BUSINESS leaders across the east of England have added to the growing pressure on a council which is being accused of ‘delaying’ the expansion of a major airport.

Key members of the Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire chamber of commerce have jontly written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, to express their fears a delay in the expansion of Stansted Airport will leave the region’s economy “locked on a low-growth trajectory”.

Uttlesford Council approved plans to expand the airport back in November 2018 but it has since withdrawn planning permission and will make another ruling later this year.

With the plans now on hold, the chamber of commerce groups, which represent 6,450 businesses across east of England, is now demanding the impasse between the airport and council be resolved and the plans approved.

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 expansion of Stansted Airport will see an extra 8 million passengers pass through each year and it is hoped the scheme will create 5,000 new jobs.

Speaking to the Times last month, Uttlesford Council leader John Lodge dismissed suggestions the authority was delaying the process.

He added: “This is never a quick process and we felt the previous administration had not looked at some aspects of this in enough detail.

“Having the country’s third largest airport forms a major part of our economy so of course we want to do all we can to help improve it and boost it further.”