WEEK TWO: The Comet’s Luton Airport campaign takes off

A GROUP set up especially to fight plans to expand Luton Airport has backed The Comet’s campaign.

The Comet launched a campaign in a bid to get people in Stevenage and North Herts to make their views known on the Luton Airport expansion.

It comes after London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) announced plans to double the number of passengers using the facility, from 9m a year to 18m a year, with the possibility of increasing that to 30m in the future.

Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion (HALE), which formed after the plans were announced, joined The Comet’s campaign.

There are fears in Comet country over the impact the expansion could have on residents living in surrounding areas.

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Co-founder Andrew Lambourne said: “We’re fully supportive of the campaign. The more people that get involved and become aware of what’s being proposed and what impact there will be, the better.

“We are keeping an eye out on what is happening. Anyone who wishes to join us can. We are trying to get people in North Herts to let their views known.

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“We had a launch meeting last Thursday, and had more than 100 people come.”

The group is also seeking to get Hertfordshire parish and district councils, as well as the county council, to speak out on the proposals.

But Mr Lambourne reiterated that HALE recognised the additional employment would be a good thing for Luton and surrounding areas.

He added: “We are putting up a serious attempt to get people to come up with other ideas.”

North Herts district councillor David Barnard, who has also lent his support to the campaign, said that the council was not against growth.

But he added that there were concerns over the proposals, and that employment figures had been exaggerated.

“What’s really worrying is that Luton Borough Council (LBC) own the airport and London Luton Airport Ltd are the leaseholders. Technically, although they say they are different, LBC will be granting a planning application on their own application. It’s coming in through a different name, but they’re all wearing the same hat,” he told The Comet.

“I would have hoped that an application which is so far reaching and has effects on North Hertfordshire and its neighbours would want to be scrutinised by the secretary of state before a decision is made.

“We as a council will put together our concerns and unanswered questions and certainly I will be asking the people of North Herts at least to write individual letters as part of the consultation.”

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