Stansted Airport expansion definitively rejected by Uttlesford council
Stansted Airport expansion rejected by Uttlesford council
But at the council’s special planning committee, members rejected the scheme.
Originally the council approved the plan, but after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May, the decision was referred back to the committee.
Council officers said there were no new material considerations to justify a different decision from the one made in November 2018 when the plans were approved.
Stansted currently handles 28 million passengers a year and already has permission to increase capacity to 35 million.
The airport had offered to invest £35m in the local area, including on transport, soundproofing for homes on the flight path and homeowner relocation.
Plans for a new £150m arrivals terminal were put on hold last year.
Stansted Airport expansion scrapped after shock council decision
24 January 2020
By Jake Foxford (EACT – East Anglia Daily Times)
Stansted Airport’s long-awaited expansion was dramatically blocked after the district council overturned a previous decision to green-light the plans.
In an extraordinary planning committee meeting at Uttlesford District Council (UDC) on January 24, seven hours of debate ended in a shock decision with councillors ignoring a recommendation to approve the plans. The expansion had included two new taxiway links to runways and nine new hangars, expanding the number of flights it can handle from 227,000 up to 274,000 – a maximum of 43million passengers every year.
The debate about the expansion has raged since the application was submitted almost two years ago – culminating in more than 500 pages of reports and 200 letters from the public.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) has opposed the plans since they were submitted to the council in February 2018.
SSE deputy chairman Brian Ross said: “It’s a good day for the local residents of Uttlesford.
“There was a packed council chamber for a huge problem being dealt with by one of the smallest district councils in England.
“The Manchester Airport Group wanted this decided at the district level, not the national level, two and a half years ago. Now they need to respect the decision and not appeal against it.
“We have been doing this for two years, the local community needs some peace of mind and respite.”
The decision was made with 10 councillors voting to overturn the previous approval, and two councillors, who were also members of SSE, abstaining.
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Mr Ross added: “One of the biggest issues of today was climate change. Stansted Airport is one of the biggest CO2 producers in the East of England. “Someone had to stand up and say that this expansion was too much.”
A council spokesman said: “The reasons for today’s refusal were made in relation to noise, air quality and climate change; matters the committee agreed were material planning changes since the approval was granted.”
The plans were initially approved in November 2018, subject to a section 106 agreement – meaning airport owners Manchester Airport Group (MAG) had to detail how they would invest in jobs in the area and minimise the impact on the local community.
Proposals were drawn up for a £35m investment in noise reduction schemes and on-site higher education training facilities for staff.
After a change of administration at the district council – with power shifting from the Conservatives to the Residents for Uttlesford independents – it was delayed in June 2019 so councillors could reassess the agreement.
After the marathon seven-hour meeting, in which the chairman had to tell members of the public to stop applauding those opposing the plans, the new council overturned the previous conditional permission.
A spokesman for Stansted Airport stopped short of announcing an appeal against the decision, but said it was “naturally disappointed”.
“From the outset, we have listened to local communities to put forward an application that delivers the benefits of growth and a comprehensive package of mitigation measures.
“We are naturally disappointed that the committee has chosen to consciously ignore the recommendations of not only its own officers but also the additional advice it commissioned at significant cost to the taxpayer from independent technical experts and lawyers.
“The conclusions of this advice were clear that there should be no impediment to granting approval.
“We will now carefully consider the comments made by the committee before deciding our next steps.”
Stansted bid to increase passenger numbers rejected
Councillors consider the airport’s application
Councillors voted against debating the proposals to increase capacity by eight million to 43 million passengers a year.
Uttlesford District Council voted by ten votes to 2 abstentions to overturn a previous decision to allow the airport to go ahead with the plans.
The plans were first approved 14 months ago but were never rubber stamped.
And the council said it was growing concerns over climate change which meant they had taken the decision.
It was two years ago that Stansted Airport first made an application Credit: ITV News Anglia
Speaking to our reporter Claire McGalsson, Councillor Colin Day said the council had a duty of care toward residents.
“What is the price of getting things right when you’re talking about the health of people? We have a duty of care as a local authority for the residents that elected us to ensure their health is paramount. Going back we did request that Westminster to take control of this Westminster have decided not to.”
– CLLR COLIN DAY
Stansted are considering whether to appeal, but this evening issued a statement:
“From the outset, we have listened to local communities to put forward an application that delivers the benefits of growth and a comprehensive package of mitigation measures to benefit local communities.
We are naturally disappointed that the Planning Committee has chosen to consciously ignore the recommendations of not only its own officers but also the additional advice it commissioned at significant cost to the taxpayer from independent technical experts and lawyers. The conclusions of this advice were clear that there should be no impediment to granting approval.
We will now carefully consider the comments made by the Planning Committee before deciding our next steps.”
– SPOKESMAN FOR LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT
It was two years ago that Stansted Airport first made an application, but it was never confirmed.
The boss of Stansted Airport has written to local residents, saying that growth would be “in the best interests of the community”. The CEO Ken O’Toole has also written an open letter to local residents, setting out the airport’s future plans, arguing that they will benefit the region.
However, growing concern about climate change means campaigners now believe they can stop the expansion in its tracks.
Check out Claire McGlasson’s report for more. Claire looks at how the issue has developed over the past two years, and talks through some of the key points from the meeting so far.