London Stansted will appeal a decision made by the Uttlesford district council planning committee to refuse an application to increase the current cap on passenger numbers from 35 to 43 million a year.
The airport said the proposals could be delivered without any increase in the number of flights that are currently allowed, and include a legally binding commitment to reduce the airport’s noise ‘footprint’.
There is also a commitment to provide an enhanced sound insulation scheme for residential properties close to the airport.
Council officials, however, argued Stansted had failed to demonstrate that any additional flights would not result in an increased detrimental effect from aircraft noise, contrary to local plan policy.
The application was rejected by the planning committee in January despite having been conditionally approved by them in November 2018.
Later this month London Stansted will formally submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, an executive agency of the ministry of housing, communities and local government.
The inspectorate will then oversee a public inquiry before making its recommendation to government.
Ken O’Toole, London Stansted chief executive, said: “We’ve been listening to local communities over the last few years and we used their feedback to shape our proposals to make best use of Stansted’s existing capacity.
“As a result, the application we put forward would mean no increase in the number of flights that can operate from Stansted each year, and we committed to provide a comprehensive package of measures to benefit local people.
“From our discussions with local communities, it is clear that the majority of local people support our proposals, and they welcome the airport’s commitment to maintaining the existing cap on the number of flights and to reducing the airport’s overall noise footprint.
“Since January, we have carefully considered the comments made by the planning committee, the strong case we made about environmental effects, alongside our assessment of the significant benefits that the future success of Stansted will deliver to the region.
“In our view, the council failed to provide any credible or substantiated reasons to justify its decision to refuse the application.
For this reason, we have decided to appeal the council’s decision.”
Council officials also argued Stansted failed to demonstrate that the additional flights would not result in a detrimental effect on air quality, specifically but not exclusively PM2.5 and ultrafine particulates.
There were also concerns the airport failed to provide the necessary infrastructure to support the application, or the necessary mitigation to address the detrimental impact of the proposal.