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Stop Stansted Expansion calls for more delay as crunch airport planning meeting approaches

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) is urging Uttlesford District Council to delay its crunch decision on airport growth.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has already waited 14 months for the council's planning committee to review the terms of the planning permission it granted in November 2018.

Councillors are set to make a final decision on Friday, January 24. UDC's planning experts and legal advisors have recommended they agree mitigation measures and rubber-stamp MAG's application to raise the cap on passenger numbers at Stansted from 35 million a year to 43m.

Stop Stansted Expansion chairman Peter Sanders. (26637141)
Stop Stansted Expansion chairman Peter Sanders. (26637141)

Despite previously championing local planning determination, SSE wants the council to wait for the final outcome of the campaigners' High Court challenge, which is aimed at taking the decision-making power away from Uttlesford, as well as publication of the Government's new aviation policy.

SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: "It is fully appreciated that enormous pressure is being put upon our local council by the airport and various lobbyists to decide the current planning application. We would, however, urge the council not to be swayed by this pressure or by any sweeteners offered by Stansted Airport.

"It is common sense that the planning committee should await the decision of the High Court and also the new Aviation White Paper, both of which are imminently expected."

SSE argues that if approved, MAG's application would allow an extra 15m passengers on the current 28m a year (54% increase) and an additional 75,000 flights a year (38% increase) compared to 2019.

MAG has pledged the growth can be achieved without an increase in the current 274,000 flight limit and with a lower noise footprint, but the protestors fear additional noise, air pollution and carbon emissions and health impacts to reach the overall target.

Mr Sanders concluded: "There is no rush to settle this matter. Stansted has plenty of headroom for growth under its existing planning permission and the fact is that passenger numbers have been in decline for the past six months. This is a time for calm reflection, not a potentially costly, hasty decision."

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