Communities Secretary James Brokenshire backs Uttlesford's right to determine growth at Stansted Airport
The government has backed Uttlesford District Council’s right to determine future growth for 35m to 43m passengers a year at Stansted Airport.
Campaigners from Stop Stansted Expansion and local Liberal Democrats had argued that the development should have been decided at a national rather than local level and the protesters have vowed to continue their legal battle.
After permission was granted by the council in November last year, the verdict was subject to a review by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
In a letter published on Wednesday, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire confirmed that Uttlesford District Council was the right authority to approve the airport’s planning application, lodged in February 2018.
Chief executive Ken O’Toole, said: “From the outset our local community has been a vital partner in this planning process and their feedback has shaped our proposals which do not seek an increase in the permitted number of flights and commit us to achieving a smaller noise footprint in the future than our existing permissions require.”
“Our application is in line with the Government’s aviation policy which supports airports seeking to make best use of existing runway capacity, and our proposals have been endorsed by a wide range of independent public bodies as part of a thorough local decision-making process.
“We have always believed that the application should be determined locally, and this view has been supported by the Secretary of State for Transport [Chris Grayling] and now also the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.”
He said the application would make best use of the airport’s existing single runway, which currently handles over 28m passengers a year, and create 5,000 new on-site jobs.
Mr O’Toole added Stansted's expansion would also ease pressure on the London airport system by unlocking additional capacity at a time when other airports are full.
SSE deputy chairman Brian Ross said: “The planning consent still faces a legal challenge from SSE against the Transport Secretary in the High Court, which began last September. That case has been on hold for the past four months pending the decision of the Communities Secretary. Now that he has announced his decision, SSE is taking legal advice as to whether to widen the basis of its current legal challenge. We intend to update the High Court by the end of next week.”