Luton Airport bid to relax noise limits of flights over St Albans and Harpenden

Luton airport

Luton airport - Credit: Archant

A push by Luton Airport to relax noise limits during its expansion would result in “significant disturbance” to St Albans residents, the district council has been warned.

The airport has asked its owner, Luton borough council, to change a condition on the planning permission it granted in 2013, to lessen stringent noise limits.

But St Albans district council, which is to discuss the proposed change at its planning referrals meeting tonight, has been warned in an officer’s report that it would “increase noise over and beyond levels that were previously considered unacceptable”.

Luton Airport is worried that it will struggle to meet one of the conditions attached to its approval, and that airlines found exceeding noise levels will face more penalties.

Within six months of starting its expansion - to nearly double passenger numbers - the airport is supposed to reduce noise from all aircraft, to lessen the impact upon neighbouring residents.

Luton is concerned that with the new limits in place, aircraft will violate limits many times, day and night.

Instead, it wants the reduction to affect planes flown overnight only - between 11pm and 7am.

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It adds that the current condition penalises operators for flying planes that meet the latest international noise standards.

But, the district council’s report says, there are already planes exceeding current noise limits.

Pointing out that Luton Airport has had ample time to prepare for noise limit changes coming into affect, the report adds: “It simply seems that the operator only appears to be seeking to vary the condition now because a trigger date for new, more stringent noise limits is approaching.”