R4U backs UDC call for additional appeal hearing for Stansted Airport expansion due to new UK carbon reduction law

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) believes that an increase in passenger numbers at Stansted Airport to the size of Gatwick is incompatible with the UK’s new Sixth Carbon Budget law, which caps emissions to 78% below 1990 levels. In light of the new law, the local residents’ party, which leads Uttlesford District Council, says it backs the actions of the Council’s legal team which last week wrote to the Planning Inspectors to urge that they schedule a further hearing to consider this new evidence as part of the ongoing planning appeal.

John Evans (R4U)John Evans (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr John Evans, who is the UDC Portfolio Holder for Planning, said “UDC has been vigorously defending its planning refusal of Stansted Airport expansion at the ongoing appeal. In the last few days UDC’s legal team wrote to the Planning Inspectors to urge that they convene an additional hearing to consider the implications of the UK’s new carbon reduction target, which has now been extended to cover aviation. The material new target, which will become law in June, reduces legally allowable levels of emissions to 78% of what they were in 1990.”

Cllr John Evans continued “More passengers mean more planes, which means more pollution. In 1990, passenger numbers at Stansted were 1.2 million a year. The airport wants to expand to more than 42 million a year. Even though some planes are less polluting than in the past, a thirty-five-fold increase over the 1990 level is incompatible with the new law.”

Louise Pepper (R4U) Louise Pepper (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Louise Pepper, who is the UDC Portfolio Holder for the Environment, added “Importantly the new law closes a massive loophole, which allowed emissions from the actual aeroplanes to be excluded. The airport’s owners exploited this loophole by claiming that they are already ‘carbon neutral’, presumably because they believe that they bear no responsibility for the pollution generated by the planes themselves. Obviously this is nonsense and the government, supported by the UK Climate Change Committee and scientists, are now putting a legal stop to these claims.”

R4U’s Cllr Louise Pepper concluded “At R4U we welcome the law change, the closing of the loophole, and back UDC’s legal team for asking the Inspectors for an additional hearing. We believe that UDC’s legal defence, which was already based on four solid refusal reasons including emissions, has now been significantly strengthened.”

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties. R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK. In 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

R4U also leads Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards, including the best run council in Essex. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.