Invest ESSEX continues to maintain its backing for the growth of London Stansted Airport in a bid to help safeguard the future prosperity of the county. This follows the news that London Stansted Airport’s proposed growth plans have been sent back to Uttlesford District Council’s Planning Committee to review.

The decision taken by Uttlesford District Council (UDC) not to issue a planning approval notice for the increase in annual passenger throughput poses a very real risk to the future economic prosperity of Essex - and the East of England as a whole - and is a real blow to the business community.

David Rooke
Location Services Director
Invest ESSEX

Stansted’s growth would not break caps on flight numbers or aircraft noise

The proposed growth plans would result in London Stansted Airport being able to serve 43 million passengers per year, up from its current limit of 35 million. This would help to deliver 5,000 new airport jobs and thousands more in the wider region, doubling its economic value. Fundamentally, plans would deliver on London Stansted Airport’s aims without breaking caps on flight numbers or aircraft noise.

In response to the decision by Uttlesford District Council, a spokesperson for London Stansted Airport issued the following statement:

We are concerned that the Council has not only chosen to ignore the recommendations of its own officers but also disregarded its independent legal advice which supports the original view that there is no legitimate reason to withhold approval for this application. Our frustration at this delay will no doubt also be shared by the considerable number of local residents, businesses, staff and on-site partners who have passionately backed these plans, which will boost our region’s economic growth and deliver 5,000 additional jobs. From the outset we have listened to local views and this feedback lead us to put forward a proposal which maintained the cap on the number of flights and committed to deliver the growth within a legally binding smaller noise footprint than our existing permissions require. This forms part of a comprehensive set of mitigation measures which have been independently endorsed. We remain in discussion with the Council while we consider all the options available to us.

Ben Clifton
Head of Communications
London Stansted Airport

London Stansted aerial image

How the aviation industry is working towards a greener future

Uttlesford District Council says that the decision was taken on the back of the UK Government’s announcement that it would commit to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to ‘net zero’ by 2050.

However, recent developments in biofuel have seen a number of airlines invest in using renewable sources for jet fuel, including British Airways with Velocys and University College London (UCL), as well as Delta with Agilyx and Monroe Energy. The first Velocys plant is due to begin construction in 2021, ready to produce fuel by 2024. United is another airline that has shown a willingness to engage with alternative fuels, and currently buy 1 million gallons of biofuel per year.

Meanwhile, BP have a plant, Sierra, which is planned to begin commercial operation in 2020 and is expected to convert approximately 175,000 tons of household garbage into approximately 11 million gallons of fuel each year: equivalent to the fuel needed for more than 180 return flights between London and New York.

The aviation industry itself has committed to reducing carbon emissions by 50% from their 2005 level by 2050. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) anticipates biofuels reaching close to 20% of fuel demand by 2040.

These are all examples of a greener future for air travel which, with the UK government’s target of being carbon neutral by 2050, the aviation industry will be forced to improve on.

London Stansted Airport’s international connectivity

London Stansted Airport, at the heart of the London-Cambridge corridor, is crucial for the success of businesses in the East of England region – particularly so for the county of Essex. Its location means that the airport is advantageously positioned for business travellers. It is seen as a core transport hub with unparalleled access to the M11 corridor with a reach of 17 million people within 2 hours and 1.2 million within 30 minutes.

Furthermore, new, long-haul destinations are being added on a regular basis, with Emirates having already launched a Stansted/Dubai service in July 2018 and announcing a second daily flight in March 2019. Emirates are monitoring the development of biofuel technology with great interest, but for the time-being, having one of the youngest fleets in the industry ensures that their aircraft produce less noise and lower engine emissions.

London Stansted Airport is ideally placed to provide global connectivity to the world-leading research institutions, including the life sciences businesses located along the London-Stansted-Cambridge corridor. The life sciences sector is heavily reliant on airport facilities, with the speed of air freight delivery crucial for ‘just-in-time’ and high value goods, such as pharmaceuticals.

London Stansted Airport has demonstrated that it is serious about tackling its carbon footprint, having been awarded the Carbon Trust Award in 2010 for their approach to managing and reducing carbon emissions. London Stansted Airport is accredited to ISO 14001, the internationally recognised standard for managing the environment and the airport has also seen no breaches of air quality limits in recent years.

Click here for more information about London Stansted Airport.