Decision expected today on whether to grow Luton airport passenger numbers
Numbers could rise to 19million a year
A decision is expected later today on whether London Luton Airport can accommodate 19 million passengers annually, if borough councillors back a recommendation by planning officers.
Applicant London Luton Airport Operations Limited's (LLAOL) plans to vary conditions on passenger capacity, noise contours, parking management and a travel plan from a 2017 application.
After three hours of debate, last night, (Tues 30th) the borough council's development management committee opted to reconvene this evening to make a decision on the proposals.
The council's team leader strategic applications Clive Inwards outlined the applicant's case, and the committee also heard from aviation, noise and climate experts.
Around 20 objectors explained why they oppose the plans, most representing interested groups or residents organisations living nearby.
Among the issues they object to are the proposals to amend the day and night noise contours at the 605-acre London Luton Airport, on Airport Way.
Tonight's second session (Weds 1st) will give applicant LLAOL its chance to say why the plans should be supported, once Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) has stated its concerns.
Planning permission was granted in June 2014 for the expansion of the airport involving, inter alia, the dualling of Airport Way, extensions to the terminal, a new pier and walkway, extensions to taxiways and the construction of a multi-storey car park, according to a report to the committee.
"The application was accompanied by an environmental statement and the grant of planning permission was subject to a number of conditions, including a passenger cap limiting the total number to 18 million passengers per annum," said the report.
"There was also a condition restricting the area within the 57 decibel day and 48 decibel night-time noise contours.
"The council advised LLAOL that the increase in the daytime and night-time noise contours would result in more residents being exposed to noise levels above the significant observed adverse effect level (SOAEL).
"Therefore it was considered that the proposed development would require an environmental statement to accompany any application. This decision was accepted by the applicant.
"The scope of the environmental impact statement was discussed with officers," added the report.
"It was agreed that five topics should be included covering noise, air quality, health, transport and climate change."
If the application is approved, the report warns that: "At no time shall the commercial passenger throughput of the airport exceed 18 to 19 million passengers in any 12-month period.
"From the date of this permission, the applicant shall every quarter report in writing to the local planning authority the moving annual total numbers of passengers through the airport (arrivals plus departures).
"The report shall be made no later than 28 days after the end of each quarter to which the data relates."