Harpenden campaigners continue to fight for reduced aircraft noise

Luton Airport

Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

A Harpenden campaign group is calling on Luton Airport to reduce the impact of air traffic noise and pollution on residents living below flight paths ahead of any expansion.

HarpendenSky urged MP Bim Afolami to raise the recently announced airport expansion plan during a recent debate in Parliament, and raised concerns that there is a conflict of interest between Luton borough council owning the airport and being the planning authority.

The debate confirmed that the decision on planning would be made centrally by the planning inspectorate and not by the borough council.

HarpendenSky is also waiting for the results of the CAA’s (Civil Aviation Authority) annual performance review, which includes tracking the number of noise complaints made since the introduction of the RNAV navigation system in 2015, which narrowed the flight path and concentrated noise over a smaller area.

The campaigners are supporting actions put in place by the airport to reduce the impact of aircraft noise. This includes the Luton Airspace Change Programme (ACP), which plans to further narrow the swathe of air traffic and double the altitude of flights over the rail line in south Harpenden.

According to HarpendenSky, Luton Airport is also in discussion with Heathrow and other airports to enable more westerly departure planes to turn west, away from Harpenden, rather than east as they do currently. This will be complemented by new ‘RNP’ technology that will enable more precise navigation.

EasyJet and Wizz Air are phasing in new NEO aircraft, which are 50 per cent quieter than existing planes, but it will take time before the entire fleet is changed to NEO.

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A spokesman for Luton Airport, in response to the campaign to reduce aircraft noise, said: “We continue to work with the community and all of our partners to explore ways of minimising the impact of aircraft noise.

“This includes working with representatives from local authorities and community groups to make improvements to existing flightpaths, and with airlines, to introduce newer, quieter aircraft to LLA as quickly as possible.”