Stansted to reclaim costs from Uttlesford council due to winning its expansion planning appeal
Stansted Airport intends to reclaim “hundreds of thousands of pounds” from Uttlesford District Council (UDC), after it won its appeal over expansion plans – against the council’s refusal. In January 2020 UDC had rejected proposals to increase Stansted’s passenger cap from 35 to 43 million per year. The officers had recommended approval of proposals. An inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate found “overwhelmingly in favour of the grant of planning permission”. Uttlesford is a small council, which should not have to bear vast costs, in order to try to prevent harm to its local residents. Stansted already has permission to increase capacity from 28 million to 35 million annual passengers.
Stansted Airport to reclaim expansion appeal costs from council
Stansted Airport will look to reclaim “hundreds of thousands of pounds” from a council after it won its appeal over expansion plans.
Uttlesford District Council last year rejected proposals to increase the Essex airport’s passenger cap to 43 million a year.
It was against the advice of officers who recommended approval of proposals.
An inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate found “overwhelmingly in favour of the grant of planning permission”.
A spokesman for Uttlesford District Council said: “We acknowledge the inspectors’ decisions, although are of course disappointed.
“We will need to take advice on the justification given for the respective decisions, including consulting with counsel, before commenting further.”
Stansted Airport’s managing director Steve Griffiths said: “It’s clear from the public inquiry and inspectors’ report that this should have been approved by the council planning committee.
“It shouldn’t have gone this far.”
The council had originally approved the plan, but after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May 2019, the decision was referred back to the planning committee.
The airport appealed against the decision and already had permission to increase capacity from 28 million to 35 million passengers.
At the time, Residents for Uttlesford leader of the council John Lodge said: “Expanding Stansted up to the size of Gatwick is unnecessary as it can continue to be a major employer and contributor to the regional economy without this expansion.”
Mr Griffiths said the airport had “incurred unnecessary expense” due to the appeal but was “pleased with the result”.
The airport will review all costs before “opening conversating with the council about reclaiming”, he said.
“It is too early to say exactly what the number we will be but it is hundreds of thousands of pounds.”
Mr Griffiths said the airport would look to reclaim costs that were “reasonable and proportionate”.
Stansted wins appeal, against refusal by Uttlesford Council, of its plans to increase capacity to 43 million passengers per year
Expansion plans for Stansted Airport have been approved by the Planning Inspectorate (PI) after an appeal. In January 2020 Uttlesford District Council (UDC) rejected proposals to increase Stansted’s passenger cap from 35 million to 43 million a year. However, the councillors voted against the advice of council officers, who had recommended approval of proposals. The council had originally approved the plan, in November 2018 but only by the casting vote of the chairman; many councillors then had not read, or properly understood, all the documents. Then after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives in May 2019, the decision was referred back to the planning committee – the rejection decision. Stansted already had permission to increase capacity from 28 million to 35 million passengers per year. The airport appealed against the decision, despite Covid and the near collapse of air travel in 2020. A public inquiry was held in January to March 2021 by the Planning Inspectorate. In its decision, the PI said: “there would be a limited degree of harm arising in respect of air quality and carbon emissions” but that was “far outweighed by the benefits of the proposal”. UDC has also been ordered to pay the costs of Stansted’s appeal.
DfT and MHCLG both reject application to have Stansted expansion called in
There was a Planning Inquiry from January to March, into the rejection by Uttlesford council of the application by Stansted airport to increase its annual air passenger cap from 35 million passengers, to 43 mppa. Local campaign, Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) asked the government (two departments) to call in the application, for consideration by government, rather than just by Uttlesford District Council. Now SSE has received letters from both the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, and the Department for Transport, refusing the request for a call in. The MHCLG said “the Secretary of State has carefully considered your request but has decided in this case not to issue a direction for joint determination under s266 of the 1990 Act. The jurisdiction of the case therefore remains with the appointed planning Inspectors, and the Planning Inspectorate will inform you of a decision in due course.” Grant Shapps (DfT) said that “the application is not of sufficient scale or significance to justify a direction. I will therefore not be making a direction in relation to this appeal.” SSE said they were unsurprised, and concerned that this may set a bad precedent for appeals by other airports, where the planned increase in annual passengers is lower than that at Stansted.