Dacorum Borough Council’s Overview & Scrutiny Committee opposes expansion of Luton
Dacorum Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed the expansion of Luton Airport on 6th March and gave it a clear thumbs down. Committee Members voted to recommend that the Council object to the expansion of the airport to 18m passengers per annum, and were particularly concerned about the noise impact that would be caused by the extension of the operations – particularly during the night. They expressed the following concerns, among others: * the expansion needs to be taken forward in an environmentally sensitive and sustainable way; * all impacts must be properly accounted and mitigated for; and * the proposal must minimise disturbance to local communities. Any expansion must be underpinned by effective noise and environmental controls.
It’s official: Dacorum Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee discussed the expansion of Luton Airport on 6th March and gave it a clear thumbs down.
Committee Members voted to recommend that the Council object to the expansion of the airport to 18m passengers per annum, and were particularly concerned about the noise impact that would be caused by the extension of the operations – particularly during the night.
The minutes of the Committee should be on the Dacorum Borough Council website by the end of this week.
HALE welcomes this news as a clear signal that local communities are really concerned about the very real negative impacts that such a huge expansion in capacity would have both on quality of life and on transport infrastructure. The sheer number of replies on our site from people concerned about noise, night flights and traffic problems make the point very clearly.
Will Luton Borough Council listen to what the community is saying ?
Dacorum Borough Council
The Dacorum Borough Council
Strategic Planning and Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny Committee Agenda item on the subject of Luton Airport expansion, for their meeting on 6th March 2012, is at
Strategic Planning and Regeneration Overview & Scrutiny
Appendix 1 – draft London Luton Airport expansion response to consultation
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on a pre application consultation on behalf of
the owner, London Luton Airport Limited. This is being pursued through the futureLuToN:Optimisation project.
We would respond as follows:
The Council is very mindful of the potential impact on the Borough of future proposed
changes to the operation and capacity of London Luton Airport (LLA). We note that the
planned expansion from 9.5 million passengers per annum (mppa) (2011) to 18 mppa
(2024/25)) will increase numbers to a level currently equivalent to that served by
Stansted Airport. Dacorum lies close to the airport, much of its landscape is of high
quality, and many residents are already directly affected by overflight of urban areas
and associated noise and night flight issues.
The Council expresses the following concerns:
the expansion needs to be taken forward in an environmentally sensitive and
all impacts must be properly accounted and mitigated for; and
the proposal must minimise disturbance to local communities.
Any expansion must be underpinned by effective noise and environmental controls.
2. Economic Role
The Council recognises the potential for regeneration and job creation associated with
the proposal. The draft National Planning Policy Framework encourages local
authorities to support sustainable economic development and to respond positively to
wider opportunities for growth. The Council recognises that the development of
capacity using the existing single runway is supported by the White Paper on Airport
Policy. LLA is of local and regional economic importance and is a major transport
gateway and hub. It is geographically well placed to meet longer term predicted growth
in passenger numbers stemming from the London Airports, and in particular to handle
short haul traffic.
Dacorum forms part of the LLA’s catchment and residents and businesses benefit from
having a shorter distance to travel to a major airport. The close proximity of and easy
connections to LLA is also a strong attraction for businesses to locate in the borough.
Residents and businesses who use LLA will also benefit from the proposed
improvements to passenger facilities, and there may well be direct and indirect
economic spin offs for the borough from its expansion.FutureLuToN:Optimisation has put forward a business case as one of its key arguments for the expansion of the airport. While potentially there could be a significant associated growth in jobs (around 4,000 directly and 1,750 indirectly predicted), the Council would like to see this scale of growth substantiated given general trends towards automation of operations, the provision of services online, and continuing downward pressure on staffing levels. Furthermore, we need to better understand the impact on the wider economy i.e. the location of new employment area(s) at Luton, and the effects it might have beyond Luton’s administrative area.
3. Environmental Impact
However, the proposed growth is going to have a significant effect on the environment
of and passenger movement within Dacorum that must be fully modelled and
The Council recognises that this is only an emerging preferred options consultation,
and there is clearly significant extra technical work that futureLuToN:Optimisation
needs to undertake to assess the impact of the proposal. For example, an
Environmental Impact Assessment is yet to be completed so that the environmental,
economic and transport impacts of the proposal can be fully gauged and mitigation
measures identified. We note you acknowledge this general point. At this preapplication stage it is difficult for the Council to be satisfied that this has been properly
assessed and measures put in place to address environmental and transport concerns.
4. Noise and Night Flights
Without adequate controls, the Council remains apprehensive over the potential
increase in aircraft movements over time, and their effects on levels of noise in and
frequency of night flights over Dacorum.
The Council does not accept your claim that noise levels will necessary decrease. In
addition, no reference has been made in the supporting material to the consequences
of the increase in community disturbance stemming from the greater frequency of
While peak noise levels may be falling, we are concerned that average noise levels
may be on the rise. The Council recognises that the fleet of smaller, older and noisier
airplanes is slowly being phased out and welcomes this. However, this is being offset
by a general trend towards the use of larger airframes that is tending to increase
average noise levels.
As well as problems with overflying the Borough’s towns and villages, any increase in
noise disturbance will impact on the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. This
area is prized for its tranquillity along with other rural parts of the borough.
Any plans for the expansion of LLA must be underpinned by tighter controls over
daytime and night time noise. In particular, the Council has been concerned that the
Night Noise Policy to the existing planning permission is not sufficiently robust at the moment, to the detriment of Dacorum’s residents. The expansion proposals represent
an ideal opportunity to put in place a more vigorous Night Noise Policy that is focussed
on meaningful protection of those residents affected by the proposals. The Council will
be seeking a commitment from you towards such an approach.
5. Transport and Highways
The Council welcomes the futureLuToN:Optimisation commitment to investing in
transport infrastructure for bus, car and rail travellers, and improving the road network
around the Central Terminal Area. This is a necessity if LLA is to accommodate the
increased passenger numbers up to 18mppa.
However, futureLuToN:Optimisation is yet to complete a full transport and traffic
modelling and for this to be assessed by the relevant highway authorities (i.e.
respectively county/district and the Highways Agency). In the absence of such a study
the Council remains concerned over peak period congestion problems in and around
LLA, particularly on those strategic and local routes connecting Dacorum to the airport
(e.g. M1, A5, A1081 and A505). It is clear that if not dealt with effectively, any increase
in congestion on the M1 (especially around junction 10A) is going to adversely affect
the functioning of the network of surrounding roads.
6. Other matters
The Council believes any expansion proposals must be developed in the light of the
existing operational constraints (e.g. the proximity of Heathrow airspace and Bovingdon
stack), possible route changes affecting LLA, and the future mix of aircraft and type of
flight (e.g. passenger, corporate and cargo). It is not clear to what extent the proposed
growth at LLA has taken into account such factors.
The Council is also concerned that the current development programme does not allow
sufficient time for representations to be properly taken into account and changes made
to the proposal, prior to submission of a planning application to Luton Borough Council
during April 2012. The Council considers the timescale to be unrealistic and to
undermine the credibility and purpose of the consultation exercise. More time should
be allowed for representations to be assessed and amendments to be incorporated into
The Council reserves the right to comment more fully as the development plans are progressed to the planning application stage
Campaigners expose the untruths in the PR newsletter being circulated by Luton Airport – especially over the explosive issue that the flights are getting noisier year on year. despite claims to the contrary by the airport and G L Hearn during the consultation on expansion. This is due to larger, heavier planes being used, and the trend is set to continue. Does misleading the public invalidate the consultation process? See www.hale.uk.net/in-touch and www.hale.uk.net/noise-gate
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