Government gives Luton Airport expansion plans the green light

A plane takes off from London Luton Airport

A plane takes off from London Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

Plans to expand Luton Airport which will see up to 150 extra flights a day have been given the go-ahead by the Government, it has been revealed today (Thursday).

Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has decided not to call in the airport’s expansion plans, meaning Luton Borough Council – which owns the facility – can grant planning permission for the project.

The plans, submitted by airport operators London Luton Airport Operations Ltd, will see passenger capacity increase from 12.5 million to 18m a year by 2026, with 55,000 more flights a year – increasing from 102,000 to 157,000 by 2028.

Construction to expand, modernise and remodel the terminal building to accommodate more passengers will take place over three phases, as well as a dual road from the Holiday Inn roundabout to a newly configured road system in front of the central terminal area.

A new parallel taxiway and a multi-storey car park will also be built. The cost of the development will be £100m and all work should be completed by 2026.

Glyn Jones, managing director of Luton Airport, said: “We are delighted that after a thorough process, the council can proceed to grant planning permission for London Luton Airport. We see this as a real vote of confidence in the airport and its future, underlining the determination of our new owners – Ardian and Aena – to develop and radically improve the airport and deliver a better airport experience for our passengers in the years to come.

“The opportunities it brings for the local economy in terms of jobs and investment are significant, and Luton can now press ahead with making its local airport bigger and better, while remaining a good neighbour.”

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Reacting to the news, Andrew Lambourne, from campaign group Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion, said: “The Government is hell-bent on expanding airport capacity in the south east, come what may, and regardless of the fact that 70% of the public who responded to the consultation over Luton Airport expansion said no.

“The airport’s announcement mentions everything except the key local issues – the effect of an original extra nine million passengers per year on the already crowded transport infrastructure, and the effect of noise from 60% more flights.”

For more reaction see next week’s paper