Uttlesford District Council has welcomed a reinforcement of the Government’s commitment to
sustainable aviation development, but is resolute in its determination to
defend its recent decision on the expansion of Stansted Airport.The report on the Progress on the Future of Air Transport White Paper
(ATWP) delivered by Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander,
has recognised the impact of aviation on climate change, which was a
significant factor in UDC’s decision last month to turn down BAA’s
application to increase passenger numbers at Stansted airport. As one
result of this recognition, the Government will introduce a new emissions
cost assessment, which would consider whether the aviation sector is
meeting its external climate change costs.
This new emissions cost assessment is welcomed by Uttlesford District
Council, though it remains confident that its decision to refuse BAA’s
application is robust, and is determined to defend it at a public inquiry.
UDC’s decision was based on nine major grounds, all detailed in the
planning officer’s report to the Council*. These reasons all reflect
Douglas Alexander’s concession in today’s ATWP progress report that “While
airports offer a way of meeting people’s aspirations and businesses’ need
to travel, they can also have a negative impact on people who live nearest
to them. Local communities are also affected by the road traffic generated
by airports. Environmental impacts such as air pollution, noise, congestion
and property blight can all arise from the operation and development of
Councillor Mark Gayler, leader of Uttlesford District Council, gave this
response to today’s report: “We refused the application to increase
passenger numbers on the existing runway application because BAA failed to
provide sustainable solutions to a significant number of issues in its
application. The Council will still be in a strong position to defend its
decision at a public inquiry.” He added “We will continue to resist plans
for a second runway, which will do huge damage both to the local and the
Stansted councillor Alan Dean, Chair of the Council’s Airport Advisory
Panel said: “The suggestion of an ‘emissions cost assessment’ is little
more than further government ‘hot air’ that will do nothing at all to cut
the damaging effect of aviation on the world’s environment. The idea that
you can buy your way out of environmental catastrophe is naivety on the
part of ministers.
“It’s akin to saying to your neighbour, ‘If you let me throw soot all over
your new suit, I will pay the woman across the road not to throw soot over
her new dress’.
“The government is becoming ridiculous. The only solution is a cap on the
growth of aviation emissions, which is what Uttlesford has offered by
limiting planes and passengers at Stansted” added Cllr Dean.