Luton Airport four runway claim ‘crazy’
A THINK tank’s study which claimed a four runway airport could be built at Luton Airport has been labelled as “crazy” by a campaign group,
Conservative-backed Policy Exchange said last week that a four runway airport should be built at either Luton or Heathrow.
Such a development would inevitably impact on neighbouring North Herts’ and Stevenage’s roads, infrastructure and countryside.
Airport owners London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL), which is currently working with operators London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) on plans to double the airport’s capacity, does not think such a plan would work.
“We don’t believe that these plans are workable,” said a spokesman.
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“The idea of positioning a new airport immediately to the south of Luton was first raised in a 2002 masterplan which was subsequently found to be unrealistic, largely because of the cost and the site’s valley location.
“While we recognised the need for a UK hub airport to be located within the south-east of England, neither the topography of this site nor the current airport is suited to the requirement.”
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It added: “LLAL and LLAOL are currently solely focused on a joint proposal to increase capacity at the airport from around 10 million to circa 18 million passengers per year, from the existing single runway and within the current boundary of the site. We are currently consulting on this proposal. We do not believe that a second runway at Luton is viable.”
Campaign group Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion (HALE), which is also opposed to LLAL’s and LLAOL’s current plans to increase the airport capacity, slammed the proposals.
It claimed that the area did not have the right facilities or infrastructure.
Andrew Lambourne, co-founder, said: “Just when we thought airport expansion proposals could not get any crazier, they have.
“Quite apart from the almost incredible arrogance of the proposals in dismissing at a stroke the interests of the local communities, they miss such obvious practical issues that it’s clear they’ve been produced by a lot of web surfing rather than an actual first-hand appreciation of the area being discussed and its existing infrastructure. One could almost imagine the date was April 1, not October 5.”
Policy Exchange, which said that an airport expansion was essential to cement itself as Europe’s number one hub, did say in its report that an expansion of Heathrow Airport was favoured over Luton.
Meanwhile, LLAL and LLAOL’s public consultation ends tomorrow (Friday).
To have a last minute say, email email@example.com or send comments to Project LLA Consultation, London Luton Airport Operations Limited, Navigation House, Airport Way, Luton, Beds, LU2 9LY.
Once comments have been collated, a planning application will be submitted to Luton Borough Council, which owns the airport through LLAL.
Calls are currently being made by campaigners to get the application called in by Central Government.