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Apologies for Absence and Declarations of Interest
To receive any apologies for absence and declarations of interest.
There were no apologies received.
Councillor Luck declared a non-pecuniary interest as the President of the Youth and Education Support which works with Manchester Airport Group (MAG) Youth Schools Unit at Stansted Airport.
Councillor Isham declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE).
Councillor Dean declared a non-pecuniary interest as a member of SSE.
To consider the minutes of the previous meeting.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 May 2021 were agreed and would be signed by the Chair as an accurate record at the next opportunity.
To consider Government consultation on night flight restrictions beyond 2024, plus national flights policy.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer presented the report and highlighted the following:-
· The report had been revised from 19th May 2021 and paragraphs 1 to 8 had been updated.
· An extended deadline had been negotiated with the Department for Transport and therefore the Council’s submission was now due on 1st October 2021. This gave extra time to take into account the SoNA Sleep Study published on 22nd July 2021.
· The existing night flight policy had been rolled forward for 3 years to enable a fuller review.
· The comments made by the Panel at the last meeting had been incorporated in paragraphs, 23, 50 and 59.
· The SoNA Sleep Study had been added as a separate Appendix C.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer recommended that the Panel considered the response; provided changes and additions and then endorsed the report in principle to go forward to Cabinet by the 1st October 2021.
There was a long discussion with questions from Members to the Senior Planning Policy Officer and the following comments were made:-
· There was more capacity during the day, post Covid which put pressure on the industry to move night flights to the day.
· The Senior Planning Policy Officeragreed that the airline industry needed to provide more details on the economic benefits of flying and night flights in particular. This would enable a proper assessment of what the benefits were and who was benefitting - the local and national economy or other countries’ economies.
· He agreed to stress that it was those in the community living under the flight paths that were particular affected by night flights.
· The response stressed that the carry over of movement limits from the winter to the summer should stop, as it was unfair for local residents to suffer.
· The airline industry needed to come up with a robust business model so that dispensations were used correctly and only for real emergencies.
· Further work from the SoNA study should include an analysis of the effects night flights had on different age groups.
· He agreed with Members that there was a need for further scrutiny on the detail in paragraph 22 regarding dispensations.
· The Senior Planning Policy Officersaid that one of the responses did support the extension of the night flight quota period to the full 8 hours including a time when no flights would be allowed.
· Noise from night flights was an issue for a large proportion of the District.
· The consultation contained too many ‘judgement’ decisions with no consistency, hard facts, or formulae for the rationale stated.
· There were no plans to update the cargo planes which were generally the oldest, noisiest and most polluting.
· There were many broad statements in the consultation that needed to be more defined, for example in paragraph 53, to specify what technology would reduce aircraft noise. The Panel felt strongly that the Government needed to be held to account.
· In paragraph 36, the Government were looking at banning noisy aircraft and the Council ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Government Decision to Roll Forward Existing Night Flight Restrictions
This was discussed in the agenda item above.
The Director of Public Services said that there was no budget for a workshop and he was not sure it was clear what Members wanted to get out of them. He said he was concerned that it was a large and complicated subject and very ambitious even within a series of workshops.
Councillor Dean said he was happy to gather Members ideas on what was required.
The Chair suggested that having an open meeting with the SSE/ Stansted Airport Watch (SAW) involved would add value but he had spoken to them and they were not available in the next couple of weeks. He said to get the best from the meetings the Panel Members needed to be better informed and he thought the workshop should also be available to all Councillors.
The Panel agreed that more regular meetings were needed.
The Chair asked for a focused presentation by Officers on night flights to be arranged and to invite SSE/SAW.
The Director of Public Services said that the Senior Planning Policy Officer would pick up the points made in the meeting and would amend his response to the consultation accordingly. He did not get a clear sense of what the Panel wanted in terms of a workshop.
To consider Government “Jet Zero” consultation.
The Senior Planning Policy Officer said this consultation had been published on the 14th July 2021 and closed on 8th September 2021. He had prepared a briefing note which set out the Government’s strategy and there were questions to be answered at the end.
He asked that Members look at the documentation and sent any feedback and comments to him by the end of the month so that he could compile the response by the deadline.
The Panel Members agreed that the consultation did not provide targets or deliverables.
The Democratic Services Officer agreed to send a reminder to Panel Members to send their comments.
Stansted Airport Appeal Process
The Director of Public Services gave a short summary of the Stansted Airport appeal process. He said that there were a number of interested parties that supported the appeal and it had implications for the wider country in terms of on going airport expansion. The papers were with the court and a decision was unlikely to be made before September.
He said the potential outcomes the judge could make were:
· That the Council’s submission had sufficient merit to take the appeal on to the High Court.
· That the submission was not accepted but the Council should be allowed a further opportunity to argue for the case to go to the High Court
· That the Council would need to go direct to the Court of Appeal as the judge did not agree with the submissions and would not allow further representations.
He said that the Chief Executive would be considering the process issues around the possible outcomes, as there would only be a short window for the decision to be made.
Future Panel Business
The suggestions for future panel business were as follows:
· No future delays to meetings when there was business to be discussed.
· Future interaction with MAG about general issues, but with an understanding that this might not be possible at the moment due to the ongoing Appeal.
· Input to meetings from the SSE/SAW.
· Issues from previous meetings: - 106 agreements; pedestrian and cycle access and border controls.
Councillor Reeve said that there was a representative on the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee (STACC) which was currently Councillor Merifield and he suggested that she was invited to this meeting in future. Councillor Caton agreed and asked if information from each meeting could also be circulated.
Councillor Pepper was the Strategic Aviation Special Interest Group (SASIG) representative for Uttlesford District Council.
Councillor Pepper said she would circulate two newsletters from the last meeting of SASIG. The Director of Public Services suggested a link to SAW’s website be e-mailed to all Members.
The meeting ended at 8:21pm.