Campaigners hit out at report into airport's passenger cap application

PUBLISHED: 07:58 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 07:58 01 November 2018

Stansted Airport. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Stansted Airport. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Saffron Photo 2018

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), a campaign group aiming to stop the expansion of Stansted Airport, says a report by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) officers recommending approval of an airport planning application is "superficial, inadequate and inaccurate".

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), owner of Stansted Airport, has applied for planning permission to increase its cap on passenger numbers per year from 35 million to 43 million and planning officers at UDC published their report on October 22 recommending conditional approval subject to Section 106 planning obligations.

SSE said the officers’ report “will not surprise anyone who has followed UDC’s handling of this airport planning application from the beginning”.

“The officers’ report is little more than a rehash of MAG’s planning statement with no attempt made to challenge the many unsubstantiated and misleading claims made in the planning application,” a spokesman for SSE said.

“UDC planning officers haven’t even bothered to check the many wholly implausible assumptions made by MAG which allow it to claim that there would be no significant adverse impacts if the application is approved.

“If ever proof were needed that the current airport planning application should be subjected to expert scrutiny at national level, rather than dealt with locally, this superficial, inadequate and inaccurate report by UDC planning officers provides all the proof that could ever be asked for.”

The chairman of SSE, Peter Sanders, said the public should trust the planning committee to act in the interests of local residents.

“Fortunately, the final decision will be made not by UDC officers, but by our elected local councillors on the UDC planning committee,” Mr Sanders said. “We must now put our faith in our elected representatives to do the right thing for the present generation of Uttlesford residents and for generations to follow.”

A spokesman for UDC said: “Everybody interested in the proposals should read the report to understand how the environmental and economic impacts have been assessed. There has been extensive consultation with statutory bodies like the Environment Agency and Natural England including in-depth dialogue where necessary. The Government’s attention has been drawn to the publication of the report as requested by civil servants, but government policy is clear.”

UDC pointed out that Stansted Airport is seeking to increase its passenger numbers by eight million and the Government has said that planning applications to increase existing passenger caps by fewer than 10 million passengers per year can be put through local planning authorities.

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