Stansted Airport receives major boost with increase in passenger numbers

Business / Sat 27th Oct 2018 at 02:52pm

By Local Democracy Reporter
Piers Meyler

STANSTED Airport has received a major boost in its bid to raise the cap on passenger numbers by eight million a year after the plans were recommended for approval.

If granted – albeit with conditions – Stansted Airport will be able to increase the cap on the number of passengers able to use the airport from 35 million a year to 44 million.

In doing so the number of flights will also be able to increase to their maximum permitted number of 274,000 a year.
But campaigners have claimed the plans, which are likely to facilitate a significant increase – as much as 44 per cent on the 189,900 flights seen last year to an agreed capacity of 274,000 per year by 2028 – will also have a major impact on traffic and noise levels.

Last year the airport handled a record 26 million passengers and is expected to hit its current 35 mppa maximum cap by 2023.
Uttlesford District Council’s (UDC) report has said there would be 72 additional flights during the day – 712 between 7am and 11pm – compared to the minimum scenario if the cap was not lifted of 640.

Without the cap lifted on the number of passengers able to use the airport the total number of flights – including cargo and others – will not be able to increase much beyond 249,000, according to figures published in the planning application.

Stop Stansted Expansion deputy chairman Brian Ross said: ”Compared to last year if this application was approved there would be a 44 per cent increase in the number of flights and a 66 per cent increase in passengers.

“As far as flights, that means noise impacts and air quality impacts and all of that, as far as passengers are concerned that’s road traffic.”

Figures compiled by UDC officers have said the A120 east of junction 8 of the M11 is likely to see an increase of almost 1,000 cars from 5,329 now to 6,266 at peak hours between 5pm and 6pm if 43million passengers were allowed to use the airport.

This would be an increase of 17.5 per cent.
The report adds that the number of journeys on the A120 east of Stansted will go up from 3,725 now to 4,497 during the same period by 2028 with a 43mppa cap.

Mr Ross added:” That is completely understated – this application a recipe for log jam on our roads.”

He added: “We still have a case with the High Court – it means all this process with UDC doesn’t amount to a hill of beans if it is taken out of our hands and dealt with by the Secretary of State.

“Remember that if approved this would lead to an increase in a 66 per cent number of passengers and related impact on road traffic and a 44 per cent increase in the number of flights.”

The report has also added that there will be an increases in noise – the location that would experience the greatest increase in noise levels is Molehill Green, with an increase of 3dB for daytime noise and 2.6dB for night time noise.

Mr Ross added: “This whole plan is unsustainable. This is far more than this. Uttlesford District Council is trying to make out it will have an insignificant impact, either on road traffic or noise or air quality. It won’t. This will have a huge impact.

“This is why we want this to be considered nationally. Uttlesford doesn’t have the expertise and they have simply echoed what Stansted have said that traffic won’t be bad and junction 8 can cope – it’s simply nonsense and we will try to demonstrate that.”

The council is now recommending to approve the application on condition of a new Sound Insulation Grant Scheme contributing capacity and safety improvements for the M11 and associated junctions, a package of transport related improvements for local roads, a higher rate of discount and revised eligibility criteria for rail users and improvements being made to the bus station.

It would also needs to provide support and maintain a package of measures to secure local socio-economic benefits including the Airport Employment Academy, Aerozone and Stansted Airport College.

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