Noise fears over Luton Airport expansion

06:52 12 December 2011

Luton Aiport hopes to double passenger numbers to 18 million a year

Luton Aiport hopes to double passenger numbers to 18 million a year

Archant

LUTON Airport’s proposal to double the number of passengers to 18 million a year has alarmed residents in Harpenden, with one labelling the move as “utter madness”.

The airport is also looking at what its future potential capacity could be, if not constrained by its current boundary.

However following a Freedom of Information request from local campaign group HarpendenSky.com, a spokesman has admitted it was inevitable that flying more passengers will increase air traffic and plane noise.

The airport is owned by Luton borough council, but operated, managed and developed by a private consortium, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd.

Luton borough councillor Robin Harris, chair of Luton Airport, said that while it was not looking at expanding beyond its boundary at present, it could be part of future development plans.

He explained: “We are proposing to grow as far as the boundary of the airport.”

The organisation is investigating options to expand the airport using its existing runway and has been in talks with the Department for Transport about its indicative forecast of “just” 15 million passengers per year by 2050.

Cllr Harris said that figure significantly underestimated the contribution Luton could make to the economy, and that the capacity could instead be around 18 million passengers annually.

He added: “There isn’t a plan for people to comment on; we are looking at a proposal to develop the airport up to its current boundary. I don’t want to play on people’s fears and speculate on what may happen.

“There is a process we are dealing with, and people are getting unnecessarily agitated without knowing what the facts are.”

However members of HarpendenSky.com, a group initiated to protect residents from noisy low flying planes, are protesting against any possible expansion.

Neil MacArthur, who launched the campaign, said: “If you double the capacity you double the problem. People are already on edge.”

Harpenden resident Norman Carnt said any such proposal should be turned down as airlines operating from Luton do not follow flight paths across St Albans district correctly and fly too low over residential areas.

He accused Luton borough council of having a, “cynical disregard of their responsibilities to the adjoining community.”

The council has recently boasted its residents pay the lowest local authority tax in Bedfordshire because it received significant income from the airport.

South Harpenden resident Peter Wilson said: “With Luton sitting in the middle of a highly populated area, it is utter madness to increase the level of traffic. I protest in the strongest possible terms.”

Peter Mannell, of Harpenden, said that existing transport and airport access arrangements are totally inadequate for the airport’s current nine million passengers.

John Davis, Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) representative on the airport’s consultative committee, said he feared Luton would attempt to extend its taxiway, to increase the number of planes taking off.

Cllr Harris admitted that the existing taxiway was an “issue” but there was no plan for an additional runway.

He said: “There would be a slight change to the taxiway, nothing substantial.”

0 comments

More news stories

1 Mount Pleasant

Residents and objectors cheered after councillors on a planning committee turned down a new conservation area housing scheme close to their homes.

Yesterday, 17:00
St Albans City Hospital

The future of hospital services in West Herts are under the spotlight with a series of proposals going out for consultation until the middle of next month.

Yesterday, 16:46
Two cars collided in Flamstead at about 9.30am today (Tuesday)

A man was hospitalised with head injuries after a crash in Flamstead this morning (Tuesday).

Yesterday, 15:00
John is pushing for more donations as this may be his last chance to fundraise as his health is deteriorating

Hitting the water for what could be his last time, a former St Albans district councillor will be taking part in a sailing competition for charity.

Education

Thursday, August 18, 2016
A-level results

Students at Nicholas Breakspear Catholic School in St Albans have expressed their joy at their A level results after gaining a place at their first university choice.

Read more

St Albans Sinkhole News

Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Bernards Heath playground

Uncertainty over the long-term stability of a playground near St Albans’ sinkhole has resulted in the site being temporarily closed for further investigations.

Digital Edition

Image
Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read stories

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards