Stansted Airport announces scaled-back expansion plans

London Stansted Airport has announced plans to submit an application to raise a planning cap on the number passengers it is permitted to handle to 43 million passengers per annum - a lower level of growth than originally proposed.

Stansted Airport: intends to submit a planning application in early 2018
Stansted Airport: intends to submit a planning application in early 2018

According to a statement issued this week by Stansted Airport, a planning cap currently prevents the airport from handling more than than 35 million passengers per annum (MPPA).

The airport says that currently around 26 million passengers use Stansted each year, an increase of nearly 10 million passengers compared with five years ago, and that its growth potential is limited by the cap.

The statement said that, following consultation, Stansted will apply to raise the cap to 43 MPPA to meet forecast growth over the next decade.

"The revised proposal represents a smaller increase in passenger numbers than originally proposed (44.5 MPPA) and will enable growth to be met without increasing the number of aircraft movements that are currently permitted to operate each year," the statement said.

The airport had also originally proposed to seek an increase of 11,000 annual aircraft movements.

This week’s statement said that while no increase is now being sought in the permitted number of aircraft movements, the proposed increase in the passenger cap is needed to "enable the airport to make best use of its existing capacity".

The statement said that the revised proposals followed consultation with local communities over the summer.

"Local residents told us that they were concerned about the proposal to increase the number of flights that the airport is permitted to operate each year," said London Stansted Airport chief executive Ken O’Toole. "We’ve listened to those concerns and decided to adapt our proposals so growth can be met within the current cap on the number of aircraft movements."

The airport said it has advised Uttlesford District Council of these changes in relation to its future planning application, which it intends to submit in early 2018.

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