Give us a rest, say groups who want new regulation for Luton night flights

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Campaign groups opposing the expansion of Luton Airport are banding together to present a united front against the proposed development.

Four groups – Hale, Ladacan, Lanag and SOS – say they are taking the unprecedented step of getting together to fight the plans to expand the airport to 18 million passengers a year.

They say it would mean night flights increasing by 50 per cent, with 80 flights between 11pm and 7am in peak summer periods.

And they want the airport to be subject to the same regulatory controls a city airport would have.

The groups are being supported by Hitchin and Harpenden MP Peter Lilley, Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning and Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland.

Mr Penning said: “I know from the feedback I get from local people that being kept awake until midnight by late-night arrivals, and then being woken up by cargo flights and early morning departures really upsets them.

“Airports such as London City have night noise curfews, and it’s entirely reasonable for Luton Airport to be regulated in the same way.

“We’re not saying close the airport down, we’re saying be a more responsible neighbour.”

The operators of the airport, London Luton Airport Operations Limited, say the expansion would create thousands of new jobs.

But the campaigners say feedback during last year’s public consultation showed people were gravely concerned about extra night flights, saying they kept children awake and led to disturbed sleep in the early hours.

Andrew Lambourne, of Hale, said the airport had not listened to the concerns of local residents.

“We heard the MD of Luton Airport saying on television last year how seriously he took the noise problem – and how they were listening to what local people had to say.

“Well, submitting a planning application proposing to double the late night arrivals between 10pm and midnight, and to start early departures at 5am, does not sound like listening.

“There are more night movements in Luton than there are at Heathrow, and it’s time this was dealt with.

“We are calling for regulation to significantly reduce night flights at Luton Airport to give us all a rest.”

>What do you think? Is the expansion of airport a good thing for the area or will it simply cause more misery?