Herts Ad Comment: Caught in a spin over flights

This week's Herts Ad comment...

This week's Herts Ad comment... - Credit: Archant

Regular readers of the Herts Ad will know our reporters have little respect for PR people who resort to spin when responding to questions on contentious issues.

Take Luton Airport, for instance. We were expecting to chat with the operations director, Neil Thompson, about plane noise.

This was in the wake of a rise in complaints, and local residents protesting that there is enough aircraft noise to “wake the dead” let alone enjoy a decent night’s sleep.

Several are also annoyed at being continually “fobbed off” by the airport, which is owned by Luton borough council, upon lodging complaints.

Our questions were, in a nutshell, what was the airport doing to minimise noise, and why are its planes flying over residential areas, including Harpenden and St Albans?

Unfortunately Neil was unavailable, so a “substantial statement” was promised in his stead. So far, so good.

But the amount of thought and care that went into that PR response was as low as one of Luton’s many planes flying over Herts.

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For a start, it contained the same lines they repeatedly trot out every time there is a query: “the number of people directly overflown has gone down from 13,000 to 3,000”. Well, we looked at the maps showing planes flying straight across Harpenden and other urban areas and scratched our heads at that one.

And a comment that Luton is “listening to and working closely with our neighbours [and] we are actively managing our noise impacts” made us laugh out loud.

Luton Airport, our fed-up, sleep deprived readers deserve clear answers to an airport-related problem.

Pull your head out of the clouds and stop being such a blight upon residents’ lives – if you find it hard sympathising with the noise problem you have created, try diverting a few of your ever-expanding flights over Bedfordshire.