North Herts climate activists take stand against Luton Airport expansion
PUBLISHED: 11:30 06 November 2019 | UPDATED: 12:27 06 November 2019
North Herts environmental groups have taken to the streets in protest against the proposed expansion of Luton Airport.
An alliance of campaigners - including members of the local Green Party, Extinction Rebellion North Herts, and Friends of the Earth - are co-ordinating community action against proposals to build a new terminal and increase airport passengers to 32 million per year.
Protesters convened outside Hitchin Town Hall yesterday, where representatives of Luton Airport met with residents in the latest of 34 consultation events scheduled before the new year.
Another cluster of protesters stormed Letchworth town centre on Saturday afternoon with drums and Hi-Vis jackets, in an effort organised by environmental campaigner Vicky Wyer.
Vicky said the expansion at Luton would mean "additional flights, additional buildings and additional roads for the airport. It will mean additional noise, traffic and air pollution for everyone - including Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth and North Herts villages."
She urged the public to take action against the "catastrophic effects of rushing more aircrafts over our villages, squeezing more travellers onto our streets and moving a mature nature reserve from one place to another".
London Luton Airport Limited has conceded that the expansion "is likely to result in additional greenhouse gas emissions which would contribute to climate change".
It is also estimated the new expansion will blight 450 new homes in North Herts with noise pollution.
Anthony Aldridge - programme director of Luton Airport Limited - 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 Mr Aldridge also admitted that it is their job "to balance this out with the valid environmental concerns".
He said: "We accept that greenhouse gas emissions will be impacted by the expansion, but Luton Airport have shown in the past that we are willing to listen to feedback and act accordingly."
Further consultation events will be hosted in Letchworth, at The Broadway Hotel, on November 26, and at Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre on December 5. Residents can share their views online by visiting futureluton.llal.org.uk.