Council leader supports decision to refuse airport expansion

PUBLISHED: 08:42 03 February 2020 | UPDATED: 08:42 03 February 2020

John Lodge, R4U Councillor and Uttlesford District Council Leader. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.

John Lodge, R4U Councillor and Uttlesford District Council Leader. Photo: CONTRIBUTED.


R4U’s Councillor John Lodge, leader at the Uttlesford District Council (UDC), has released a statement in which he shows his support of the decision to refuse Stansted Airport’s expansion.

The decision, which was taken during a UDC planning committee meeting, following an overwhelming vote of ten against and two absentions, was made on Friday, January 24.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), who own and operate Stansted Airport, submitted a planning application to UDC to expand the airport capacity from 35 to 43 million passengers a year.

In a statement after the rejection decision, Cllr John Lodge said: "The UDC administration resolutely supports its planning committee decision to refuse the expansion of Stansted Airport. It found material and sound planning reasons why the application should not be approved. Expanding Stansted up to the size of Gatwick is unnecessary as it can continue to be a major employer and contributor to the regional economy without this expansion.

"Crucially, any expansion is incompatible with the council's own climate and environmental emergency, and at odds with the government's carbon net-zero 2050 target. The airport is a for-profit business and it needs to play its part. It is likely that the airport's owners will appeal this decision, leading to the first test case that pits the demands of the private transport sector against the moral imperative on us all to halt climate change. If that happens, we would hope that environmental groups would join the defence of any appeal."

During the planning committee meeting, Ken O'Toole, Chief Executive at Stansted Airport said that the eight-million passenger increase would create "no significant impacts", while his planning director, John Twigg, argued aviation accounts for "two per cent of global and six per cent of UK carbon dioxide emissions" and compared it with a '"greater contribution" to emissions from the fashion industry.

A spokesperson for R4U said: "The proposal would more than double passenger numbers from the 18 million a year that used the airport when MAG took it over in 2013. By comparison, 78 million passengers use Heathrow and 46 million Gatwick, both of which currently have two runways."

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