London Stansted Airport has outlined its plans to invest £35 million over the next eight years to help ensure that Uttlesford remains one of the best places in the UK to live, work and do business.
Stansted Airport outlines £35m investment to drive improvements in Uttlesford’s transport, public services and quality of life
On 24 January Uttlesford District Council’s Planning Committee will meet to consider the details of the mitigation measures that are part of the planning application submitted by Stansted that, if granted, would enable the airport to grow over time to make best use of its existing runway and serve 43 million passengers per annum.
The granting of this planning approval would trigger a considerable investment from the airport in addition to its existing commitments and deliver significant improvements to the District’s transport infrastructure, educational provision and environment. The core elements of the £35 million investment include:
- £12m of funding for local transport schemes will be generated from extending the airport’s current Sustainable Transport Fund to include revenue generated from its Express Set Down facility. This money will be invested in delivering sustainable travel schemes across Uttlesford and the further provision of public transport services and facilities
- A ring-fenced £1 million fund to support new bus routes and encourage the use of new low emission vehicles
- More than £2 million for improving local roads within Uttlesford, including over £1m on upgrading J8 of the M11
- A generous Sound Insulation Grant Scheme (SIGS) for those living closest to the airport. This new scheme would be available to more houses, be tiered up to £10,000 in value per household and importantly require no contribution from the householder. Funding will also be specifically allocated to 18 noise sensitive community facilities within the District, including five schools and two healthcare facilities
- Guaranteed ongoing support for the airport’s on-site College, Aerozone and Academy, to contribute to raising educational achievement and creating more job opportunities for local people. The College is developing into the UK’s first centre of excellence for aviation skills and employment
- Continuation of the delivery of annual Meet the Buyers events, which have helped generate £24 million for local businesses over the last nine years, and the annual Jobs Fair which attracted over 800 potential employees in 2019
- A revamped Community Trust Fund with increased funding of a minimum of £150,000 a year, enabling support for more local community projects, with Parish & Town Councils now being eligible to apply.
These measures sit alongside Stansted’s ongoing commitments to:
- Operate within a legally binding noise envelope 15% smaller than that currently allowed
- Retain the highest public transport use of any major UK airport at over 50% through funding and support for the Stansted Area Transport Forum
- Monitor local air quality; and mitigate any harm to local sites of ecological value
- Offer substantial discounts to local rail commuters parking at Stansted
- Urge Government to tighten the noise penalty limits thereby enabling the airport to levy heavier fines for noisy aircraft, with money collected to be fed into local community projects.
Chief Executive of London Stansted Airport, Ken O’Toole, said: “We have listened to the community from the outset and remain absolutely committed to delivering additional passenger growth in a sustainable manner, without an increase in the number of permitted flights and within a smaller noise footprint than our existing permission requires.
“The independently reviewed environmental analysis of our application is clear. It shows that our comprehensive package of community, transport and environmental mitigation adheres to the tests set out in the planning process and will enable the benefits of a thriving Stansted to be fully realised while actively managing any environmental impacts associated with our future growth.
“There is no denying that the airport delivers substantial benefits to the Uttlesford, Essex and East of England economies. This comes in many forms, but most notably from the 12,000 people employed across the 200+ employers at the airport, including over 2,000 Uttlesford residents. Growth to 43 million passengers a year will generate 5,000 more jobs at the airport and a further £1 billion of additional economic and social benefit.
“We have been working hard with the Council over recent months to better understand their concerns and have put forward proposals which are legally sound and present a proportionate mitigation package. We would hope the Committee take this on board, along with the advice they have received from their own officers and independent legal advisors when they meet in the coming weeks.”
In recent months, a number of high-profile organisations have urged Uttlesford District Council to avoid further delay in granting final approval for the airport’s plans to serve more passengers, including:
- Regional tourist body, Visit East of England, said further delay “could also jeopardise future opportunities to bid for funding at a time when the East of England needs to be doing everything it can to grow our economy.”
- The Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce joined forces with four local Chambers in a letter to the Communities Secretary, warning “with Britain about to leave the EU, we simply cannot afford to deny the East of England the opportunity to strengthen its ties with the rest of the world.”
- Unite The Union said the future success of the airport was “good for the business, the wider regional economy and for the passengers, but, most importantly, from a Unite perspective, it heralds strong growth in employment and secure jobs in the years ahead.”
- The Executive Director of Tottenham Hotspur FC wrote to the leader of UDC, saying: "collectively, we are responsible for the employment of several thousands of local people, deliver a wide range of innovative initiatives to support the delivery of skills and education, and are guided by a belief that as our businesses prosper, our neighbours should prosper too.”
London Stansted is London's third-busiest airport, currently serving around 22 million passengers a year. The airport is ideally located in between the global tech and life science hubs of London and Cambridge.