St Albans climate activists condemn airport expansion after Luton is found to have poorest air quality in UK

PUBLISHED: 11:19 08 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 08 January 2020

Extinction Rebellion held a demonstration against Luton Airport's expansion in St Albans. Picture: Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion held a demonstration against Luton Airport's expansion in St Albans. Picture: Extinction Rebellion

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St Albans climate activists are calling for Luton Airport’s expansion to be stopped after Luton was found to have the worst air quality in the UK.

Luton Airport's expansion has come under criticism after the town was found to have the worst air quality in the UK. Picture: DANNY LOOLuton Airport's expansion has come under criticism after the town was found to have the worst air quality in the UK. Picture: DANNY LOO

According to a report by Air Quality News, researchers measured pollutants in the atmosphere against the 146 most populated urban areas. While the level of emissions released in Luton was as expected, the size of the town meant that the pollution is compacted around a smaller area.

Bethany Mogie from St Albans Extinction Rebellion said: "The news that Luton has the poorest air quality in the UK is very worrying.

"Extinction Rebellion has been demanding an urgent shift away from the fossil fuels that cause this pollution, and which continue to drive the climate emergency."

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Luton Airport is set to expand to 32 million passengers per year by 2039, and last month Extinction Rebellion held a demonstration against the expansion in St Albans city centre.

Bethany added: "The expansion would damage air quality even more, and bring still-greater risks to asthma sufferers living in the area. It would also make it far more likely that the government will fail to comply with its own inadequate target to become carbon neutral by 2050.

"We now call on Luton Borough Council to show they take these air quality findings and the wellbeing of the population seriously, by announcing an immediate halt to their damaging airport expansion plans."

Luton Borough Council's airport company London Luton Airport Ltd has concluded a consultation on their proposals for sustainable growth, and is now analysing the feedback received. The council also hopes to finalise an Air Quality Strategy for the whole town in 2020.

Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for climate change, said: "We continually strive to improve the air quality for the wellbeing of people of the town and have made a public commitment to carry out more urgent work to tackle climate change.

"As part of this commitment we quickly established a cross party working group - The Climate Change Action Board - which is working with key partners and organisations to urgently drive forward a robust action plan to move Luton to zero carbon before the government's target of 2050."

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