London Stansted urges Uttlesford District Council to follow its own advice at meeting to discuss airport’s future plans

Ahead of an Extraordinary General Meeting of Uttlesford District Council this afternoon, London Stansted Airport is urging Councillors to follow the advice they have received from both their Officers and independent legal counsel and issue the airport’s planning permission.

Papers published on the UDC website ahead of the meeting show Councillors are set to vote on a motion to withhold issuing permission for the airport to increase the number of passengers it serves from 35m to 43m per year, despite the Council’s Planning Committee giving the scheme the green light in November 2018, after months of local consultation and detailed consideration.

The papers [https://uttlesford.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=159&MId=5307] summarise advice the Council has received from its own Officers and independent legal advice, which concludes that there is “no impediment to issue consent”. They also set out the potential adverse financial implications to the Council of defending any subsequent appeal.

The Council papers also assess whether there have been actually “any new material considerations and/or changes in circumstances since 14 November 2018 to which weight may now be given in striking the planning balance or which would reasonably justify attaching a different weight to relevant factors previously considered.”

The report concludes that “there have been no new material considerations and/or changes in circumstances since 14 November that would justify reconsideration of the decision taken by the Planning Committee on that date.”

The airport is therefore asking that at tonight’s EGM Councillors consider:

  • How the motion can be supported contrary to clear advice from Council Officers and independent legal experts
  • How the “new circumstances” referenced in the amended Motion differ from those which Officers have already advised present no justification to reaching a different decision to that taken in November by the Planning Committee
  • How any decision to withhold issuing permission could impact on the Council’s ability to deliver its other priorities and investments, given the advice from Officers to reserve the £2 million Strategic Initiative Fund in preparation for a potential legal appeal

London Stansted originally submitted proposals to increase the number of passengers it can serve from 35m to 43m per year in February 2018. The plans do not include any increase in the total number of flights permitted at the airport, and would be delivered within a lower noise envelope than legally required.

The proposals are expected to deliver 5,000 new jobs at the region’s biggest employer, and help drive growth and investment across the East of England.