Airport planning inquiry opens

PUBLISHED: 11:55 31 May 2007 | UPDATED: 21:42 29 May 2010

Stansted Airport

Stansted Airport

THE public inquiry into BAA s expansion plans for Stansted Airport began yesterday (Wednesday), marking the beginning of a process expected to last four months. Airport operator BAA lodged a planning application with Uttlesford District Council to increas

THE public inquiry into BAA's expansion plans for Stansted Airport began yesterday (Wednesday), marking the beginning of a process expected to last four months.

Airport operator BAA lodged a planning application with Uttlesford District Council to increase activity at Stansted Airport last year, but it was refused by the council's development control committee in November.

BAA decided to appeal against the decision and is pushing to have the current cap on passengers - 25 million per year - and the current limit on the amount of aircraft movements permitted in a year lifted through the appeal.

Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), probably BAA's biggest opponent, is involved in the appeal and intends to put forward a comprehensive case against the airport.

Carol Barbone, campaign director, said: "SSE will be presenting evidence to the inquiry to demonstrate that BAA has systematically understated the local environmental impacts of its application in almost all the key areas such as additional aircraft noise, impacts upon local air quality, landscape and visual impacts, light pollution, road traffic and community health.

"Expansion to full use of the existing runway would make Stansted the UK's second biggest airport but BAA is trying to pretend that this would make no real difference to our daily lives."

Uttlesford District Council will also be submitting a case to the appeal, citing the reasons that it refused the application last year.

These include the increase in noise from aircraft, the damage caused to local communities, the inevitable increase in emissions and the damage to the ancient woodland at Hatfield Forest.

The National Trust, Friends of the Earth, the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Ramblers' Association are also opposing the plans, but the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Essex Chamber of Commerce and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry support them.

The inquiry is currently taking place in Endeavour House at Stansted Airport - members of the public are welcome to attend.

The final decision will be made by central Government next year.

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