Secretary of State 'cannot call in' Stansted Airport expansion

People stand far apart, social distancing for Covid-19. All of them have bags, about to board a plane

Social distancing in Stansted Airport. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

The Secretary of State responsible for planning cannot intervene in a Stansted Airport expansion scheme, a government spokesperson has said.

Permission to build a total nine new aircraft stands and two taxiway links was granted by the Planning Inspectorate on Wednesday, May 26.

Last week's ruling overturned a previous decision by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to block the plans.

After the ruling, UDC leader Cllr John Lodge told the press he wanted senior UK politicians to call the application in, something which the government today (Friday, June 4) confirmed it cannot do.

A government spokesperson said: "We understand that the appointed Inspectors have now allowed an appeal and granted planning permission for works at Stansted airport.

"As such the Secretary of State has no jurisdiction in the matter, and would not be able to call in the case."

The Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government is Robert Jenrick MP.

Cllr Lodge said he still wants the government to intervene in the Inspectorate's decision.

He said today: "I am writing to the secretaries of state for Communities and for Transport to explore further options."

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A full statement from UDC is expected next week.

A sign on chrome metal: Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Stansted Airport can currently cope with a maximum 35 million passengers each year.

The expansion will allow the airport accommodate 43 million passengers per annum.

Opponents of the expansion have raised concerns over noise pollution and carbon emissions.

New legislation this month will see emissions from international flights included in the UK's new carbon budget with a view to reaching net-zero emissions nationwide by 2050.

The change in legislation, announced in April, was noted by the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate also told UDC it must pick up Stansted Airport's bill after the council lost the appeal.

Last week, Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch said: "My worst fears of potentially millions of pounds of Uttlesford’s taxpayers money being wasted on a fruitless appeal have come to pass."

She added: "Rules around planning and airport expansion are set so they can be applied all over the country.

"Neighbouring MPs and those across the East of England were very supportive of the proposed increase in passenger numbers."

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