A leading planning expert claims the expansion of Stansted Airport should be considered entirely afresh.

Planning barrister Paul Stinchcombe QC has been consulted on the proposals by Stop Stansted Expansion and has ruled Uttlesford Council would be legally entitled to reconsider the whole application again, despite having already approved the plans last November.

The authority called Stansted's application back to its planning committee following the local elections in May, which saw the Conservative administration toppled by Residents for Uttlesford.

With little progress made on the scheme, which would lead to 43 million passengers using the airport each year, Uttlesford Council has faced growing calls to waive the plans through before the end of the year.

But councillors have now been told by Mr Stinchcombe they are able to make an entirely new ruling on the application, despite there being no new changes to it.

Reacting to the news, Stop Stansted Expansion chairman Peter Sanders said: "This leading QC’s opinion provides a comprehensive and balanced assessment of the issues and clearly shows that Uttlesford Council would not only be justified in re-considering the 2018 Stansted Airport planning application, but is obliged to do so."

Mr Sanders has now called on the council to side with campaigners during an upcoming judicial review which will rule on whether Stansted's application should actually be decided by the Government.

He added: "We urge Uttlesford Council to make representations to the High Court for the application to be treated as a nationally significant infrastructure project.

"There is compelling logic for them to do so, not least in the interests of local council taxpayers.

"A successful outcome would remove all risks of a costs award against the council as well as the costs of a public inquiry."

The judicial review is scheduled for Tuesday, November 12.

A spokesman for Stansted Airport said: "As part of, and since our application was approved by Uttlesford Council's planning committee in November 2018, Uttlesford Council has taken extensive legal advice and our understanding is that it confirms there is no reason for the council to withhold the permission they resolved to grant.

"“The Leader has promised the residents of Uttlesford a conclusion to this process in early November 2019, we welcome this commitment as any further delay, uncertainty and expense is in no-one’s interest.”