Cllr Alan Dean

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stansted North on Uttlesford District Council and former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group Learn more

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The beginning of the end…..of populism 5: Lies from R4U about the airport appeal they undermined

by Alan Dean on 27 April, 2021

The following cross-opposition party press statement was issued this morning in response to populism turned to lies from Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) about their role in the recently ended appeal hearings into Uttlesford DC’s refusal of planning permission for growth of passengers, planes and pollution at Stansted Airport. The R4U fairy story can be read here.



Uttlesford’s Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat councillors have welcomed the government’s announcement last week to include aviation emissions in the UK’s climate change carbon emissions reduction targets. They say that Uttlesford’s planning committee has been vindicated in its January 2020 refusal of expansion plans at Stansted Airport on environmental grounds that included aviation emissions.

They want the change of heart by central government not to be ignored by the appeal inspectors in deciding the outcome of the appeal.

The opposition parties have accused the Residents for Uttlesford councillors of hypocrisy and of ‘missing their flight’ to the recently closed appeal hearings against the planning committee’s refusal decision.

In a joint statement, the three opposition parties have attacked the R4U-led council for failing to back its own planning committee’s refusal of more passengers and planes and of neglecting to date uncontrolled carbon emissions and climate changing causes of extra flights at Stansted.

R4U’s assertion that the Uttlesford legal team “vigorously defended the planning refusal of Stansted Airport expansion” at the recent appeal is false. R4U is dishonest as well as incompetent.

The Conservatives, Greens and Liberal Democrats have accused R4U’s Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr John Evans, and his ruling group of being “spineless” by supporting STAL’s planning appeal for expansion approval at the 3-month long appeal hearings that ended in March. They claim Cllr Evans and his cabinet colleagues have betrayed the people of Uttlesford, East Hertfordshire, the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign group, as well as the Uttlesford planning committee, which voted unanimously to refuse the application in 2020. Everyone has a natural right to expect a strong defence of a democratic decision at any appeal.

The combined opposition parties have called on Cllr Evans and his cabinet colleagues to fall on their swords by resigning in shame. They have accused the 12-member cabinet of:

  1. Trampling on democracy by going against the planning committee’s decision to refuse;
  2. Preventing planning committee members from putting their case for refusal at the appeal hearings;
  3. Failing to answer 16 questions put to the cabinet in January about the council’s cosy behaviour towards the airport over the appeal;
  4. Cancelling or putting off several council meetings to avoid scrutiny by councillors and the public;
  5. Being blatantly dishonest and hypocritical this week by belatedly backing action against climate change and aviation, only after the government showed the first signs last week of including aviation emissions in the UK’s carbon reduction targets. R4U are falsely seeking to pretend they were the instigators of controls over aviation emissions. In reality, they turned a blind eye.

The opposition Conservative, Green and Liberal Democrat groups accuse undemocratic, dishonest and reckless in the way Uttlesford District Council has spent vast sums of taxpayers’ money being the airport’s lapdog. They have called for R4U to make way for councillors with backbone and vision for the future of the district, the region, and the planet.

The three parties have urged UDC belatedly to take the lead on climate change and aviation instead of running to catch up with much local public opinion and of ‘missing the flight’ from climate change.



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