Stansted is the UK’s fastest growing airport. A £600 million expansion programme to build a brand new terminal building, more efficient aircraft and plans to increase passenger numbers from around 28 million to 43 million per year were discussed with councillors at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting of Epping Forest District Council on Monday 29 October.
Image credit: Steve Bates Photography
Around 12,000 people work at Stansted, making it the region’s largest employer. There are many career opportunities with 377 current vacancies. The airport has links with local schools and colleges.
Senior managers for Manchester Airport Group Alistair Andrew (Planning Manager), Marcella M’Raberty (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager) and Jonathan Oates (Director of Corporate Affairs) sought to reassure councillors about the impact of extra passengers on the local environment including noise levels, air pollution and traffic congestion.
The number of aircraft movements is expected to stay about the same. More passengers per plane and better engines (the next generation of engines are significantly more fuel efficient and cleaner than current engines) are expected to reduce emissions. After a temporary noise increase, lower average noise levels are expected to drop as older aircraft are replaced by new models, although the Stansted executives did confirm that older cargo planes with longer lease arrangements do contribute to higher noise pollution levels.
Around half of all passengers travelling to Stansted arrive by public transport, reducing stress and congestion on the local road network. However, car access is also important. Stansted supports the development of the M11 Junction 8 with plans to increase car parking and bus stations.
Delays Border Force and Baggage
Frustration with the speed and performance of Border Force is not confined to Stansted. Long delays are a feature of many UK entry points. Stansted bosses confirmed they are in regular discussions with Border Force but are not able to insist on improvements. Baggage handling problems over the summer were also acknowledged as well as delays due to staff shortages at the National Air Traffic Control Centre and highly publicised difficulties for people with disabilities.