May 25 2013 Latest news:
By Laura Burge
Monday, March 26, 2012
PLANS to expand Luton Airport are “ludicrous”, claims Herts County Council.
The county council, which has responded to the pre-planning application for the Luton Airport expansion, is also calling for the secretary of state or an independent body to make the final decision on the plans, and not Luton Borough Council (LBC).
London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) wants to double the number of people using the airport annually, and has proposed that 18m passengers will use the facility.
Cllr Richard Thake, cabinet member for environment, said: “This proposal could potentially have a huge impact on the lives of tens of thousands of people directly affected by the airport, particularly in terms of noise and congestion.
“Given that a planning application is imminent, I am surprised how little intelligence accompanies this consultation. As a consequence, the county council is reserving its position on all matters until it has access to crucial supporting evidence.”
The county council said that it believed the application should be determined by Central Government’s independent Infrastructure Planning Commission, which considers applications for nationally significant projects.
“If it does not fall to the IPC to determine, I ask individuals and communities to press the secretary of state to call in any forthcoming planning application for the government to determine,” added Cllr Thake.
LLAL will submit a planning application either in April or May. More detailed evidence, including jobs, traffic implications and environmental impacts will accompany that application.
London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL), the airport operators, has submitted an alternative application to LLAL, and is currently running a consultation.
“This is thoroughly confusing for everyone,” said Cllr Thake.
“The owner and the operator of the airport are independently developing and consulting on entirely separate and inevitably conflicting proposals at the same airport. This will be compounded when two planning applications are submitted separately to the borough for determination.
“This whole situation is ludicrous and bound to cause confusion among concerned communities. I would urge the borough and the operator to consider their respective positions and - regardless of the merits or otherwise of growth at the airport - come forward with a mutually acceptable proposal.
“I urge anyone with an interest in the airport to be vigilant and engage with the consultation process on any planning application, whether from Luton Borough Council or the operator.”
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