Council fights airport appeal

UTTLESFORD District Council will launch a robust defence to BAA s appeal against their rejection of a planning application to expand Stansted Airport. On Wednesday the airport s owners BAA officially launched an appeal against the council s decision, wh

UTTLESFORD District Council will launch "a robust defence" to BAA's appeal against their rejection of a planning application to expand Stansted Airport.

On Wednesday the airport's owners BAA officially launched an appeal against the council's decision, which will be heard at a public inquiry in the new year.

BAA said it disagreed with "each and every one of the council's reasons" for refusing plans to increase the number of flights on the existing runway.

Last week the council voted unanimously against BAA's proposals to raise the limit on the airport's passenger numbers, which currently stands at 25 million, to approximately 35 million travellers a year by 2014.

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Council officers said the negative impact of the expansion on the local environment outweighed any economic benefits. They gave nine reasons for their judgement, including climate change, noise and air pollution, and local quality of life.

Terry Morgan, managing director of BAA Stansted, said: "Our application was fully in line with the terms of local and regional structure plans. We don't feel the council has given any substantial reason to justify refusing our application because it is not in accordance with those plans."

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He added the council's decision "contradicts government policy", to support "growth at Stansted".

The council said it was disappointed at BAA's plan to appeal, but is confident its decision will be upheld.

Cllr Mark Gayler said: "It has been vital for us to examine the application carefully and with the utmost vigour.

"The work has been done over the last six months in conducting an open and transparent process with maximum involvement of all interested parties in order to examine the evidence has therefore been of vast importance.

"This brought us to a position where we were able to make a decision that will stand up to close scrutiny. We are therefore confident that we can defend our decision rigorously."

Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion asked BAA to respect Uttlesford's judgment rather than start 'a costly public inquiry'.

SSE chairman Peter Sanders said: "BAA should accept the decision of our democratically elected council to avoid a further period of uncertainty for people. In doing so, BAA would be showing respect for the environment - locally and globally.

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