Campaign aims to stop airport expansion

Aerial view of London Luton Airport from Runway. Photo by Andrew Holt
Aerial view of London Luton Airport from Runway. Photo by Andrew Holt

A new campaign group has been set up to stop the expansion of London Luton Airport.

Stop Luton Airport Expansion campaign group has been launched by Friends of Wigmore Park, after seeing the scale of the plans for the airport expansion.

Scott Stalham, chair of Friends of Wigmore Park, said: “Recently we have noticed the scale of the plans and we have set up the Stop Luton Airport Expansion campaign to make people aware of what is happening.

“The vision for 2020-2050 is to increase the passengers from 18 million to 38 million.

“We were shocked when we heard this and we realised this is a massive expansion and we had major concerns.

“It would mean the disruption of our local park which is a much loved community space.

“We want to highlight how bad the traffic already is in the town and it is only going to get worse, with that increase of passengers.

“We do not believe the infrastructure will be able to cope, this needs to be looked at properly.

“The pollution levels in the town will increase with more aeroplanes travelling in the area which will have a knock-on effect on health conditions.

“We think the current plans are irresponsible, we understand the importance of the airport to Luton but it is going too far.

“The importance of the airport and this expansion should not be put above the residents in the town, the infrastructure, the wildlife, the parks or people’s health. We want people to be aware of what is going on.”

Cllr Andy Malcolm, chair of the council’s airport company London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) said: “We have brought forward early proposals for sustainable growth of London Luton Airport after serious thought and because of the benefits it will deliver for the local, regional and national economies, the positive impacts for the people of Luton and the support it offers to help meet the ongoing increasing demand for aviation in London and the South-East.

“Already the airport supports nearly 30,000 jobs across the region and contributes £1.5bn economic benefit, including £895m directly to Luton.

“It is estimated that every additional million passengers delivers around 800 new jobs and £76m into the economy.

“In seeking to make the best use of our existing single runway, the project is fully aligned with government policy.

“It is also a key part of the council’s ambitious 20-year Luton Investment Framework for major town-wide transformation which is on schedule to secure £1.5 billion investment to create 18,500 quality jobs for local people while driving improvements to health and wellbeing, creating opportunities for residents, raising aspirations and enhancing prosperity.

“We absolutely understand the importance of talking with everyone in our local and nearby communities to make sure our emerging strategies for minimising and mitigating impacts are the very best they can be. This process is well under way and we will remain completely committed to it. We have already commissioned for example the most comprehensive air quality monitoring of any major UK airport so that our understanding of this issue will be unsurpassed. We will also propose to create a new footprint for Wigmore Valley Park that is bigger, with better facilities and further away from the runway.

“We are continuing to analyse and evolve our proposals in response to feedback provided during our first consultation last summer, and expect to announce the next steps next month.”