SIR, - Luton Airport is proposing to build a second runway 900 metres south of the existing one. This will increase its capacity from the current seven million passengers a year to 50 million, making it into an international airport second only to Heathro
SIR, - Luton Airport is proposing to build a second runway 900 metres south of the existing one. This will increase its capacity from the current seven million passengers a year to 50 million, making it into an international airport second only to Heathrow. This will require increasing its area threefold from 255 hectares to 745 hectares, all of it taken from Green-Belt land. The effect on the surrounding area will be huge, irreversible and devastating: planes landing and taking-off every two minutes, jumbo jets circling Hitchin, Stevenage, Harpenden and St Albans, an unprecedented increase in traffic on roads which already cannot cope and a devastation of the environment. The way the plan is being presented is cynical and exploitative. We are told that "fewer people will be affected" by the new option. The new option has emerged suddenly when all the previous consultation has been on three other options; the consultation period has had the holiday period in the middle; the actual figures for the increase in area are only stated in the appendix; the plan of the proposed boundary is drawn at half the scale of the existing boundary; we are pressurised into believing it is important to approve the proposals so that the runway can be in place in time for the Olympics; the "sound insulation scheme" takes no account of the fact that people also live their lives outdoors; there can be simply no compensation for the majority of people affected by the devastating impact. It is time to protest in the strongest possible way. I suggest that everyone who wishes to express their protest should deliver their letter of protest in person to Navigation House, Airport Way, at 9am next Friday, January 27. This will illustrate the impact of increased traffic upon airport access roads, provide a common action for all who are working so hard to raise awareness of the dangers in the short time available and show that people and the community really can make a difference. It is better to act now than regret that we might have done something. PETER LIDDELL, Hitchin Road, Kimpton.