The Bim Afolami Interview: No more passenger increases for Luton airport until Harpenden is satisfied
PUBLISHED: 13:32 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:21 20 September 2017
Luton Airport must do more for Harpenden if it wants to increase its passenger limit, Bim Afolami has insisted.
In the latest instalment from his exclusive interview with The Herts Advertiser, Bim Afolami said his postbag has been overflowing with letters about the terminal, which is run by a company Luton council is the majority stakeholder in.
Campaign groups say there has been a three-fold increase in noise complaints to the airport between 2015 and 2016.
A number of complaints have also been made about the airport’s navigational system, which it is claimed failed environmental objectives.
“Anne Main and I are meeting with Sajid Javid, the communities secretary, to ask how we can look at this from a national perspective”, Mr Afolami said.
“We’re meeting with the communities secretary rather than the transport secretary because there is a structural problem where Luton borough council owns the airport and does all its planning, so a lot of residents do not necessarily think Luton borough council has the St Albans district in mind.”
The airport is planning to increase its passenger numbers from 18 million to 25 million over the next 10 years, despite the National Air Traffic Service warning the skies over southern England are becoming over-saturated.
Mr Afolami said: “When they are reportedly coming up to their passenger limit, I fully expect them to apply for a higher limit, so I’m pressing them and saying they do not get to increase their passenger numbers until they do more for residents and deal with the very real problems, such as flight height.
“So I am going to see what the government can do for us, and I have been working with Anne Main on that.”
A planning application was submitted by London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), which owns the airport.
This was given consent by Luton borough council (LBC) in 2014.
LBC insists it treats LLAL as an external organisation, and says it trains staff in how to separate their roles as a local authority the airport operates in, and the local planning authority.
LLAL run community schemes which north Herts and St Albans district benefit from, and Luton council have invited community and voluntary groups to apply for funding via www.blcf.org.uk