Azara Blog: The local council throws out Stansted Airport expansion plans

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Date published: 2006/11/29

The BBC says:

Expansion plans for Stansted Airport which could boost the number of passengers have been rejected. Uttlesford District Council turned down BAA's planning application to extend the existing runway.

The airport operator wanted to increase passenger numbers to 35m a year.

Councillors said they were concerned about the impact expansion would have on the local environment. BAA said it would appeal against the decision.

Uttlesford's planning officers' reasons for recommending refusal include the impact it would have on noise, air quality, road and rail networks and local quality of life.

They said economic benefits had not been demonstrated to be strong enough to outweigh other factors.

A second runway at Stansted was contained in the government's 2003 Aviation White Paper, a review of which is due from the Department for Transport before the end of this year.

Is this supposed to be a surprise? A small and rather insignificant district council is only ever going to look after the interests of its own residents (unless some bribery goes on), so of course they are going to refuse to allow Stansted to expand. This is a perfect illustration of the stupidity of the English planning system. The regional and national interests were not considered at all, just the interests of a few people living near Stansted. (And surprise, most of these people are no doubt happy to fly, just as long as they don't have to suffer the consequences.) There now has to be an appeal, with the main winners being the lawyers. Five years ago BAA would probably have won hands down. But most of the ruling elite have recently become hysterical about airplane travel (well, airplane travel by ordinary people, because of course the ruling elite will continue to fly). So who knows what will happen now. The main hope of the anti-Stansted organisations must be that they can drag out the planning inquiry long enough that BAA either gives up in despair or the government officially decides to hammer the aviation industry. And people wonder why England has a dysfunctional transport system.

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