Villages set to suffer increase in Luton plane noise due to route changes

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport

An Easyjet plane takes off from Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

Plane noise campaigners have warned that villagers will suffer as a result of Luton Airport’s proposal to alter a flight path across the St Albans district.

Revelations in last week’s Herts Advertiser that the airport has proposed cutting the width of a departure route over the district to two kilometres has had a mixed reaction.

Pilots have been deviating from the centreline of the current three-kilometre-wide flight path, and flying over densely populated parts of St Albans.

Luton wants planes to fly at a higher altitude of 4,000ft as opposed to 3,000ft currently flown over residential areas.

And the centreline itself would be tweaked so the proposed path passes between Markyate and Flamstead, Redbourn and Hemel Hempstead and St Albans and Harpenden.

But the proposed changes - in relation to the Clacton/Dover/Detling departure route to the west - have raised the ire of Kathryn Hurle of Jersey Farm.

She warned that narrowing the swathe to two kilometres would concentrate flights into a smaller area and result in “planes heading for Sandridge, Jersey Farm and the Marshalswick area”.

Other sources have warned that, “it would appear that the changed centreline is going over Sandridge”.

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Kathryn dismissed comments by the airport’s managing director Glyn Jones that the proposal would result in an 80 per cent reduction in the number of people overflown as “creative hype”.

She has called on locals to examine Luton’s proposals and have their say on the alterations, before they are submitted to the Civil Aviation Authority for approval.

John Davis, of Harpenden, who campaigns on behalf of the Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN), said as the proposal only applied to the westerly departure route it would have “no effect” on those afflicted by Luton’s easterly departure path, which plagues the likes of Wheathampstead and Harpenden.

There has been mixed reaction in Harpenden where Neil MacArthur, who launched campaign four years ago, has applauded Luton’s proposal.

He said the revised route would “avoid the town altogether”.

But Colin Weaver, also of Harpenden, warned it was “premature and misleading to regard these changes as a major benefit.

“I am about two miles from the westerly flight path and I can still record 60 decibel noise levels in my back garden.”

He said that given Luton’s plan to nearly double passenger throughput to 18 million a year, “beneficial changes could soon be eaten away by bigger, heavier, noisier and more frequent flights”.

See here to take part in the airport’s consultation.