London Stansted Airport (STN) in the UK has won the planning appeal for the expansion of its passenger capacity, which was opposed by the Uttlesford District Council (UDC) last year.

The UK’s Planning Inspectorate has now given its nod to increase the airport’s passenger capacity to 43 million a year.

UDC originally cleared the plan, but in May 2019, after the Residents for Uttlesford group took control from the Conservatives, the decision was referred back to the planning committee.

The appeal was made by Stansted Airport owner Manchester Airports Group (MAG) after UDC rejected the expansion plan by raising concerns over the environment and infrastructure.

Stansted managing director Steve Griffiths said: “The Planning Inspectorate’s decision provides clear assurance to local communities that Stansted’s growth can be delivered in a responsible and sustainable way.

“This decision allows us, the community and our airline partners to plan ahead with certainty. We always believed that UDC failed to provide any credible or substantiated reasons to justify refusing the application while ignoring the clear advice it received from its own officers and expert legal advisers.”

Planning inspectors made their decision after hearing evidence over three months this year.

Additionally, the government agency visited the site in March.

In its decision, the inspectors said: “Overall, the balance falls overwhelmingly in favour of the grant of planning permission.

“There would be a limited degree of harm arising in respect of air quality and carbon emissions,” but that was “far outweighed by the benefits of the proposal.”

Planning Inspectorate has also directed UDC to pay the costs of Stansted’s appeal.