Noise is not unacceptable

PUBLISHED: 15:54 21 June 2007 | UPDATED: 21:43 29 May 2010

BRITISH Airports Authority has continued to give evidence this week at the public inquiry into Uttlesford District Council s rejection of British Airport Authority s planning application. The application was to raise the number of people who use Stansted

BRITISH Airports Authority has continued to give evidence this week at the public inquiry into Uttlesford District Council's rejection of British Airport Authority's planning application.

The application was to raise the number of people who use Stansted Airport from 25 million people per annum up to 35mppa.

Presenting the case for BAA is John Rhodes, senior director of the RPS Group. Talking of the needs and benefits of the lifting of the passenger limits, he stated: "It is not the function of this inquiry to re-examine the need for increased aviation or to question the Government's clear policy position that increases in aviation capacity bring significant benefits."

He continued: "The expansion of Stansted would contribute strongly to the economy of the region, which is identified as a growth area in national policy. It is estimated that the proposals would generate an additional 3,800 employees."

Relating to objection to the application on grounds of noise, he said: "Neither reason for refusal asserts that the noise impact from the development is unacceptable.

Instead, impacts are said to be uncertain or inadequately mitigated. It is the role of the planning authority to fully assess the effects of development and to consider whether those effects can be made acceptable.

"The air noise effects of expanding Stansted Airport were fully considered through SERAS and are identified in the Air Transport White Paper. In fact, the figures now calculated for 35 mppa at 2015 are less than the impact which the Government found acceptable in the ATWP."

Of arguments that people's quality of life would be affected, he said: "The absence of a Quality of Life Assessment is not a valid planning objection and the BAA Environmental Statement sets out a full assessment of the effects of the proposals.

"It is not open to the district council to use the Quality of Life heading to lower the thresholds which planning policy sets for the acceptability of development."

Addressing concerns about the contribution an expansion of the airport would have on climate change, he said: "I am aware that climate change is a major cause of concern. For its part, I am aware that BAA has long recognised that aviation has a responsibility to address its climate change impacts and that aviation is one of the fastest growing contributors to climate change."

The inquiry is expected to run until October.

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