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More than 1,000 support SSE petition for Stansted Airport expansion review

Brian Ross. SSE. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (12509516)
Brian Ross. SSE. ..Pic: Vikki Lince. (12509516)

A petition signed by more than 1,000 residents is calling for Uttlesford District Council to reconsider its planning permission for expansion at Stansted Airport.

The authority sanctioned growth from a maximum of 35 million passengers a year to 43m last November but has yet to rubberstamp the permission. Opponents argue that conditions agreed by the council and airport, which currently handles over 28m passengers a year, are inadequate and must be reviewed.

Launched on Tuesday June 11, more than 1,000 people signed in the first five days – more than 20 times the minimum required to be validated and more than four times as many as any previous petition to UDC.

SSE, which organised the petition, has identified a number of issues which it claims are still outstanding and argues that the planning committee has a legal duty to consider any new material factors and/or changes in circumstances that have arisen in the seven months since November.

SSE deputy chairman Brian Ross said: "There is an overwhelming case for the UDC planning committee to have another look at this. It's not only their legal entitlement but also their legal duty to do so.

"It is imperative that UDC officers do not issue final approval to Stansted Airport before allowing the planning committee an opportunity to take stock of the situation."

The petition is due to be presented by SSE to an extraordinary meeting of the full council on Friday June 28 at 4pm to discuss next steps with regard to the Stansted Airport planning application. The meeting is open to the public.

Residents for Uttlesford's Cllr John Lodge, leader of Uttlesford District Council, said: “The airport expansion is an important, emotive and complex topic that involves the law, the environment, local communities and jobs. When I saw that the SSE petition had reached over 1,000 signatures, one of my first actions on Monday morning was to instruct council officers to make sure that it was formally accepted and the public debate quickly scheduled. The old district council administration didn’t listen to residents and had forgotten who they worked for. Our new residents administration is determined to change the culture at UDC. Making sure that this debate happens is a tangible example that things are starting to change. Residents want to be heard and petitions like this are a good indication that democracy is alive in Uttlesford.”

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