Legal bid lodged after Government rejects 'call in' of Stansted Airport planning application

PUBLISHED: 12:13 21 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:01 28 March 2019

Stansted Airport. Picture: MARK DAVISON

Stansted Airport. Picture: MARK DAVISON

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Campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) will commence legal proceedings to challenge the Government’s decision not to ‘call in’ a planning application to increase passenger numbers at Stansted Airport, which was approved by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) last year.

In February 2018, Stansted Airport owners, Manchester Airports Group, submitted a planning application to UDC that sought permission for the airport to increase the number of passengers it serves from 35 to 43 million per year. The district council subsequently resolved to grant this planning permission in November 2018.

This decision was then subject to a review by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

In a letter published yesterday, James Brokenshire MP confirmed that UDC are the right body to approve the airport’s planning application.

The letter said: “The reason for this decision is that, having regard to the policy on call in, the application does not involve issues of more than local importance justifying the secretary of state’s intervention.”

Stansted Airport has welcomed the decision.

Chief executive, Ken O’Toole, said: “We welcome the Government’s decision to enable our application to be determined locally by UDC, following the council’s decision to grant permission in November 2018.

“From the outset our local community has been a vital partner in this planning process, and their feedback has shaped our proposals which do not seek an increase in the permitted number of flights, and commit us to achieving a smaller noise footprint in the future than our existing permissions require.”

Brian Ross from campaign group Stop Stansted Expansion said: “The planning consent still faces a legal challenge from Stop Stansted Expansion versus the transport secretary in the High Court, which began last September.

“That case has been on hold for the past four months pending the decision by the communities secretary. In light of yesterday’s decision by the communities secretary, Stop Stansted Expansion is currently taking legal advice on whether to widen the basis of its current legal challenge. We intend to update the High Court by the end of next week.”

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