Luton Airport to review more flight path reductions over St Albans

Luton Airport

Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

Campaigners fighting plane noise in St Albans have welcomed a promise from Luton Airport that it will consider pursuing further reductions to a flight path over the district.

The airport’s operators recently announced a proposal to cut the width of a route over St Albans from three kilometres to two kilometres.

But determined campaigners from Save Our Skies (SOS) have held a meeting with airport representatives in an effort to convince them to reduce the swathe even further.

As a result, Luton has agreed to look at reducing the swathe to 1.5km, and possibly 1km.

Sabra Swinson and Julian Griffiths of SOS said that while the group was “cautiously supportive” of Luton’s initial proposal to trim one kilometre from the flight path, they were concerned locals in north St Albans would continue to be affected by excessive plane noise.

Despite local opposition, the Government has recently effectively given approval for the airport to double passenger numbers to 18 million a year.

Luton has admitted that planes constantly deviate from the centreline of the Clacton/Dover/Detling flight route and fly over densely populated parts of St Albans.

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It is consulting residents about proposals which include having planes fly at a higher altitude of 4,000ft, as opposed to the current 3,000ft over the district.

The airport wants to introduce navigation technology to enable aircraft to fly the centreline more precisely, with the proposed path slightly modified to pass between Markyate and Flamstead, Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead, and St Albans and Harpenden.

Sabra and Julian said they were disappointed that Luton’s representatives had refused to address the impact of the expansion on local roads and rail.

They and other campaigners have longed warned that motorists will face further traffic gridlock as the majority of passengers travel by car, taxi or bus to the airport.

Yet Luton has not assessed the effect on the Harpenden and Wheathampstead sections of Luton Road (A1081) and Lower Luton Road (B653).

Julian and Sabra said: “The airport gave SOS the impression that it maintains its stance that ‘everything outside the wire is someone else’s problem’.

“We pointed out that there is only one rail line running near the airport which is already heavily congested in the morning and evening.”

An airport spokeswoman said that 148 people have so far responded to its consultation.

She added: “By enabling aircraft to consistently fly more accurate flight routes, flight tracks can be routed to avoid centres of population wherever possible, potentially reducing the number of people disturbed by aircraft noise.”

People have until July 9 to comment on the proposed changes. See