- In unprecedented move four Chambers of Commerce from the East of England, representing 6,450 companies and over half a million jobs, join forces to sound warning
Organisations representing 6,450 businesses across the East of England have joined forces to urge Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to stop delaying in granting the final approval to Stansted Airport’s growth plans.
In November 2018 UDC approved plans for London Stansted to increase the number of passengers it could serve from 35 million to 43 million per year, without seeking an increase in the number of flights and committing to deliver the growth within a smaller noise footprint than its existing permissions require. These additional passengers will boost the East of England’s economic growth and deliver 5,000 additional jobs at London Stansted Airport.
In June 2019 Councillors voted to return London Stansted’s application to its Planning Committee, despite unequivocal advice from its own Council officers and independent legal experts that there was no impediment to the final approval being granted.
In a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Leader of UDC, the leaders of the Chambers of Commerce for Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Hertfordshire warned that further resistance to approving Stansted Airport’s growth plans risked the region’s economy being “locked on a low-growth trajectory”.
The Chambers, who represent 513,000 employees across the region, have taken the unprecedented step of uniting to call on Councillors to finally give the airport’s application the green light when the Planning Committee meets to discuss it in the coming months.
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Strong international links aren’t just important for business but bring huge benefits to communities across the region through jobs, tourism and a stronger economy.
“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.
“That is why Chambers of Commerce are calling on Uttlesford’s Councillors to listen to the voice of local business and the tens of thousands of their constituents who rely on Stansted Airport for their employment and get on and approve this application.”
Denise Rossiter, Chief Executive of Essex Chambers of Commerce, said:
“A strong and successful Essex economy goes hand in hand with the sustainable growth and international connectivity offered by Stansted, its local airport.
“This growth will stimulate inward investment and create thousands more jobs and business opportunities for residents. Stansted is a major asset to the economy of the East of England and Essex, and with spare runway capacity at a premium in the London airport system, it’s an irrational and counter-intuitive step to block the economic and social development that the airport can provide.
“The Essex Chamber of Commerce welcomes Stansted’s commitment to growing in a sustainable manner and urges UDC not to squander this unique opportunity to create an additional 5,000 new jobs for the benefit of not just the District but also Essex, the rest of the region and across the UK.”
Briege Leahy, Chief Executive of Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Growth, business opportunities and jobs depend on businesses across Hertfordshire and the wider eastern region being able to compete and win in the global marketplace.
“This is why Stansted is a catalyst for economic growth and success, providing increasing international connectivity, economic mobility and easy access for millions of business passengers, and for all those who want to make the East of England a great place to live and work.
“Stansted’s continued and sustainable growth is at the heart of all the exciting opportunities that exist for Hertfordshire business leaders so it’s vital that UDC allows the airport to make the best use of its existing capacity and not hold back our own exciting aspirations we have for the county and region. “
John Dugmore, Chief Executive of Suffolk Chambers of Commerce, said:
"Suffolk is home to some of the most innovative and high growth businesses, including those in the agritech, renewable energy and advanced manufacturing sectors. The role of Stansted Airport is fundamental to the future success of our local and indeed the wider regional economy as it is a key gateway for people and products coming into the area and being sent abroad.
"It is vital that Stansted Airport can make the best use of the runway capacity available as more and more businesses look to create new opportunities to trade around the world.
“Our view, and that of the many businesses we represent, ranging from international corporates to dynamic start-ups, is that this is the most sustainable and efficient approach that would support the continued drive to power growth in the coming years. By grabbing this opportunity, not denying it, we will see more investment, more economic growth, more jobs and more prosperity coming into our region."
John Bridge OBE DL, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Cambridge is a leading international city at the heart of one of the UK’s most dynamic regions, and home to world leading centres for innovation and research, so it’s vital businesses in the area have a key international gateway for air travel, particularly direct long-haul services to countries such as the USA, China and India, to support economic growth and attract even more overseas companies to invest and locate here.
“Stansted Airport already provides direct connections to over 200 destinations, including daily flights to Dubai and beyond, but it’s vital the airport makes the best use of its existing infrastructure and runway capacity to unlock further potential and ensure the area and its business community continues to grow and compete though enhanced international connectivity. It is vital there is no further or unnecessary delay in UDC approving Stansted’s plans which could affect a key part of the UK economy.”