St Albans MP appeals for Luton Airport plan to be called in by Secretary of State

AMBITIOUS proposals to expand Luton Airport should be called in for a full investigation by the Secretary of State according to St Albans MP Anne Main.

She has written to Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Localities and Local Government, urging a full impact assessment and examination of the so-called Luton Masterplan which, it is feared, will have a knock-on effect on both Harpenden and St Albans.

The airport wants an extra 160 flights each day and one every 90 seconds at peak times despite concerns across the St Albans district about increased noise, pollution and traffic.

In her request for the Masterplan to be called in, Mrs Main said she had recently met with the managing director of the airport and had made her concerns about the proposal clear.

She talked about the nuisance noise her constituents experienced as a result of aircraft as well as rerouting or path changes.

Mrs Main went on: “Aircraft noise is a constant aggravation to those who live under airport flight paths and after conducting some research I was astounded to learn that firstly aircraft noise is explicitly excluded from general noise nuisance legislation.

“Furthermore any airport other than Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, noise created is the responsibility of the individual owners/operators and noise at airports is considered a local matter best dealt with at the local level.”

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She pointed out that as Luton was not subject to the same restrictions as the three main airports in the South East and was applying to become a main transport hub, there should be a full impact evaluation and call in.

Mrs Main said she appreciated the need for increased airport capacity in the South East but the Luton proposal would increase traffic in the area, particularly around the already congested M25 and M1.

She added: “Luton Airport is already running at twice the capacity approved in the proposal of 1998 and I am regularly contacted by constituents regarding aircraft noise.

“The proposal for Luton is a major decision which will have huge repercussions for my constituency.”