St Albans campaigners calls for Luton planes to decrease noise by flying higher

A Ryanair plane at Luton airport

A Ryanair plane at Luton airport - Credit: Archant

Local campaign group St Albans Quieter Skies (STAQS) is anticipating another summer of increased airplane noise as Luton Airport continues its rapid expansion.

Luton Airport

Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

Representing residents of Sandridge, Jersey Farm, Marshalswick and North St Albans, the group has held a number of meetings over the last couple of months, to investigate why the area has suddenly become so badly affected by the blight of plane noise, and explore options that might provide some relief in the future.

Last year, 14.5 million passengers travelled through Luton Airport, making 2016 the busiest year ever in the airport’s history. December saw a 24.6 per cent rise in passenger numbers compared with the same month in 2015.

As the prevailing wind is westerly, the majority of those passengers on this route fly over Sandridge and neighbouring areas. In the third quarter of 2016 there were over 8,000 flights from Luton airport that flew over Sandridge and North St Albans.

This growth in passengers will continue this year, as the airport increases its annual passenger numbers to 18 million.

Worryingly, the greatest proposed increase in flights for 2017 are for between 6am and 7am.

In addition, the recent narrowing of the departure route has concentrated flights over the area.

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As part of its campaign, STAQS has successfully applied to become members of the London Luton Airport Consultative Committee (LLACC), along with other campaign groups such as LADACAN.

Chair of STAQS, Sharon Hollingsworth, said: “Membership of the committee gives us another forum in which to feedback the views of local residents to the airport authorities, and also to be kept informed of activities at the airport which might affect us in the future.”

Also at the LLACC meeting, it was announced that representatives from the airport would be meeting with others from Heathrow, Stansted and RAF Northolt to investigate what changes could be made to flight paths that would allow flights departing Luton to climb higher before they reach St Albans.

This will go some way towards reducing noise levels, but will not be put in place this year.

In the meantime, STAQS will continue to press the airport authorities to work with air traffic control service provider, NATS, to have planes flying higher as soon as possible, to reduce noise in this district.

Members of the public annoyed by noise from Luton Airport are invited to join STAQS. For details please email: or visit its Facebook page STAQS (St Albans Quieter Skies).

• If you are being affected by Luton Airport noise, please lodge a complaint: