Plans to expand London Stansted Airport have been grounded, for now.
Uttlesford District Council (UDC) has postponed a meeting to determine the future of plans to expand London’s Stansted Airport under pressure from expansion opposition activists.
Stansted Airport owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG), is awaiting a decision on its application to increase the airport’s passenger limit by 8M. Currently Stansted handles 35M passengers a year, MAG hopes to increase that to 43M.
Expansion plans include work to build new aircraft stands and taxiways for additional aircraft.
The meeting was originally due to be held in July, before being pushed back until October 17. A rearranged date has yet to be set.
Expansion opposition group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) successfully requested the latest delay so that technical issues can be discussed.
Highways England also complicated matters with concerns about road traffic implications.
SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: “UDC has been intent on rushing through approval of this application from the very beginning and here we have yet another example of its officers intending to jump the gun with a recommendation to approve the application before the process of considering its implications has been completed.
“To anyone who has followed UDC’s handling of this airport planning application from the outset, it will come as no surprise that officers would be recommending approval.
“It is, however, astonishing that they were preparing to do so even when important issues were - and still are - unresolved.”
A spokesperson from UDC said: “Uttlesford District Council’s Planning Committee was due to determine the planning application - which seeks to raise the current cap on the number of passengers the airport is permitted to serve from 35 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 43mppa - at a special meeting on 17 October.
“However, the date of the committee meeting is being pushed back following a request from Stop Stansted Expansion to be allowed sufficient time to address Planning Committee members at one of the forthcoming additional public speaking sessions.
“As a consequence of accommodating this request, officers expect to need extra time to address any technical issues that may arise from these enhanced consultation arrangements”.
“In addition, the council will offer the applicant the opportunity to address the points raised during this consultation period”.
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