As temperatures dropped, a chilly week started with a frosty inquiry hearing into the expansion of Luton Airport.

Groups across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire prepared to state their case. But just as the public hearings got underway, I called for the inquiry itself to be put on ice.

The airport has applied to increase its capacity from 18 million to a whopping 32 million passengers per year.

Herts Advertiser: St Albans MP Daisy CooperSt Albans MP Daisy Cooper (Image: Courtesy of Daisy Cooper)

Expansion will bring both a big increase in flights and road traffic congestion, and it’s why I’ve been fighting it since before I was elected, and even raising it in my Maiden Speech in 2020.

People living underneath the flight paths in St Albans and neighbouring areas already experience a negative impact on their health and wellbeing which would only get worse.

The airport has repeatedly breached their legal noise and passenger limits since 2019 with impunity and the promised introduction of newer, quieter aircraft has been broken with no discernible improvements.

Claims about economic impact and job creation are also pretty spurious. Luton airport has not delivered the jobs it promised years ago, and the sector has had one of the largest falls in wages in the country.

Savings are going into the pockets of shareholders, not into the pay packets of employees. We want new well-paid jobs from green technologies and they’re not to be found at the airport.

But fundamentally, Luton's expansion would make it much harder to fight the climate crisis.

The 2019 Advice from the government’s own Climate Change Committee is crystal clear: to meet the legally binding 2050 “net zero target” there should be no net expansion of capacity.

Aviation is likely to be the single largest producer of carbon emissions by 2050 and fuel efficiency measures are estimated to allow only a 20 per cent reduction in emissions at best.

As a result, climate experts have told the government that no airport expansions should go ahead until a framework is in place to reduce emissions overall.

The same experts have said that a framework should be put in place by the end of 2024. I agree and have formally requested that the inspectors pause their inquiry until then.

It’s cold this week but 2023 is on track to be the hottest year on record. What happens next remains to be seen.