13th April 2019
Stand-off at Uttlesford Council
SSE’s battle against Uttlesford District Council (UDC) over the Stansted Airport Planning Application has spilled over from the High Court to the world of local politics. Last November, UDC approved the airport’s expansion to an annual throughput of 43 million passengers which would make Stansted almost as big as today’s Gatwick. However legal challenges from SSE have so far dissuaded the Council from issuing the final planning permission.
At the beginning of April UDC finally signalled its intention to issue the permission but pressure from SSE has again forced the Council to back-track. SSE’s position has been supported by opposition councillors who are also pressing the present Conservative administration to delay issuing the planning permission until after the local elections on 2nd May so as to allow the new Council an opportunity to review the situation.
A petition co-sponsored by Liberal Democrats and Residents for Uttlesford councillors has forced UDC to schedule an Extraordinary Meeting for 25th April. Planning permission cannot be issued before that meeting and, since it will then be just one week before the local elections, it is considered unlikely – but not impossible – that the present administration would rush to issue its final approval for Stansted Airport expansion during what could be its final week in office.
SSE Chairman Peter Sanders commented: “It’s hard to believe that our own local council wants to rush through final approval of the Stansted Airport Planning Application prior to the local elections on 2nd May. SSE is keen to explore every avenue to avoid the need to take legal proceedings against UDC. The meeting on 25th April provides a glimmer of hope that it may yet be possible to avoid such legal proceedings.”