Luton Airport must prove its sustainability ahead of any further expansion, insists St Albans MP Daisy Cooper.

The airport's sole shareholder Luton Borough Council has approved an expansion from 18 million to 19 million per annum submitted by airport operator London Luton Airport Operations Ltd, but the application was put on hold at the end of the year.

Following lobbying from Daisy and others, the government issued a Article 31 direction which prevents the council from issuing a final decision while the Secretary of State considers whether to call it in.

Daisy has asked for a report into the airport's sustainability to be commissioned from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) before that final decision is mad, examining the impact of airport expansion on carbon emissions, air and noise pollution.

Daisy said: “The proposed expansion of Luton Airport undermines the country’s efforts to tackle the climate emergency, and will cause even greater distress to residents living under flight paths who are affected by the increasing intensity of airport noise.

“Last December, I asked the Transport Secretary to review the airport expansion application and to prevent Luton Borough Council from making a final decision whilst he reviewed the plan.

"Now he’s paused the process, it’s essential that he obtains a sustainability report from the CAA on carbon emissions, air and noise pollution, so the huge negative impact of expansion plans is plain for all to see and crucially taken into account.”

Luton Rising, the airport's owners, has opened a new statutory consultation on its long-term expansion plans, with an ultimate aim of 32 million passengers a year by building a new terminal and making the best use of the existing runway.

Chair Cllr Javeria Hussain said: “Our proposals will reflect the sustainability values, both of Luton Rising, and Luton council. We want to maximise the social and economic benefits of growth and we firmly believe there is a way to grow an airport in a sustainably responsible way.

"Sustainability is about more than environmental issues – it’s social and economic impacts too. Our airport is a vital part of the economic ecosystem of the region and beyond, directly and indirectly supporting tens of thousands of jobs."

Luton Rising chief executive Graham Olver said: “Our new Green Controlled Growth framework is at the heart of our sustainability measures, which we believe are some of the most far-reaching ever put forward by a UK airport. It places robust limits on key environmental impacts and will not rely on our good faith to keep to them. They will be legally binding and independently monitored."

Members of the public will be able to see the airport's proposals and ask questions at 13 in-person consultations including the following sessions:

Wednesday February 16, 1.30-9pm, Markyate Village Hall, Cavendish Road, Markyate

Friday 4 March 4, 1.30-9pm, Eric Morecambe Centre, Rothamsted Park, Harpenden

Monday 21 March 21, 1.30-9pm, Jubilee Centre, Catherine Street, St Albans

The detailed proposals, consultation materials and a virtual consultation room will go live on the website early on the morning of Tuesday February 8.