Luton Airport's expansion to 19 million annual passengers seeks to 'rewrite noise limitations', claim campaigners

Three separate pressure groups say council planning officers' report will recommend the application be agreed

By Euan Duncan
Thursday, 18th November 2021, 12:41 pm
Updated Friday, 19th November 2021, 9:47 am

A council officers' report is due to be released tomorrow (Friday) on London Luton Airport operator's bid to increase the annual passenger capacity to 19 million.

The application will then be considered at a special borough council development management committee meeting on Tuesday November 30, with an extra scheduled date the following day if needed.

The long-awaited proposals are forecast by the pressure group Stop Luton Airport Expansion (SLAE) to "rewrite to the benefit of applicant London Luton Airport Operations Limited's (LLAOL), noise limitations imposed as part of the last airport expansion".

London Luton Airport

Three separate pressure groups say council planning officers have recommended the application be agreed, although the official release of the meeting documents is only due at 5pm tomorrow afternoon (November 19).

Wednesday, December 1 has been reserved as a back-up day in case a decision takes longer than anticipated.

"The noise nuisance has been allowed to grow to already unacceptable levels, with near complete disregard for those it impacts," according to SLAE.

"The borough council has been advising LLAOL on this application," SLAE explained.

"Rather than resubmitting the original application with amendments, this new application was submitted resulting in 450 objections being removed.

"LBC used planning regulations to block the transfer of those objections, meaning the public has to resubmit them.

"This gave the applicant the opportunity to instigate a campaign among its staff and contractors to back the application.

"The tactic didn't find favour with the public, and even more objections were lodged resulting in 923 objections versus 205 in favour," added SLAE.

Other pressure groups warn the proposed airport expansion by one million passengers would fuel climate change.

The campaigners say letters received by local residents show that councillors will be recommended to approve the plans to expand the airport capacity.

They also stated: "This is despite the sixth carbon budget call to limit aviation growth and reduce sector emissions to help save the planet."

Andrew Lambourne, of Luton and District Association for the Control of Airspace Noise (LADACAN), said: “It’s against the Luton Local Plan and threatens local communities with substantially increasing noise and emissions, as well as being completely unnecessary."

John Hale, of St Albans Quieter Skies (STAQS), said: “COP26 ended with a call for everyone to do more to prevent global warming. Despite declaring a climate emergency, LBC’s response involves trying to expand the airport again, adding emissions not just from planes but also from vehicles.

"Instead of joining those wanting to help solve the climate emergency, the council’s aim will just add fuel to the fire."

The campaigners added: "The plans would allow the airport to handle more passengers than its existing 2028 limit and to make more noise overall, rather than reducing these levels as flights become individually quieter. The airport failed to comply with the existing noise planning conditions between 2017 and 2019, and want those conditions weakened.

"The council has repeatedly failed to enforce those conditions, allowing multiple versions of different applications to delay any action since April 2019."

London Luton Airport Operations Limited has been approached for comment.