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26 May, 2021 - 20:10 By Tony Quested

Planning inspectors back Stansted’s expansion to 43m passengers a year

Stansted Airport has been cleared for take-off with plans to expand capacity to 43 million passengers a year following a thumbs-up from the Planning Inspectorate.

Stansted winning the legal battle means a huge financial backlash for Uttlesford District Council taxpayers running into several hundreds of thousands.

Stansted’s managing director, Steve Griffiths, said: “The Planning Inspectorate’s decision provides clear assurance to local communities that Stansted’s growth can be delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. This decision allows us, the community and our airline partners to plan ahead with certainty.  

“We always believed that UDC failed to provide any credible or substantiated reasons to justify refusing the application, while ignoring the clear advice it received from its own officers and expert legal advisers.

“This belief is borne out with the Inspectors’ conclusion that planning permission should have been granted by the council and the appeal should not have been necessary.”

The planning inspectors report said the scheme receives very strong support from national aviation policy. Furthermore, the development would deliver significant additional employment and economic benefits, as well as some improvement in overall noise and health conditions.

“The council has recently withdrawn its emerging Local Plan such that it has no prospect of becoming part of the development plan and attracts no weight in the determination of this appeal. There are a number of made Neighbourhood Plans in the local area but none contain policies that have a bearing on the outcome of the appeal.

“Overall, the balance falls overwhelmingly in favour of the grant of planning permission. Whilst there would be a limited degree of harm arising in respect of air quality and carbon emissions, these matters are far outweighed by the benefits of the proposal and do not come close to indicating a decision other than in accordance with the development plan. No other material considerations have been identified that would materially alter this balance.”

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