The Comet launches campaign in light of Luton Airport expansion

PUBLISHED: 09:58 23 February 2012

MPs Oliver Heald and Stephen McPartland are backing the campaign.

MPs Oliver Heald and Stephen McPartland are backing the campaign.

Archant

NOW is the time to raise your objections over plans to DOUBLE the number of passengers using Luton Airport.

The Comet is launching a campaign to get people in Stevenage and North Herts to comment on plans by London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), which propose to increase the number of passengers using the facility.

A public consultation has just got underway, and we want to make sure that as many people as possible in Comet country have their say.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland and North East Herts MP Oliver Heald have joined in the campaign, and are encouraging people to get involved in the consultation.

Mr McPartland said: “I am leading this campaign because I know many local people value Luton Airport but are very concerned about the new plans they are consulting on. This is a huge increase and we are already suffering from the noise generated by overflying aircraft.

“I am concerned that the projections always factor in quieter aircraft, but from my own experience of living in Stevenage and directly under the flight path, the planes do not seem particularly quiet to me when they are coming in to land, or to the many constituents who contact me about aircraft noise, particularly in the summer months.

“It is important that any increase in capacity has to include noise reduction measures, so our quality of life locally is not affected.”

Mr McPartland also said that he would be contacting the secretary of state for transport to ensure any planning decisions will be comprehensively reviewed.

“I am also not convinced that the consultation process is fair as Luton Borough Council owns the airport and they will be responsible for agreeing the planning permission for it to expand,” he added.

“This is a direct conflict of interest and the plans must be fully scrutinised and decided by an independent party.

“I would urge all Comet readers to get involved in the consultation process so the views of all local people are taken into account before we have a plane flying over Stevenage every two minutes.”

Plans, which were revealed last week, include an expansion of the aircraft and taxi standing areas, new road access, extensions to the passenger terminal and a multi-storey car park.

The airport currently has a capacity of 9.6 million people per annum, but it wants to increase that to 18 million.

Mr Heald said: “Many residents in north Letchworth and across the villages of North East Hertfordshire already raise concerns with me about aircraft noise as planes come to and from Luton Airport.

“People tolerate this only because of the convenience of having a local airport, but they do not want a big expansion. We should not forget that our roads are already very busy and we do not want to suck in even more vehicles to our area.”

Exhibitions have already been held in Hitchin and Whitwell, and Stevenage and Breachwood Green have theirs coming up on February 27 and March 25 respectively.

To take part in the consultation, visit www.futureLuToN.co.uk, call 0844 2250003, or post your comments to RSUB-UEZB-SYXJ, GL Hearn, 20 Soho Square, London W1D 3QW.

The Comet also wants to hear all of your views. Send comments to laura.burge@thecomet.net or The Comet Newspaper, Bank House, Primett Road, Stevenage, SG1 3EE.

You can also let us know your views on this issue by texting TC VIEWS, followed by your comment, name and postcode to 80058. We will print a selection of the best in next week’s Comet. Each message cost 25p.

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