just sit back and allow LPAs to sanction major airport expansion projects all over the UK, and at the same time tell them to disregard aviation CO2 emissions of these airport expansion projects. We have put some numbers on this for selected airports – similar to the SKY analysis, but not as comprehensive – to show that DfT has not made sufficient provision for the additional CO2 emissions which will emanate from its ‘making best use’ (MBU) policy.
The DfT’s response is to argue (in terms) that the expansion plans that have been announced for various airports over the past year or so, pursuant to the MBU policy, will lead to far more capacity being provided than can be justified by demand. That would be an entirely plausible explanation except for the fact that in the past 12 months the DfT has given strong hints – in speeches and in the December 2018 ‘Aviation 2050’ Green Paper – that another new runway (over and above Heathrow R3) is likely to be needed post 2030 to meet demand to 2050.
We will do our level best to pin down the SST on this issue in the High Court next month, but we do not underestimate the DfT’s ‘Houdini’ skills.
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.”
Lower Stansted passenger numbers recently shows there is no urgency for agreement to allow expansion
After 63 consecutive months of year-on-year growth, Stansted Airport has posted a reduction in passenger numbers in each of the past three months (July, August, September). Passenger numbers were down 0.5% in July, down 3.7% in August and down 2.7% in September, compared to a year earlier. The overall reduction over the 3 month period was some 200,000 passengers, equivalent to a year on year decline of 2.3%. Luton posted a 7.3% increase for three months to 31 August with 5.3 million passengers. (Luton and other airport numbers from the CAA for September are not yet available). One reason for the fall in numbers at Stansted is the late arrival of Boeing 737 Max planes to Ryanair. Stansted’s passenger numbers are also expected to be down in October, partly due to the collapse of Thomas Cook at the end of September. Stansted’s cargo tonnage was down with a loss of 28,000 tonnes (11%) on a year-on-year basis, with the number of cargo aircraft using Stansted is down 6% compared to 2018. All that shows there is NO urgency to allow Stansted higher annual passenger numbers. SSE said: “At the very least, Uttlesford District Council should do nothing until we all know the outcome of SSE’s legal challenge in the High Court, which takes place from 12th-14th November.”
Independent legal advice says the 2018 decision on Stansted Airport expansion should be reconsidered by Uttlesford Council
Stop Stansted Expansion say the 2018 Stansted Airport Planning Application should be considered entirely afresh. That’s the verdict of leading planning barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC in an independent legal opinion prepared for Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE). In the interests of transparency the full (25-page) legal advice is now published today and will be available online at http://stopstanstedexpansion.com/ The QC’s opinion sets out the key precedents in planning law and confirms that Uttlesford District Council (UDC) is lawfully entitled to reconsider the entire Planning Application even if there have been no material changes in circumstances or any relevant new considerations. However, a number of new material factors which have arisen since the Application was provisionally approved last year mean there is not only an entitlement to reconsider, but an obligation to do so. The QC’s advice explains that, provided there are good planning reasons, the new Planning Committee could quite lawfully and reasonably reach a different planning judgment from the former Committee who, by the slenderest of margins provisionally approved the Application last November.
Stansted planning application going back to the Uttlesford Planning Committee – SSE says it’s the right decision, legally, procedurally and democratically
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has welcomed the decision by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) on Friday 28 June to refer the 2018 Stansted Airport planning application – to increase passengers from 35m to 43 mppa – back to the Planning Committee for further consideration. Local campaign SSE (Stop Stansted Expansion) said this is vital due to all the outstanding issues. The proposal to refer the application back to the Planning Committee was tabled by 2 councillors from the Residents for Uttlesford (‘R4U’) party which took control of the Council in May. R4U Leader John Lodge also supported the proposal as did the leader of the Liberal Democrats. The proposal to re-consider the application received overwhelming cross-party support with 31 councillors voting in favour, only one against and one abstention. There was loud applause from the packed public gallery when the result of the vote was announced in the Council chamber. Many of those present had signed the residents’ petition calling for the application to be referred back to the Planning Committee for further consideration – signed by 1,700 people. The application was initially approved, (only by the Chairman’s casting vote) in a very unsatisfactory and flawed decision, in October 2018