Luton Airport plan ‘unacceptable’ say MPs and groups

Luton Airport

Luton Airport - Credit: Archant

MPs have criticised a report which proposes building three further runways at Luton Airport, stating they will fight any expansion on any scale at the facility.

The report, by London firm Weston Williamson+Partners, has been submitted to the Airports Commission, and suggests building rail links through Stevenage and relocating neighbouring villagers to accommodate an expansion.

It comes after proposals last year from airport owner London Luton Airport Ltd, which announced it wanted to double capacity to 18 million passengers annually.

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland said: “This is a ridiculous report that is designed to cause maximum distress and start negotiations on a second runway. It is a case of suggesting the bad option is four so local authorities should settle for two runways.

“I am already working with the Comet to campaign against further expansion at Luton Airport, which could see planes flying over Stevenage every few minutes. I believe it is unacceptable that Luton Borough Council, which owns the lease on the airport, is allowed to effectively grant itself planning permission.”

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North East Herts MP Oliver Heald also said he was concerned at the latest report.

“I would be very concerned at this proposal, not just because of the loss of the villages involved, but also the huge increase in building, noise, traffic and damage to our local environment,” he told the Comet.

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“This would turn rural North Hertfordshire into a concrete jungle.”

And Hitchin MP Peter Lilley said: “This is a ludicrous proposal which will never get off the ground in any sense of the word.”

Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) labelled the proposals “a pipe-dream”.

A spokesman said: “Proposing that this could be achieved with no impact on most of the surrounding communities or the key arterial transport infrastructure is beggars belief.

“The diagram shows the four runways pointing like a gun-barrel at Stevenage, over which heavy jets would fly both on arrival and departure, making life intolerable for residents. And of course the transport infrastructure of M1, A1(M) and railway links to London is not currently empty and awaiting a massive increase in airport traffic - it is already straining to accommodate existing traffic levels.”

Mr McPartland has agreed to write to the secretary of state about a petition the Comet ran opposing the airport’s plans for expansion.

The petition, which came to an end last month, attracted 3,870 online signatures and 90 on paper.

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