Date set for Stansted inquiry

OFFICIALS today announced the date for the start of the public inquiry into proposals to allow ten million more air passengers a year to use Stansted.Airport bosses want the current cap of 25 million passengers a year lifted to allow it to use its runway to maximum capacity.

OFFICIALS today announced the date for the start of the public inquiry into proposals to allow ten million more air passengers a year to use Stansted.

Airport bosses want the current cap of 25 million passengers a year lifted to allow it to use its runway to maximum capacity.

But Uttlesford Council has objected to the changes, leading to a public inquiry, expected to take three months.

This will start at Endeavour House at the airport on May 30.

It will remain there until the end of July before resuming on September 5 at Sudbury Town Hall and should conclude in the week beginning October 1.

The Evening Star's Air Fair campaign has been highlighting the large growth in air traffic over the county - particularly the Ipswich and Felixstowe area - over the past few years, following changes to increase the capacity of the airspace.

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Stansted owners BAA want to increase flights from 241,000 to 264,000 a year.

It says this will mean around 35m passengers using the airport by 2015.

Uttlesford District Council leader Mark Gayler said: “The evidence is clear. The impact of the proposed increase in flights and passengers would have an unacceptable impact on noise levels, air quality and the overall quality of life.”

But the council's refusal of the application for more flights has been labelled by the CBI as “short-sighted” and “bad news for business and for all of us who want to see the region prosper”, and Stansted officials were also disappointed.

Stansted managing director Terry Morgan said “Effectively, the council is wanting to cap passenger numbers at the current level, which contradicts government policy and flies in the face of the interests of the record number of leisure and business travellers - tens of thousands of whom are local - who see Stansted as an affordable gateway to destinations and opportunities around the world.”

Plans have also been put forward for a second runway. Objections have also been lodged to the £2.27 billion project.

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