Anti-noise campaign groups hit out at Luton Airport expansion plans
Two campaign groups dedicated to reducing noise from Luton Airport have hit out at its latest plans for expansion.
LADACAN (Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) and STAQS (St Albans Quieter Skies) have rejected the plans as "both unjustified and unmerited" in a series of responses to the pre-consultation.
Andrew Lambourne, spokesman for LADACAN, said: “Airport growth going forward has to be more responsibly managed than in the past.
"The industry is innately carbon-inefficient at present due to outdated airspace design, which forces planes into holding stacks and causes Luton departures to be held low sometimes for 15-20 miles.
"This is very wasteful of fuel and causes far more widespread noise than necessary.
"Equally the latest aircraft introduced into the Luton fleet have proved not to be slightly quieter as expected, and that issue needs to be resolved quickly.”
Luton Airport has signalled it may apply for planning permission to alternate four of the planning conditions laid down by Luton Borough Council in 2013. But its expansion plans have repeatedly faced firm opposition from neighbouring Hertfordshire County Council.
John Hale, on behalf of STAQS, added: “The Airport has to meet legally agreed noise reduction targets, and should undo its recent mistake of allowing airlines like Wizz to introduce even larger and noisier planes like the Airbus A321-neo.
"While claimed to be ‘quieter-engined’, it has proved to be noisier than its A321 predecessor when flown from Luton, making claims of a 2dB noise benefit in the Airport’s noise reduction strategy ‘wishful thinking’. Luton Council needs to send Luton Airport a really clear signal that noise conditions are there for a purpose, which might focus some effort on growth balanced by mitigation, as the government requires.”
In response to the above criticisms, a London Luton Airport (LLA) spokesman said: "While current circumstances mean we are unlikely to see this number of passengers for several years, it’s essential we take steps now to safeguard the airport, jobs and support the region’s post COVID recovery. The changes we are proposing will not result in any visible difference to the airport, and will work entirely within existing infrastructure.
“Our consultation has provided an opportunity for the local community, passengers and business partners to feedback on our proposals, ahead of a formal application, which will follow the relevant planning process.
"An environmental impact assessment is also being carried out to identify any potential effects and possible mitigations to ensure we can deliver a plan for the future of the airport and its continued contribution to the local community”.