Revised plans to allow Luton Airport 19 million annual passengers is recommended for approval by council officers

Report will go before councillors next week, but first updated master plan will be debated tonight

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 2:40 pm

A stepping stone towards a long-term goal of 32 million passengers a year using London Luton Airport is recommended for approval by borough council planning officers.

London Luton Airport Operations Limited’s (LLAOL) plans are due before the local authority's development management committee next Tuesday (Nov 30).

But before that meeting goes ahead the airport operator has submitted an updated master plan to the council's overview and scrutiny board, which is set to be adopted by its executive tonight (Tuesday).

London Luton Airport

LLAOL seeks to vary conditions on passenger capacity, noise contours, parking management and a travel plan from a 2017 application, according to a report to the development management committee.

This will enable the company to accommodate 19 million passengers per annum, and to amend the day and night noise contours for London Luton Airport, at Airport Way.

The recommendation is "to grant planning permission subject to the airport master plan being adopted by the council’s executive".

If this plan "isn't adopted the application will return to development management committee for further consideration", says the report.

The committee is also asked to resolve that additions to the environmental impact assessment meet the requirements of part two of schedule four of the Town and Country Planning (England and Wales) Regulations 2017.

A meeting of the executive has been squeezed into the council's schedule, this evening, displacing a children's services overview and scrutiny committee meeting to next Monday (Nov 29).

The executive seems certain to adopt the LLAOL airport master plan after being recommended to by the council's scrutiny board last night (Monday).

A report to the board and the executive said: "The risk of not adopting this plan is that the council won't have endorsed an up-to-date airport master plan.

"That plan is now nine years old and therefore development proposals coming forward at the airport may not accord with policy LLP6 B(iii) of the adopted Luton Local Plan.

"This policy states, inter alia, that proposals for development at the airport will only be supported where they accord with an up-to-date master plan published by the airport operator and adopted by the council.

"The word ‘adopt’ means in this context ‘formally approve or accept’ and not in the context of supplementary planning documents (SPD), as it hasn't gone through the formal process required for SPD under planning regulations.

"Nor is it a local development document (LDD). It's a material consideration for the local planning authority to take into account in the context of policy LLP6, but should not be treated as SPD."

The significance of the master plan is also explained in the report from the government's perspective.

It adds: "The government makes clear that airport master plans are to provide a clear statement of the airport operator’s intention over future development, which is to be given due consideration in the local planning process.

"The lack of an up-to-date airport master plan may affect (local authority) planning, a statutory function of the council.

"It's therefore considered appropriate to adopt the master plan for use when considering development proposals at the airport."

Campaigners against airport expansion warn: "The plans would allow the airport to handle more passengers than its existing 2028 limit and to make more noise overall.

"The airport failed to comply with the current noise planning conditions between 2017 and 2019, and want those weakened."