4th November 2020
Urgent: Stansted Airport Planning Application
1. New Consultation.
This is to alert you to an Uttlesford District Council (‘UDC’) consultation on major changes which have recently been made by Manchester Airports Group (‘MAG’) to the Environmental Statement (‘ES’) for the Stansted Airport Planning Application for permission to handle 43 million passengers per annum.
The original ES, comprising some 2,000 pages, was published in February 2018 alongside the Planning Application. It primarily consisted of an assessment of the adverse impacts that would arise from MAG’s expansion proposals, for example, in relation to aircraft noise, air pollution, road traffic, rail services, climate change/carbon emissions, community health and wellbeing etc.
The recently published “Addendum” to the original ES comprises 880 pages of new information, analysis and assessments of these adverse impacts. It can be found on the UDC website at https://www.uttlesford.gov.uk/article/6906/Stansted-Airport-planning-application-Amended-Environmental-Statement.
Comments should be made by 23 November 2020 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You should include the name and address of the person or organisation making the representation.
Plainly, this is a tight timetable but please try to ensure that you submit some form of comment, even if only to advise that you do not have the time or resources to review all the new information in the time available, and/or you may simply want to confirm an earlier objection to the proposals.
The current pandemic has, of course, had a major impact on the demand for air travel. SSE’s latest projection is that Stansted will this year handle only about 8 million passengers, compared to 28 million last year. No-one knows how long it will take for air travel to return to its previous levels or, indeed, if it will ever return to the peak levels seen in recent years.
2. Public Inquiry.
The reason for the arrival of all this new information from MAG is that a Public Inquiry is currently being arranged to (re)consider the Airport Planning Application. This is despite a general sense of disbelief that MAG is continuing to pursue its expansion plans for Stansted.
The Inquiry is due to start just over two months from now, on 12 January 2021, and the proposed venue is the Raddison Blu Hotel at Stansted Airport, although it is likely that much of the Inquiry will be dealt with by video-link. The Inquiry is expected to last for 10-12 weeks.
Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will be involved throughout the Inquiry, presenting evidence on all the main topics and, with the help of our QCs, cross-examining MAG’s witnesses. The SSE team, supported by external consultants, is currently hard at work preparing its evidence.
SSE is keen for there to be as many representations as possible from Parish & Town Councils, other organisations and members of the public. Such representations need not be lengthy, technical nor complicated. They may simply be along the same lines as any comments you have previously submitted to UDC about this application, expressing a genuinely felt view on behalf of your community, your organisation, your family or yourself.
If your preference is to make your points to the Public Inquiry via video link rather than appearing/ speaking in person at the Inquiry, we understand that the Planning Inspectorate (“PINS”) who are responsible for setting the rules for the Inquiry, will be happy to accommodate this.
Our expectation is that PINS will set a word limit of about 1,000 words and a time limit of about 10 minutes. However, these are only SSE ‘guestimates’. PINS have yet to advise.
Please make every effort to ensure that your voice, and the voice of the community, is heard.