Campaigners call for MP to speak out on Luton Airport expansion

CAMPAIGNERS fighting the mooted major expansion of Luton Airport fear Harpenden is “going soft” on the proposal.

Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN), a residents’ group acting on behalf of St Albans district and its neighbours, wants Harpenden to “wake up” to the airport’s plans.

The airport wants an extra 160 flights every day and one every 90 seconds at peak times.

It held a public meeting on its revised Masterplan, its blueprint outlining the scheme, in Harpenden on Tuesday (11).

However LADACAN is concerned about the impact of additional flights.

Its members believe the proposal represents a significant threat to quality of life in Harpenden and other local communities from increased noise, pollution and traffic.

They have called on Harpenden town council and MP for Hitchin and Harpenden Peter Lilley to clearly and unambiguously oppose the scheme.

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LADACAN spokesman John Davis said proposals to double passengers to 18 million a year were not being taken seriously enough by either the town council or the Harpenden Society.

Mr Davis said: “Planes routinely overfly Harpenden, especially when the wind is in the east.

“Harpenden needs to wake up to the potentially enormous impact of these expansion proposals and to make its voice heard loud and clear before it is drowned out by the noise of planes.”

But claims that the council is “going soft” have been rejected by former town mayor, Cllr Michael Weaver, who has followed Luton’s proposal closely.

He said: “We are not negative as there are advantages in having an airport close by, and Harpenden residents like that. But we don’t want out-of-control expansion.

“We have to look at it from every angle. We haven’t gone soft, as there are concerns about night flights and noise.

“One of our biggest concerns is the infrastructure, particularly the impact on Lower Luton Road.”

Cllr Weaver added that there was not much the council could do until the airport submitted its formal planning application.

n Following complaints about the airport snubbing St Albans during its series of public exhibitions on its masterplan, Luton has now set a date for its “road show” to come to the city from 3-8pm on Wednesday, September 26, at the old Town Hall, Market Place.