Climate change and environmental issues are now part of Luton Airport's updated master plan
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The path has been cleared for the next phase of London Luton Airport expansion with the adoption of the operator's updated master plan.
But only four of the ten executive members were present at a meeting last night (Tuesday, Nov 23) to confirm the borough council would adopt the plan.
Six councillors sent their apologies, including three who had to declare a personal interest over this issue as they sit on the board of directors of the local authority's newly renamed airport company Luton Rising.
The absentees were council leader Hazel Simmons, her former deputy Sian Goding, Abbas Hussain, finance portfolio holder Andy Malcolm, as well as his fellow board members Tahmina Saleem and Khtija Malik.
That left their four Labour Party colleagues to consider whether to adopt the London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL) master plan.
The plan is an 82-page document listing recent trends relating to passenger numbers, aircraft movements, queuing and immigration, and the projections going forward.
Chairing the committee, Labour Lewsey councillor Aslam Khan said: "Under policy LLP6 of the Local Plan there's a requirement to adopt an up-to-date master plan published by LLAOL before further proposals to expand the airport can be considered as part of the planning process.
"The adoption of the master plan doesn't in any way constitute new council policy.
"The main planning proposal to expand the airport to 19 million passengers per annum [currently it is 18 million] will be considered at a development management committee meeting next Tuesday (Nov 30).
"Through that process of the planning, impacts of the application and its assessment will be considered."
Labour Challney councillor Tom Shaw said: "One of the things that's been missing from the airport in a big way is the environmental impact.
"For the people affected we'll speed up the noise insulation projects. We'll look at putting more monitoring around the airport and the routes to it.
"We'll look at giving different values to the planes which land, the low energy ones and those which release fewer emissions.
"So for the first time ever we've got a real climate change and environment part in this master plan.
"That alone is well worth us saying we should be accepting the officer's recommendations."
Labour Limbury councillor Rob Roche agreed, saying: "Tom gave some good reasons there for the adoption in relation to going forward what the policies of this council are in the climate sector.
"We've also to consider the planning development going forward, how it's linked to the Local Plan and ensure the master plan is considered in any future planning development of the airport."
Labour Saints councillor Javed Hussain said: "It's needed and important, and it will take in certain considerations on the environment, so we should adopt it and let the due process carry on."
The committee agreed to adopt the use of the airport master plan for the purposes of policy LLP6 B(iii) of the Local Plan.