Monitoring the air quality in Luton

Aviation-leading air quality monitoring came into effect in Luton on National Clean Air Day, Thursday, June 20.

The airport’s owner London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) has commissioned an air quality monitoring ‘supersite’ in Wigmore Park which will measure a range of pollutants.

London Luton Airport Terminal exterior. Photo by London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport Terminal exterior. Photo by London Luton Airport

LLAL has reviewed all air quality monitoring undertaken at major UK airports and noted that there is a range of different pollutants monitored.

Councillor Andy Malcolm, chair of LLAL, said: “This is a really important development. Later this year we will be holding a Statutory Consultation on our detailed plans for long-term growth of the airport, and this is a sign of our absolute commitment to achieve the right balance between delivering significant economic and employment growth across the sub region and minimising and mitigating impacts on the environment.

“The new supersite will enable us to achieve the best understanding in the country of the impact of an airport on air quality, and inform our work to positively manage associated impacts.”

The monitoring station will collect data 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days per year, other than during any maintenance operations.

Arrangements are being made to include near real-time monitoring data from the supersite online, and in the meantime weekly data will be made available from early July on www.llal.org.uk.

Community group LADACAN has criticised the ‘supersite’. Spokesman Andrew Lambourne, said: “Putting the one and only pollution monitoring supersite to the north of the airfield isn’t going to be much use when the runway is east/west, which is the way the winds mostly blow. And ironical to put it in Wigmore Park, which LLAL wants to turn into a second terminal. Why don’t they put pollution supersites at Surrey Street Primary School for example, and Stockwood Park.

“Let’s remember that LLAL wants to add 100,000 additional flights per year on top of the 140,000 we already have, and for an airport of this scale we need fully effective pollution monitoring directly under the east and west departures and arrivals tracks.”

Cllr Malcolm added: “Our site was carefully selected because of its proximity to nearby public and residential areas, and deliberately located closer to the airport than the nearest homes in Eaton Green Road.

“This will mean that stronger concentrations of pollutants are measured than would be experienced at the nearest properties.”

“The data will be reviewed monthly and we will publish an annual report of findings and any required mitigation action. We will also prepare and publish shorter reports on a quarterly basis.”