Planning Inspectorate approves Liverpool airport expansion plans
The UK Planning Inspectorate has granted Liverpool John Lennon airport’s (LJLA) Lawful Development Certificate (LDC) appeal for a large area of land that is to be utilised for the continued expansion of the airport. The local Council, Halton, rejected the airport’s initial LDC application, once it became aware of the actual facts behind the loss of the land. The airport plans 14 acres of solar panels east of Dungeon Lane, the energy from which will be used by the airport. However, the airport appealed and this may been influenced by politics. Local campaigners are devastated at this news, since the evidence against the airport expansion in the case was damming. The solar farm is part of a wider £100m project by the airport. Other components of the initiative include a new road for the airport, a large warehouse to the south of the airport, expansion of the existing terminal, and extension of the runway.
Planning Inspectorate approves Liverpool airport expansion plans
18th September 2023
The UK government inspectorate has just granted Liverpool John Lennon airport’s (LJLA) LDC (Lawful Development Certificate) appeal for a large area of land that is to be utilised for the continued expansion of LJLA.
The Local Council rejected the airport’s initial LDC application, once it became aware of the actual facts behind the loss of the land. However, the airport appealed and it is, thus, clear this was a government political decision and nothing to do with the facts associated with the case.
This expansion includes continued development of its private executive jet facility.
Local campaigners are devastated at this news, since the evidence against the airport expansion in the case was damming. It is clear it was a political decision and the government inspectorate chose to simply ignore the evidence against the expansion. The same thing happened at the two local plan hearings. The inspectors in this case did not appear to have much prior knowledge, or understanding, of airport issues.
Liverpool airport’s solar farm takes off after appeal win
18 September 2023
By Julia Hatmaker (Place Northwest)
Halton Council’s rejection of the airport’s proposal to install 14 acres of solar panels east of Dungeon Lane was overturned by the Planning Inspectorate on Thursday.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport submitted an application for a lawful development certificate for the solar farm last year. The solar farm will be capable of generating 3MW of renewable energy, all of which will be used by the airport.
The application also calls for the construction of a substation, an internal access road, and a site entrance onto Dungeon Lane.
Halton Council dismissed the application in June 2022, stating that the airport had failed to prove that the site in question was part of the airport’s “operational land” and therefore was not suitable for an LDC.
The Planning Inspectorate disagreed, citing a 2015 decision by the council to allow the airport to extend the runway safety area onto the site and add a fence.
With the land not accessible by the public (the inspector had to go through airport security to see it) and the council approving an application on the site already – the inspector stated it was clear that the site was “operational land” and thus an LDC should be allowed.
A Liverpool John Lennon Airport spokesperson said they were “naturally delighted” by the inspector’s decision.
“The airport is focused on sustainability and the solar farm is a huge part of our plans aiming to decarbonise our operation by 2040, bringing an estimated saving of around 20% of emissions per annum,” the spokesperson said.
“We will be launching these plans in the coming weeks and the solar farm will likewise be important for the city region’s own aspirations to meet its 2040 net zero carbon emissions target.”
The solar farm is part of a wider £100m project that Liverpool John Lennon Airport has been flirting with for a while. Other aspects of the initiative include a new road for the airport, a large warehouse to the south of the airport, expansion of the existing terminal, and elongation of the runway.
You can learn more about the solar farm at the airport by searching application reference number 22/00019/PLD on Halton Council’s planning portal or APP/D0650/X/22/3313760 on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.
Update – and synopsis – regarding the planned expansion of Liverpool John Lennon Airport:
6.3.2022, from local campaigners
- Airport encompasses two local authorities and airport expansion included within their respective Local Plans
- Local Plan hearings now complete for both authorities
- Liverpool Local Plan inspector ignored all evidence opposing the expansion and has declared the supporting ‘evidence’ as satisfying the ‘Soundness’ criterion.
- Liverpool Local Plan inspector ignored evidence (all referenced) when the initial report was issued with the inspector’s main modifications detailed and requests made for comments.
- Liverpool Council has voted in favour of the Local Plan, but has agreed to ‘review’ the sections relating to the airport expansion in one year.
- Halton Borough Council (2nd Council) Local Plan inspector has released the initial report, with a request for comments on main modifications.
- LAJ has responded, but the airport has been virtually ignored within this initial response (probably deliberate) and so comments have to be put within the Green Belt and Climate Change sections.
- The Liverpool Local Plan inspector’s report could have been written by the airport itself.
- Nether inspector possessed the slightest knowledge, or understanding, of the ICAO/CAA rules and regulations or anything connected with the world of aviation. One inspector wrote that starter strips are a ‘safety requirement’ when they are actually part of the runway extension plan to improve TORA (Take off Run Available)
- The other inspector wasn’t aware of the passenger limits imposed on airport growth issued by the Climate Change Committee. These were still ignored when the initial report was released.
Liverpool John Lennon Airport expansion plans remain on hold
Liverpool John Lennon Airport (JLA) could still be expanded in the future, leaders have said, despite added that no plans are currently in place. Officials from the consultative committee at JLA admitted that hopes of increasing the footprint at the Speke site hadn’t evaporated despite increased pressure over the environmental impact. Robin Tudor, public relations manager at JLA, told a meeting of airport stakeholders on Friday that while “expansion is in our thoughts” there were “no plans to expand in the short to medium term.” Mr Tudor’s remarks were prompted following a question from Stephanie Thompson of Liverpool Friends of the Earth, who asked the panel if Liverpool Council should pass a resolution to halt its support of the airport and “set up an independent professional assessment of the impacts of additional air pollution on community health in Speke-Garston?” Mr Tudor said in any potential expansion, the airport would submit an environmental impact assessment of its own as part of a planning application, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.
Liverpool Airport expansion plans to be reviewed, as contrary to council climate aims – and Oglet shore reprieved
Liverpool Airport had been hoping to expand by extending its runway by 314 metres, to attract direct transatlantic flights, to try to more than double its passenger numbers. This has been fiercely opposed, especially as it would take land to the south of the airport, where there is the Oglet shore – a natural section of coast, valued by walkers and important for wildlife, including some Red List species. Now Liverpool City councillors have agreed to review policies relating to any future extensions. Councillors from all parties expressed concerns over the proposals to extend the runway. At a full council meeting, they also agreed to consider – after investigating the evidence – selling the council’s 10% stake in the airport, as it incompatible its efforts to fight climate change. The airport put forward the plans before the council declared a climate emergency, in 2018. Campaigners fighting to save the Oglet shore are delighted, as the airport masterplan ear marked it to be covered in concrete for new hangers, maintenance services, cargo facilities and warehouses.