UDC to consider next steps after High Court rejects planning appeal decision challenge

Councillors will consider Uttlesford District Council's next steps after its request for permission to challenge the Stansted Airport planning appeal was rejected by the High Court.

The airport proposals to increase the passenger cap to 43 million per year had been refused by the Planning Committee in January 2020. That decision was overturned following a public inquiry and a full award of costs was made against the council.

The council had sought permission of the High Court to challenge the validity of the panel's decisions, but was notified on 1 October that its application has been rejected. The council is of course disappointed, but respects, the High Court's decision. It now has until Friday 8 October to decide whether or not it wishes to lodge an appeal to the ruling.

A report setting out the details, options, analysis and the chief executive's recommendation on how to proceed, has been added as an additional item to tonight's Council meeting.

The chief executive's recommendation to not appeal the Court's decision is not reflective of any change in the council's underlying feelings about the airport expansion, but is based instead on an objective analysis of the risks, implications, costs and likelihood of success in proceeding with an appeal. This is, however, his recommendation and councillors will take the actual decision in a vote.

In order to allow sufficient time for debate, the chief executive is recommending that the meeting be adjourned after the normal business of the meeting has been concluded, and reconvened tomorrow (Wednesday 6 October, starting at 7pm). Councillors will decide whether or not to adopt this approach at the meeting tonight. Subject to their decision, an additional public speaking session dedicated to the Stansted Airport matter will be offered at the reconvened meeting on Wednesday. Five public speaking slots of three minutes are available. To register your wish to speak, email committee@uttlesford.gov.uk or call 01799 510548. Registration will close at 4pm on Wednesday and slots will be offered on a first come, first served basis.

It is hoped that all, or at least the vast majority, of the debate on this issue will be held open to the public and broadcast live. The council will only go into 'private session' where the press and public are excluded (and the public video feed turned off) if there are any genuinely commercially-sensitive details or other such reserved matters that councillors feel the need to debate in reaching their decision.

If you wish to attend the meeting in person, email committee@uttlesford.gov.uk for further details and to reserve a seat. Please note there is very limited capacity for the public to attend the meeting in person and we encourage the public to watch the meeting via the live broadcast.

The agenda papers and live broadcast on 5 October are available at: https://uttlesford.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?MId=5726&x=1.

The link for the live broadcast on 6 October (subject to councillors' decision tonight) is available at: https://uttlesford.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=159&MId=5885.

5 October 2021