Angry residents protest against airport plans

SCORES of angry residents from across Hertfordshire and south Luton packed out a village hall this morning in protest against plans to expand Luton Airport, writes Steve Nolan.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 7th July 2012, 1:45 pm

Long suffering residents of Breachwood Green were joined bright and early this morning by homeowners from Redbourne, Stevenage and Flamstead at the meeting organised by action group Herts Against Luton Expansion (HALE).

The hour long meeting, which was ironically interrupted several times by the noise of planes roaring overhead, saw protesters express concerns that a proposed expansion of the nearby airport could see aircraft passing over the Hertfordshire countryside every 90 seconds destroying residents’ quality of life.

Andrew Lambourne, co-founder of HALE, said: “Airport noise has become worse and worse every year and it’s got to the point where people are now saying they can’t actually sit outside and enjoy themselves in the summer, you can’t sit out and enjoy a BBQ for example.

“The planes have definitely got louder and louder over the past years and it’s been a creeping increase and I think now they’re at the point where people really have had enough.

“It’s going to get substantially worse if they go and increase passengers by 50 per cent, that is a substantial change.

“The other thing is of course that people who can’t sleep very well do get woken up at night and the early morning rush hour is really unbearable and then you come home in the evening and you just want to relax and there they are again, they’re all coming in until midnight.

“We’ve had two consultations, suggestions of around 18 million from the owners and 16 million from the operators, then there was a ‘vision document’ but we don’t yet know exactly what we’re talking about here and the key things like number of night flights, what will happen at peak hours, what exactly they’re talking about in terms of larger planes, how they’re going to cope with the impact on the M1 and on the rail services, we just have no idea.”

HALE had invited airport representatives and Luton Borough Councillor Robin Harris, who attended last night’s Love Luton Festival to see boyband The Wanted, along to the meeting to address residents, but none of the parties involved could make it.

When asked about the ‘no-show’ from council and airport representatives, Mr Lambourne added: “I think it’s disgraceful because clearly it isn’t just a matter of economics, it isn’t just a matter of commercial gain, it’s a matter of fitting in with the local community and if they say they’re going to consult then they need to listen – consulting is a two way process.”