Stansted Airport boss "overwhelmed" by support for planning application

PUBLISHED: 11:20 05 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:11 05 November 2018

Ken O'Toole says they are overwhelmed by support for the airport's expansion plans. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Ken O'Toole says they are overwhelmed by support for the airport's expansion plans. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Saffron Photo 2018

Ken O'Toole, CEO of Stansted Airport, says they have been "overwhelmed by support" for their plans to increase passenger numbers.

The airport has today released a video showcasing why these supporters are ‘backing Stansted’. The ‘We’re Backing Stansted’ film includes comments from Stansted Airport College, AstraZeneca, Invest Essex, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, local businesses and airport staff.

Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) planning committee is due to make a decision on the application, which seeks to raise the number of passengers it is permitted to handle each year from 35 million to 43 million, on November 14.

Stansted Airport says hundreds of supporters have “welcomed the airport’s commitment” to delivering the additional eight million passengers, creating 5,000 new jobs and generating an additional £1 billion economic value add for the region.

Mr O’Toole said: “The huge volume of submissions that Uttlesford District Council has received for our application reaffirms our belief that the phased and managed development of the airport is the right approach to take, and gives the local community confidence that future growth can be delivered in a measured and sustainable way.

“London Stansted is not only the fastest growing airport in the UK, it’s also virtually unrecognisable from the one which MAG acquired in 2013. During this time, we have spent £150m on upgrading the terminal, added nearly 10 million passengers and 40 new routes and brought a whole new ambition to the airport.

“But this is only the beginning of what we can achieve. We are investing £600 million to transform the airport facilities for passengers and our airline partners and, following the successful arrival of world-leading airline Emirates this summer, our work to attract more long-haul routes to fast growing markets like China, India and the USA continues to gather pace.

“The airport has real momentum and a fantastic opportunity to play a vital role in providing greater connectivity to trade globally, create 5,000 new jobs, drive regional economic growth, attract overseas investment and encourage more tourists to our shores.

“We now need to make best use of Stansted’s available airport capacity through continued strong and sustainable growth and deliver the next phase of the airport’s evolution. I would urge those who back their local airport and share our vision of the future to pledge their support and join the hundreds who have already made their views known.”

But Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE), a campaign group aiming to stop the expansion of the airport, recently said a report by UDC officers recommending approval of an airport planning application was “superficial, inadequate and inaccurate”.

“The officers’ report is little more than a rehash of MAG’s planning statement with no attempt made to challenge the many unsubstantiated and misleading claims made in the planning application,” a spokesman for SSE said. “If ever proof were needed that the current airport planning application should be subjected to expert scrutiny at national level, rather than dealt with locally, this superficial, inadequate and inaccurate report by UDC planning officers provides all the proof that could ever be asked for.”

In August, SSE lawyers filed an application for judicial review with the High Court to challenge a decision by transport secretary Chris Grayling to allow the Stansted planning application to be determined by UDC.

A spokesman for UDC said: “Everybody interested in the proposals should read the report to understand how the environmental and economic impacts have been assessed. There has been extensive consultation with statutory bodies like the Environment Agency and Natural England including in-depth dialogue where necessary. The Government’s attention has been drawn to the publication of the report as requested by civil servants, but government policy is clear.”

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