Plans to spend £600m building a new terminal, increasing passenger numbers and using more efficient aircraft at Stansted Airport were discussed at a council meeting.

Senior managers for Manchester Airport Group addressed Epping Forest District Council's overview and scrutiny committee on Monday (October 29) about its plans for the Essex airport.

The group, made up of planning manager Alistair Andrew, corporate social responsibility manager Marcella M’Raberty and director of corporate affairs Jonathan Oates aimed to reassure councillors about the impact extra passengers would have on noise levels, air pollution and traffic congestion.

Earlier this year the group sought permission to lift its current annual customer cap of 35 million to 43 million by making better use of runway capacity without breaking caps on flight numbers or aircraft noise.

One of the key issues that has faced Stansted passengers in recent years is the speed of getting through passport control and picking up luggage.

Summarising such concerns, Cllr Nigel Bedford said: "I travel through the airport quite a few times a year and in July I was kept waiting for luggage for an hour and three quarters.

"I emailed customer services on the day and never heard a word.

"Customer services is not picking up complaints.

"Just this weekend someone waited three and a half hours for luggage to be returned."

Cllr Bedford argued the airport was not capable of handling its current number of passengers - let alone eight million more a year - without serious staff expansion.

Mr Oates responded: "We are estimating there will be 5,000 new jobs created at the airport.

"In terms of handling provision, our largest carrier has announced significant plans to overhaul how they deal with baggage."

He added that waiting such lengths of time for luggage was a "very rare occurrence."

In response to Cllr Steven Neville's questions, Mr Andrew attempted to assuage councillors' concerns about noise pollution.

He said: "For Epping Forest the number of noise complaints is exceptionally low, less than one per cent of total complaints were from Epping Forest in the last four years.

"There were 10 from the area in 2018/19.

"Epping District is only largely affected by arrivals traffic and that is very specifically on the turn as it comes in."

While Forest folk are unlikely to complain about noise, the airport's £23-a-day long stay parking charge might still rankle.

Arguing it was necessary to stop overcrowding in the airport's car parks, Mr Oates said: "The charge is there to increase the passenger experience.

"A lot of people find that hard to believe.

"We are proud of the huge spectrum of ways in which people can arrive at the airport."

To watch the meeting click here.