Protesters cause chaos

PUBLISHED: 12:46 02 February 2006 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 May 2010

The convoy of protestors

The convoy of protestors

PROTESTERS wrought havoc on the roads last week when they converged on Luton Airport in a final effort to halt expansion plans. Beeping horns, flashing lights and cars draped in banners greeted staff and passengers during the morning rush hour last Friday

PROTESTERS wrought havoc on the roads last week when they converged on Luton Airport in a final effort to halt expansion plans.

Beeping horns, flashing lights and cars draped in banners greeted staff and passengers during the morning rush hour last Friday, causing tailbacks around the airport.

Hertfordshire residents from Kimpton, Whitwell and Breachwood Green were driving across the border in convoy, arriving at the Bedfordshire airport that threatens to blight their lives.

Their demonstration was timed to coincide with the last day of public consultation, and campaigners wanted to illustrate the chaos 30 million passengers will bring to the region's roads.

They were also delivering, all together, their letters of opposition to the proposed expansion that would see a second 3km-long runway being built with the capability of handling jumbo jets.

Stephen Tees was one Kimpton resident taking his anti-airport expansion message to Luton Airport operators.

He said: "We're raising the profile of our campaign and I hope it'll make a difference. They can't ignore those of us who have chosen to live in the peace and quiet."

Mr Tees stressed that the protest wasn't his idea of fun but it was something he felt strongly about and was prepared to do.

He continued: "I'm working late tonight until 11pm and I don't really want to be here, but I want to make my point.

"Why should Herts have to put up with this?"

One of the key organisers of the campaign, Peter Liddell, also from Kimpton, said after the protest: "I believe there were about 50 cars in the convoy today and what we wanted to do was show what the impact would be on the roads if 30 million people travel from Luton."

A spokesman from the airport said: "London Luton Airport is pleased that the local community is actively involved in the consultation on our plans for developing the airport.

"We were happy to welcome some members of the public to the airport on Friday who chose to deliver their responses in person.

"Accordingly we made special arrangements to ensure both the safe and expedient delivery of these responses and the convenience and comfort of passengers using the airport.

Peter Lilley MP presented a petition to parliament against Luton Airport's expansion this week.

On it were:

* 7,710 signatures from local residents

* 1,770 opposing text messages

* 1000 letters

He also urged communities to continue their protests and ignore attempts by the airport operators to close down debate. "I urge everyone who has not written already to Luton Airport to do so and copy it to me, which I will then send on to Alistair Darling, the Secretary of State for Transport," he said.

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