Luton Airport noise reduction plan discussed at public meeting

London Luton Airport. Picture: Danny Loo

London Luton Airport. Picture: Danny Loo - Credit: Archant

A public meeting was held to discuss Luton Airport’s plans to reduce aircraft noise over St Albans and the surrounding area following a hike in complaints from residents.

However residents who attended the meeting in Putteridge Berry on Thursday, June 29 said the only way to reduce noise would be for the airport to scale down its operations.

Campaign groups which attended the meeting included LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) and STAQS (St Albans Quieter Skies).

The airspace change proposals look to overcome the problems caused by the introduction of the navigation system RNAV, which concentrated aircraft over a narrow flight path.

The concentration, combined with an increased number of flights, has led to noise disturbance for communities living directly below the flight paths.

Luton Airport flight operations manager James Dontas said: “We made a commitment to involve local communities right from the start and throughout this complex process, going above and beyond the current regulatory requirement.

“The meeting on June 29 was designed to provoke initial discussion and debate to help establish the principles behind any new flight path designs and was a very positive start.

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“We always aim to work constructively with our local communities to help strike the right balance between minimising the impact of our operations while maximising the positive social and economic benefits of a successful local airport.”

Andrew Lambourne, of LADACAN, said: “The airport operators now appear keen to engage with the community about how to solve the problems created by the noise of significantly more flights being concentrated and held at low altitude as they pass over our countryside, villages and towns.

“The meeting was a slightly ham-fisted way to start, by bundling people into a room and bouncing them into making suggestions on criteria which might be important in designing new routes, but we hope they will learn more about the art of effective engagement as they go along.

“Fundamentally, unless Luton Airport is forced to scale down its operations again, we are stuck with a growing problem of noise and pollution from more and more flights.”