Residents fear number of planes at Luton Airport could double if expansion goes ahead
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Expect the number of planes flying from London Luton Airport to double, if passenger capacity almost doubles, an open hearing of an application for an order granting development consent (DCO) heard.
Applicant London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), trading as Luton Rising, wants permission to increase the annual passenger numbers to 32 million. This would happen in phases starting with confirmation for a current rise from 18 million to 19 million submitted by airport operator London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL), which was subject to a planning inquiry last September.
A decision on that by two secretaries of state is expected on or before August 22. The phased growth plan could see the airport expand to 22.5 million passengers a year, then 27 million and finally 32 million.
The hearing allowed supporters and opponents of airport expansion to put their case to a planning inspectorate team, who will write a report for the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Michael Gove.
Two open hearings are being held in the Riverside Suite at Venue 360 in Luton, with the second due to take place this morning (August 11).
On behalf of the applicant Tom Henderson, a partner and solicitor with BDB Pitmans LLP, explained: “Air space change isn’t part of this application.
“There’s no proposal to change flight paths as part of this DCO submission. There was reference to parking associated with the application being built on commercial development. That’s not part of our application.”
Mostaque Koyes runs Community Interest Luton. He said said: “I’m in support of the airport because of the economic growth it would bring to Luton, with more jobs and more from the airport for community groups.
“I understand the negatives, but the growth means more aspirations for the young people in our town with a better standard of living.”
Ishaq Kazi, speaking on behalf of Luton Council of Mosques, said: “This will bring economic benefits to Luton residents, particularly for the areas of high unemployment.
“Economic development is fundamental to changing and improving people’s lives. We fully endorse that, while appreciating and accepting there are environmental concerns.
“We believe the government and operators will pay due attention to using low carbon aircraft.”
Chris Hayden from Stop Luton Airport Expansion spoke against the plans, saying: “Our group was founded to save Wigmore Valley Park.
“We don’t know yet if the local authority has gone behind residents’ backs and sold Wigmore Valley Park to Luton Rising.”
He referred to schedule one of the DCO which mentions “the provision of a new passenger terminal on land owned by the applicant and Luton Borough Council” to the north-east of the runway. He said: “We can’t trust the council to act honestly and in residents’ best interests. There are no boundaries between Luton Rising and the council.”
Harpenden resident John Smith described it as a “self-serving and downright selfish scheme, with no benefits other than for Luton”, while Philippa Eike, also from Harpenden, labelled it “hard to justify when there’s a climate emergency”, suggesting the number of planes would double if the number of passengers nearly doubles.