County council fears Luton Airport expansion’s impact on Hertfordshire

A Wizz Air plane comes in to land at Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO

A Wizz Air plane comes in to land at Luton Airport. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Luton Airport’s expansion plans are anticipated to cause “serious problems” on the roads, according to Herts county council.

The airport is planning to expand to accommodate 32 million passengers per year (mppa), which has led to concerns from campaigners in St Albans and Harpenden about the impact of noise pollution on residents.

Herts county council has identified ensuring sustainable transport links to and from the airport as its key challenge, to mitigate the pollution and traffic congestion caused by people travelling by car.

Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and economy, said: “Like many others who responded to London Luton Airport Limited’s (LLAL) informal consultation last year, we continue to have serious concerns about the impact of aircraft noise on nearby towns and villages.

“We’re also concerned about how an extra 14 million passengers a year will actually get to the airport without this causing serious problems on Hertfordshire’s roads.

“With up to 100,000 new homes expected to be built in Herts over the next 15 years we’re already expecting a 20 per cent increase in traffic on our roads if we don’t take action.

“We need to make sure that the airport has proper sustainable transport plans that encourage people travelling to and from the airport to use more sustainable options, such as bus and rail.”

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LLAL chair cllr Andy Malcolm said: “In our judgment, targeting growth to 32 mppa is the right choice at this stage to help us move towards making the best use of our existing single runway in line with government policy, and getting the balance right between delivering economic benefits and managing environmental impacts.

“It remains our assessment and aspiration that London Luton Airport can deliver a maximum capacity of 36-38 mppa in the longer term.

“Noise and surface access were two of the key issues raised by respondents to our first public consultation last summer, and our technical advisers are already working closely with a wide range of stakeholders, including Herts county council, to make sure that our evolving strategies to minimise and mitigate impacts will be the best they can be.”