Luton Airport refuses to discuss issue of noise from night flights

PUBLISHED: 14:40 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 13:51 06 May 2010

DESPITE the fact that up to 10,000 people could be affected by night-time aircraft noise, Luton Airport is refusing to discuss the problem. John Davis of the watchdog group LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), lives

DESPITE the fact that up to 10,000 people could be affected by night-time aircraft noise, Luton Airport is refusing to discuss the problem.

John Davis of the watchdog group LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), lives in Harpenden and is furious that the two-yearly review of its night-noise policy has been postponed.

The airport's managing director Glyn Jones wrote to LADACAN and other members of the Noise and Track Sub-Committee (NATS) announcing its intention to postpone the review date until March 2010.

Mr Davis said: "We have been told the airport's Master Plan won't be ready by March this year so they wouldn't be in a position to discuss its night-noise policy. But this is irrelevant and is just a flimsy excuse to duck the issue for another year.

"The night-noise policy has been getting steadily worse over the last five years, the area and number of people badly affected both increasing with almost twice the number of night flights since 2000."

That has so angered NATS members that they have decided to go ahead and hold their own meeting on Tuesday, January 27, to produce some recommendations on how the problems of night noise could be addressed.

But Jo-Ann Lloyd of Luton Airport said only seven per cent of their passengers flew between 11pm and 6am and most of those were arrivals. She said low-cost airlines preferred full planes which were easier to fill during the day.

She added: "In 2000 there were just over 10,500 night flights whereas in 2007 there were just 9,900 aircraft movements - a reduction of six per cent."

The figures she used to claim the night-noise footprint was down since 2000 were disputed by Mr Davis who claimed the footprint was up by 66 per cent in the last five years. He said certain noisy aircraft types - banned from use five years ago - made it seem as though there was a reduction in figures from 2000.

Ms Lloyd concurred that around 10,000 people could potentially be affected by night-time noise from aircraft but added that LLA has the lowest night-noise violation limit of all of the major London airports.

Blob/A full meeting of St Albans District Council last night was due to ask the airport to review their current night-noise policy from April 1, 2010, to include an amendment restricting the number of aircraft movements at night. The proposal has come from Sandridge councillor Beric Read.

Blob/ Passenger numbers at Luton Airport have reached an all-time high with a record 10.2 million passing through the terminal in 2008.

This figure represents a 2.5 increase on 2007 while many of its competitors report declining traffic levels.

The additional 250,000 passengers in 2008 are believed to have been attracted by the offer of more flights to existing destinations and the launch of 13 new routes.

An airport spokesperson said: "With a constantly expanding choice of routes we now offer flights to over 90 destinations.

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