Political group calls on Chris Grayling to step in over Stansted Airport infrastructure
PUBLISHED: 09:20 09 July 2018 | UPDATED: 09:20 09 July 2018
The Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling, has been asked to compel Stansted Airport and housing developers to pay for new infrastructure in Uttlesford.
Political party Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has written to Mr Grayling requesting that the Department for Transport (DfT) intervene in both the proposals for the expansion of Stansted Airport and the Uttlesford local plan.
They want to ensure the airport and the developers pay for impact on the district.
Stansted Airport is seeking to expand airport capacity to more than 43 million passengers a year.
Two weeks ago, the airport’s planning application to expand was delayed so that it could present more evidence.
R4U chairman, Councillor John Lodge said: “When he approved the Heathrow third runway expansion last week, transport secretary Chris Grayling said that all of the transport infrastructure necessary will be paid for by the airport and not from the public purse.
“R4U has written to him to ask that the same happens with any expansion at Stansted.
“While Stansted Airport has delayed its expansion planning application for a few months, the owner’s intent is clear.
“An increase in passenger numbers would create chaos on our roads and railways without proper investment.
“It will be made worse by a local plan that builds 10,000 houses within three miles of the airport and a further 15,000 elsewhere in Uttlesford.
“The impact of Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) decisions will be 50,000 additional vehicles onto our roads and onto the M11, which is already at capacity.
“And all that UDC is proposing is little more than some white lines and tarmac at junction eight. That is patently nonsense.
“The latest draft of the local plan that was pushed through in a hurry two weeks ago was full of holes. “Critically it was missing the required infrastructure delivery plan and any analysis of an airport expansion.
“The inspector will require a proper and costed infrastructure investment plan, particularly given the proximity of the proposed Easton Park new town and the airport.
“R4U asked that the local plan process be paused to fix these and other issues, rather than risk another costly rejection.
“But instead, the UDC leadership forced it through in coalition with the Lib Dems. And it seems that existing councillors in Dunmow, Takeley and Stansted were asleep at the wheel as they voted along with it, instead of putting their residents first.
“So since the council won’t do it, we have now written to Chris Grayling to ask that the DfT intervene or force UDC to do their job properly for both the local plan and airport expansion proposals.”
A spokesman for UDC said: “The council continues to work with statutory bodies, including Highways England, on appraising the additional information that has been supplied to them as part of the thorough appraisal of the proposals.
“There will be further consultation when this material has been formally submitted to the council.
“The council’s proposals for the Uttlesford local plan are supported by evidence that considers the effect of the new homes and jobs needed on transport networks.
“This includes the cumulative impact with the airport operating at 35 million passengers a year.”
The spokesman added that the additional enhancements needed for the airport to handle 43 million passengers were being assessed.
This process took into, account the current airport planning application, and factored in the trips from the homes and jobs proposed in the local plan.
He said: “The council is continuing to strengthen the evidence of impacts, their scale and what mitigation would be adequate by the time the local plan is submitted for examination. “This will be captured in an infrastructure plan indicating how the mitigation would be funded.
“We are taking advice from civil servants, the planning inspectorate and specialist legal advisors.”
A London Stansted Airport spokesman said: “When submitting our planning application, we made clear our commitment to provide the appropriate extra funding to support local road and public transport improvements associated with our planned growth.
“We want to build on our proud record as the UK’s number one major airport for public transport use by passengers.”