Green Party protests Luton Airport expansion
- Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO
Members of St Albans Green Party protested outside a consultation on Luton Airport’s plans to expand to accommodate 38 million passengers.
The drop-in consultation session was held on Friday, July 13, at the Jubilee Centre in Catherine Street, and was hosted by London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL). Outside the consultation, Green Party protesters ‘binned’ symbolic paper planes to show the reasons why they believe the expansion plans should be rejected, including noise, climate damage, pollution and increased road and rail traffic.
They also echoed the views of many anti-noise campaign groups by branding the consultation as ‘meaningless’, as it offered no option to reject the consultation plans outright.
Green councillor Simon Grover said: “The impact of quadrupling the size of this airport will be huge - on local people and on the fight against climate change. It could change the face of our district. We must oppose it.”
Green Party member Jill Mills added that noise pollution from aircraft has increased recently, and warned that if plans go ahead “there will be no let up” from aircraft noise. The Greens argue that the expansion will make the overcrowded rail line even worse, and that there are better ways to create jobs for local people.
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Luton Airport, which is celebrating its 80th birthday this year, is currently nearing the completion of its current £160 million redevelopment project. The project will upgrade the terminal building and increase annual capacity to 18 million passengers by 2020.
Upgrades to the terminal include a new boarding pier, eight new boarding gates, and an expanded security search area. Since the start of the year, more than 30 new shops and restaurants have opened, which has more than doubled the retail space.
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Aviation minister Baroness Sugg said: ““The opening of LLA’s newly-expanded and upgraded terminal later this year is a fitting culmination of its eightieth birthday celebrations.
“Aviation is a sector which is hugely important to the UK economy, and sustained investment is vital to ensure that we maintain a leading position on the international stage.
“I would like to take this opportunity to wish LLA a very happy birthday.”