Campaigners accuse Luton Airport of ‘misleading’ noise complainants

Harpenden Sky campaigners have accused Luton Airport of misleading noise complaint statistics. Pictu

Harpenden Sky campaigners have accused Luton Airport of misleading noise complaint statistics. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

A Harpenden anti-noise campaign group has claimed Luton Airport’s latest noise complaint figures are “misleading”.

Luton Airport published their noise complaint statistics for 2018 last week, showing a 46 per cent drop in complaints from 2017.

Harpenden Sky chairman Neil MacArthur said: “We protest strongly about the misleading information from Luton Airport Operations concerning a drop in 2018 noise complaints.

“The airport was unable to handle emailed noise complaints for several weeks in 2018, which led to the need for Luton Airport Operations to publish an apology. “As our members did not receive a response then, they gave up complaining as there was clearly no one listening.

“This deficiency on the part of the airport in responding to noise complaints cannot then be used as the basis for suggesting there are fewer complainants.

“It is definitely not the case as the Luton Airport noise mitigation efforts have so far led to no relief whatsoever.”

In September last year, Luton Airport attributed the delay in responding to noise complaints to departmental changes and the busy period over the summer.

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Mr MacArthur said: “The Luton Airport Operations lack of resources to respond to noise complaints happened during the peak noise complaint summer season and therefore had the most impact on persuading potential complainants to give-up as there was ‘no one there’.

“Actually Luton Airport Operations should have published a note to the effect that noise complaints were not being managed in the Quarterly Monitoring Report.”

The 2018 figures showed that 68 per cent of all noise complaints were made by the same 10 individuals, out of 691 complaints in total.

A Luton Airport spokesman said: “Having spoken to the Flight Operations Team I can confirm that during the summer period of 2018 the airport did experience a delay in responding to some complaints, due to an unavoidable short notice resource issue.

“However, far from not listening, every complaint that we received was logged, reported and individuals notified of an anticipated delay to our standard response time of 8 working days.

“All complaints received an official response from the airport once they had been processed.”