Further to our previous news items about Stansted airport’s expansion plans, the airport has now submitted a further 900 page document.
Uttlesford District Council has given us until the end of August to respond to this document. We have today submitted a response to this, detailed text reprinted below, asking for more time, and calling for Uttlesford to appoint its own experts to analyse the data.
It is not too late for you to read the documents and submit your own comments using UDC’s plannning website.
Re: PLANNING APPLICATION UTT/18/0460/FUL – STANSTED AIRPORT EXPANSION
Felsted Parish Council are writing in response to the latest submission by Stansted Airport regarding planning application ref UTT/18/0460/FUL.
We are surprised and dismayed at the end of August deadline set to review and comment on this new 900 page document.
Having gone through the first stage of the application, where a 6 week timescale was set and then extended hours before the deadline, we would have expected officers to realise that setting a 4 week period to review a further 900 page document would be insufficient.
August is a peak holiday period, and harvest time in this rural area. Availability of Councillors throughout August is thus severely limited. We have also had the Uttlesford Local Plan regulation 19 documents to review. We will not therefore be able to give the Stansted application documents the time they need for due consideration before the deadline.
We also call on UDC to appoint its own experts to analyse the noise pollution impact data for this planning application.
The admission that the statement regarding ‘quiet aircraft’ replacing over 80% of the current fleet was wrong, and should actually be 50%, leads to the important question as to what other assumptions are wrong and what the implications might be on the subsequent noise and pollution analysis. The conflict of interest, real or perceived, in allowing experts paid, and regularly retained, by the airport to effectively offer expert opinion to UDC is clear and must be removed from the process. UDC must appoint its own independent experts to review the data and the, frankly ludicrous, conclusion that, in the words of the airport, there will be “no significant adverse environmental effects” from an increase to 43 million passengers.
An independent review also needs to be held into the airports attempts to subvert and drown out any genuine public debate. In providing a one click email link to all employees, whereby they could send an automatically generated response in support of the application, the airport has clearly attempted to unduly influence the planning consultation process.
The fact that fewer than 5% of employees actually clicked on the link demonstrates a lack of support for expansion from within the airport. Despite this, the airport has issued press releases claiming that this 5% employee support amounts to overwhelming public approval for their expansion plans. This is wrong and sinister in its attempts to manipulate public perception and force UDC’s decision making.
UDC must stand up for the communities it represents and recognise the cynical approach being made by the airport and Manchester Airport Group in their approach to this expansion and their total lack of genuine interest in the impact the airport has on local communities.
This is illustrated perfectly by the airport’s lack of any engagement with local communities impacted by the flightpath changes made in 2016, which doubled the flights on Clacton routes. They have not made a single suggestion or proposal for noise mitigation for the communities suffering from increased noise levels. They should not be allowed to further expand with such issues still unresolved.
Please therefore confirm that UDC will be appointing independent experts to assess the raw noise data and the resulting assumptions and conclusions made in the application, and that UDC will undertake a review of the attempt by the airport to manipulate the public consultation process.
When this is complete a more reasonable timescale needs to be set for public consultation of the full application and associated independent analysis.
Clerk to Felsted Parish Council