Warning that Luton Airport expansion would mean 160 extra flights a day

PUBLISHED: 18:37 06 September 2012

Plans to expand Luton Airport to carry 30 million passengers a year

Plans to expand Luton Airport to carry 30 million passengers a year

Ben Hodson 2009

ST ALBANS residents have been warned that Luton Airport’s controversial proposed expansion will mean an average 160 extra flights every day and one every 90 seconds at peak times.

Campaigners have criticised the airport’s revised Masterplan, released on Monday (3), summarising hopes of doubling passenger numbers to 18 million a year.

The airport also wants to improve its terminal, widen access roads, add more aircraft stands and extend taxiways.

Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion (HALE) said the document confirmed a proposed 58 per cent increase in flights by 2031 despite the airport’s “cramped site”.

Flamstead resident Andrew Lambourne, co-founder of HALE, warned airplane noise would increase as a result.

In January the airport admitted receiving more than 7,000 emails and voicemails from hundreds of households in Flamstead and Redbourn complaining about noise over a period of just six months last year.

Blasting the blueprint for its lack of detail, Andrew asked how local traffic congestion would be improved should passenger numbers double.

Tim Moss, also of HALE, said the plan had been “window-dressed to look friendly”.

He asked: “Are they going to insulate homes in Hertfordshire, which is where the most noise goes?

“How do you noise-insulate your garden if you want to have a barbecue?

“The levels of noise become intolerable at busy times.”

Residents’ group Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) said members were concerned about plans to boost the number of annual flights from 99,299 in 2011 to 157,000 by 2031.

Chairman of LADACAN Richard Pilkington said: “Expansion on this scale would have a massive negative impact on a large number of people, quite out of proportion to the supposed benefits to the few.”

He said that nearby communities already had more than enough aircraft noise and pollution to cope with, and that the airport had “forgotten” that its neighbours included schools and homes.

The airport is holding public meetings on the Masterplan from 3pm to 8pm today (Thursday) at Flamstead Village Hall, and for the same period at Harpenden Public Halls next Tuesday, September 11.

But with no date set for the “road show” to come to St Albans, another local campaign group, Save Our Skies, has criticised the airport for snubbing the city.

Consultation on the revised blueprint ends on October 12, with a planning application expected to be submitted to airport owner Luton borough council in November this year.

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