Sign our petition: Luton Airport expansion

Luton Airport Campaign Logo

Luton Airport Campaign Logo - Credit: Archant

LUTON Airport’s owner and operator looks likely to plough on with a joint vision to double the airport capacity after submitting an application last week, but the Comet believes it is time to make a stand.

Stephen McPartland with campaign groups, Comet editor Darren Isted and reporter Laura Burge

Stephen McPartland with campaign groups, Comet editor Darren Isted and reporter Laura Burge - Credit: Archant

A planning application and the findings of a public consultation were published last week – and both show the airport owner and operator has not listened to those from neighbouring North Herts and Stevenage, who claim their lives will be made a misery by the expansion.

And, as things stand, the airport owner Luton Borough Council (LBC) will decide whether associated works to accommodate the extra nine million passengers a year should be approved.

The Comet is calling for the decision to be referred to the secretary of state so a decision can be made by an independent body.

With LBC set to benefit financially from any expansion, and being major shareholders, we do not think it should be allowed to make the decision.

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That is why our petition – asking for these measures – goes live TODAY (Tuesday) and we are encouraging all those who have emailed into us over the last year to make a stand and sign it.

MPs Stephen McPartland, Peter Lilley and Oliver Heald are backing the campaign, as well as Hertfordshire County Council, and several North Herts and Stevenage councillors.

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North Herts Friends of the Earth, campaign group Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion (HALE), and Hitchin Forum are also getting on board.

North Herts councillor David Barnard said: “It seems nonsense that a planning authority can decide on its own application, albeit from a different department.

“On behalf of the residents of my ward, which bounds the airport and Luton boundaries, I object most strongly to this process, which to my mind, flies in the face of democracy.”

Luton Airport claims the majority of people responding to the consultation backed its plans.

But it cannot provide postcode breakdowns and 75 per cent of those at roadshow consultations opposed an expansion.

Campaign group HALE also claims many of the responses in favour of the proposals actually came from the airport’s own staff.

Tim Moss, from the group, said: “We are disappointed but not surprised that the airport has sought to misrepresent the outcome of the consultation survey by including large numbers of directly employment connected individuals.”

Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland added: “I am suprised Luton Airport claim that two thirds of local people support their expansion schemes. I imagine that if the responses are looked at on a geographical basis then those from Hertfordshire will almost all be against the expansion.

“The simple fact is that residents in Stevenage and Hertfordshire will get all the noise and none of the alleged economic benefits associated with this massive expansion.”

Both Mr McPartland and Herts County Council have already written to the secretary of state asking for the item to be called in.

• If you would like to sign our petition, click on the link in the top right-hand corner of the page.

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