Environmentalists protest outside Luton Airport expansion consultation event in Stevenage
PUBLISHED: 08:30 11 December 2019
Environmentalists gathered to protest against the proposed expansion of Luton Airport outside a consultation event at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on Thursday.
Protesters from Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, LADACAN - Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise - and Stop Luton Airport Expansion joined forces for the peaceful demonstration.
London Luton Airport Limited plans to build a new terminal and increase passenger numbers from the current 18 million per year to 32 million a year - nearly doubling its capacity.
Former Herts county councillor Amanda King, who lives in Stevenage, is now an active member of environmental movement Extinction Rebellion - and most notably arrested during the group's London protests last month for laying down in a road with other campaigners.
Amanda has now set up an Extinction Rebellion group in Stevenage, and the airport expansion demo was its first action.
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She said: "Flying has the highest carbon footprint of all forms of transport. Taking one return flight generates more carbon than people in some countries produce in an entire year.
"Aviation is the fastest growing source of carbon emissions, expected to account for 25 per cent of all emission by 2050."
As well as carbon emissions, the protesters emphasised the airport expansion will also increase noise, traffic congestion and air pollution.
Two Extinction Rebellion Stevenage members dressed in black and wearing black face masks disrupted the consultation and were ejected from the event.
Anthony Aldridge - programme director of Luton Airport Limited - has said "the proposed development would deliver huge economic benefits to Hertfordshire and beyond", including the creation of 5,600 jobs and a £2 billion boon to the economy, but said it is their job "to balance this out with the valid environmental concerns".
He said: "We accept greenhouse gas emissions will be impacted by the expansion, but Luton Airport has shown in the past we are willing to listen to feedback and act accordingly."
If you are interested in joining Extinction Rebellion's Stevenage group, email ExtinctionRebellionStevenage@outlook.com