Over two days this week, seventy-eight people spoke to Uttlesford’s Planning Committee. I was one of them. They were giving their views on whether or not Stansted Airport Limited (STAL) should be allowed to lift the existing passenger cap of 35 million per annum (mppa).
Needless to say there were passionate speeches in favour of an uplift to 43 mppa. Employees said they were proud to work at Stansted. There were equally firm views that controls on Stansted should not be lifted, mainly for environmental reasons. A few people said more work is needed before an informed decision can be made. I agree with the last group. This is why:
- The government wants best use of existing runways, but 43 mppa is not best use.
- Best use could be around 55 mppa, so the implications of “true best use” should be assessed.
- The airport has pitched its application below 45 mppa to avoid thorough evaluation by the National Infrastructure Commission. That’s sneaky!
- We need to know what the impact of “true best use” would be on roads and railways in Stansted Mountfitchet. That work hasn’t been done.
- I called it salami-sliced, tactical planning that avoids a long-term, strategic look.
- I flagged up the need to sort out fly-parking by airport passengers.
- I said the Council must not ignore carbon emissions from planes that is causing frightening climate change.
- I urged the Planning Committee either to defer a decision next week whilst more work is done, or to refuse the application as premature and incomplete.
You can read my full representation here.