More questions raised about Stansted expansion

8 October 2018, 09:20 | Updated: 8 October 2018, 09:27

Stop Stansted Expansion poster

More questions have been raised about the potential growth of Stansted Airport.

For a second time, Uttlesford District Council have pushed back a planning meeting to discuss the application.

Submitted by MAG in February, the plans seek permission for a 66% increase in Stansted passengers and a 44% increase in flights compared to last year. 

The campaign group 'Stop Stansted Expansion' have described the postponement of the planning meeting as "another embarrassing blunder", and want central government to get involved.

SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: "UDC has been intent on rushing through approval of this application from the very beginning and here we have yet another example of its officers intending to jump the gun with a recommendation to approve the application before the process of considering its implications has been completed.

"To anyone who has followed UDC’s handling of this airport planning application from the outset, it will come as no surprise that officers would be recommending approval.  It is, however, astonishing that they were preparing to do so even when important issues were - and still are - unresolved

"It must surely now be clear to everyone," concluded Mr Sanders, "that Uttlesford District Council is over-stretched and under-resourced to deal with a planning application of this scale and complexity.  It should be taken out of UDC’s hands and dealt with by the Secretary of State." 

Highways England says the road infrastructure isn't there to cope with the expansion plans at the moment.

Uttlesford District Council said: "Uttlesford District Council’s Planning Committee was due to determine the planning application - which seeks to raise the current cap on the number of passengers the airport is permitted to serve from 35 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 43mppa - at a special meeting on 17 October.

"However, the date of the committee meeting is being pushed back following a request from Stop Stansted Expansion to be allowed sufficient time to address Planning Committee members at one of the forthcoming additional public speaking sessions.

"As a consequence of accommodating this request, officers expect to need extra time to address any technical issues that may arise from these enhanced consultation arrangements.

"In addition, the council will offer the applicant the opportunity to address the points raised during this consultation period.

"The council is therefore trying to identify an alternative date for the special Planning Committee meeting. A further announcement will be made in due course."