The Liberal Democrat candidate for Harpenden and Berkhamsted has described the decision to increase passenger numbers at Luton Airport as "an insult to Harpenden and our villages".

Victoria Collins was reacting to a decision taken by ministers in Westminster to raise the airport's capacity from 18 to 19 million passengers per year.

Victoria Collins began: “The Conservative government’s decision to expand passenger numbers at Luton airport is an insult to our local communities concerned about climate change, plagued by aircraft noise and air pollution and the strain on our local infrastructure. 

“Luton Airport, supported by Luton council, made this application retrospectively because they had already breached legal noise and passenger limits in 2019, and wanted to press on. 

“Despite the admission that there will be more emissions from aircraft and ground transport, and that air quality will be adversely impacted as a result of this expansion the Conservative Secretaries of State have approved the expansion anyway.

Herts Advertiser: Victoria Collins, Lib Dem candidate for Harpenden & Berkhamsted.Victoria Collins, Lib Dem candidate for Harpenden & Berkhamsted. (Image: Courtesy of Victoria Collins)

“With the Prime Minister flying in the face of advice from the Climate Change Committee to halt net airport expansion, and his ministers pushing forward expansion after expansion, this Conservative government can’t be trusted to tackle the climate crisis or stand up for our local communities."

The current Conservative MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, Bim Afolami, previously stated: "I totally disagree with the decision to allow Luton Airport to expand to 19 million passengers per annum.

"My position has not changed.”


The airport's owners Luton Rising also have plans for a second terminal, increasing capacity to 32 million passengers per year.

Inspectors are reviewing this proposal separately, with their examination due to end in February 2024.

Bim Afolami MP continued: "This decision will not stop me fighting against the much bigger expansion that Luton Airport has planned in their attempt to try and create an airport the size of Gatwick – for which Luton will get the gain, and Hertfordshire will get the pain.”

Herts Advertiser: Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami.Hitchin & Harpenden MP Bim Afolami. (Image: Bim Afolami)