By Laura Burge
Sunday, August 19, 2012
A PLANNING application to double the number of people using Luton Airport will be submitted this autumn, after the airport owners and operators signed a deal this week.
Owners London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) and operators London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) announced earlier this summer that they would be looking to submit a joint plan to expand the airport.
Originally, both had announced separate proposals for airport expansion plans.
A contract was this week signed between the two, meaning that LLAOL will continue to manage, operate and develop the airport until 2031. A planning application will now be submitted this autumn.
But concerns remain from campaign groups and residents that the expansion would have a negative impact on neighbouring North Herts and Stevenage, as well as other areas in the county.
Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion (HALE) co-founder Andrew Lambourne said: “These plans clearly demonstrate that all [they are] interested in is milking the airport for cash.
“Sustainability is about using natural resources more slowly than nature can replenish them in order to avoid environmental damage, not hastening the pace of depletion of fossil fuel and further increasing the massive carbon footprint of Luton Airport.”
A London Luton Airport consultative committee meeting was held earlier this week, but another campaign group has accused the airport of failing to listen to residents there.
John Davis, from Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN), said “It’s unbelievable that the most serious
impact of these proposals – namely significantly increased noise over local communities around the airport – was not even mentioned.
“A flight leaving every 90 seconds would result in continuous noise over people’s heads starting at 6 in the morning – hardly the actions of a good neighbour.”
The operator and owner want to double the number of people using the airport annually from about nine million currently to 18 million.
They say that the work will take place within the existing boundary and using the existing runway.
Cllr Robin Harris, chairman of LLAL, said: “Given London Luton Airport’s position as the single biggest asset owned by the people of Luton, this agreement and its potential benefits for wealth in the region’s economy are momentous.
“LLAL is delighted at this step forward and at the benefits it will bring to London Luton Airport and to the region’s residents.”