Criticism by MP Stephen McPartland over Luton Airport application
An application to double to size of Luton Airport is expected soon, but there is fresh criticism of the plans. The MP for Stevenage, Stephen McPartland, has said he would continue to fight the expansion and criticised a motion passed last week by Stevenage Borough Council in favour of the expansion. He says that he, and the Comet newspaper, will continue to oppose expansion of the airport, due to the local aircraft noise nuisance and road traffic congestion. North Hertfordshire District Council has also now criticised the airport’s plans, and sent in comments against the expansion plans in its consultation response. There are also serious concerns about Luton Borough Council – which owns the airport – being the body that decides the outcome of the airport’s planning application. A council spokesman gave this unconvincing response: “The council’s role as local planning authority is entirely separate to that as shareholder of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL). Each is run wholly independently of each other with their respective functions entirely separate.”
Criticism over Luton Airport application
By Laura Burge (Comet)
October 26, 2012
As an imminent application to double to size of Luton Airport looms closer, fresh criticism has come from those who oppose the plans.
Speaking ahead of the planning application, which is expected to be submitted next month, MP Stephen McPartland said he would continue to fight the expansion.
He also criticised a motion passed last week by Stevenage Borough Council, which came out in favour of the expansion.
“Unfortunately, I am not surprised as this is just another example of Stevenage Borough Council clearly showing it does not care about local people,” said Mr McPartland.
“However, the motion they have passed is irrelevant just like the council and has no influence on the decision whatsoever.”
“I will continue to lead the campaign with the Comet to oppose the expansion of Luton Airport and stop a plane flying over our homes every 90 seconds. We will continue sticking up for Stevenage and fighting for local people.”
MP Stephen McPartland
He added: “I will continue to lead the campaign with the Comet to oppose the expansion of Luton Airport and stop a plane flying over our homes every 90 seconds. We will continue sticking up for Stevenage and fighting for local people.”
North Herts District Council (NHDC) also criticised the airport’s plans this week.
It follows comments published in a report by its officers this week, which were also sent to the airport as part of a consultation.
The council claims the expansion would have a detrimental effect on the district.
“North Herts District Council has submitted a response in agreement with the portfolio holder for planning and transport to the pre-application of the proposed expansion of Luton Airport, highlighting concerns about the impact that more aircraft noise and additional traffic on the road network in North Hertfordshire would have on residents,” said David Scholes, NHDC’s chief executive for planning & transport.
“That response is referred to in the report to the council’s cabinet in November.”
Concerns that Luton Borough Council – which owns the airport – will decide the outcome of the planning application are increasing.
The Comet approached the council to ask for its response to those worries.
A spokesman said: “The council’s role as local planning authority is entirely separate to that as shareholder of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL). Each is run wholly independently of each other with their respective functions entirely separate.
“Any planning application that is submitted by London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) would be subject to statutory consultations undertaken by the council as the local planning authority and would be dealt with impartially, fairly and transparently.
“Any decision subsequently made by the council’s development control committee would have regard to all material planning considerations, including the responses of consultees, and would be based on sound judgements that would therefore need to be supported by clear planning reasons and taken in accordance with the relevant policies in the development plan.”
Stevenage council backs Luton Airport expansion
October 19, 2012 (Comet)
With a planning application imminent for the expansion of Luton Airport, Stevenage Borough Council has come out in favour of the scheme, despite the negative impacts of more aircraft noise and traffic on residents.
At last week’s full council meeting, a motion was passed in support of the plans on the grounds “they will further boost the local economy and enhance the travelling experience of passengers.”
The council has not been able to get figures for the number of residents working at the airport, it admitted.
An application to reconfigure the site to double passenger capacity to 18 million a year is expected to be submitted to airport owners Luton Borough Council (LBC) on November 19 by London Luton Airport Ltd, an LBC-run company.
Deputy leader of SBC, John Gardner, who moved the motion, said the airport “is vital to the region and the sub-region”.
“We do understand the commercial necessity of expanding the airport within limits. It would be in line with government policy – provided the planning is executed in a suitable way it’s unlikely to be called in.”
He added there were continued concerns over noise and traffic increases however, as more planes would cross the skies above the town and more traffic would move along the A1(M) and A505 to and from Luton.
A case to mitigate this will be put to both the applicant and planning authority, the council agreed.
The Stevenage Lib Dems opposed the motion – arguing any increase in aircraft noise for residents was unacceptable.
“The motion committed SBC – which has no power in the issue – to being supportive towards the expansion proposals,” Chells councillor Robin Parker said.
“For my residents no increase in Luton Airport capacity or noise levels is acceptable. I will not attempt to justify extra noise pollution with vague promises of local benefits by local growth.”
Meanwhile, neighbouring towns continue to oppose the expansion plans.
Hitchin Forum has written to the aiport owner and operator, as part of a consultation which finished last week.
Chairman Mike Clarke said: “Expansion threatens to exacerbate congestion on the A505 through Hitchin. We are concerned that this may not readily be dealt with in an environmentally acceptable fashion, but may threaten the town and its green belt to the south and west.”
He added: “Luton Airport is owned by Luton Borough Council, which receives a substantial contribution to its finances every year from the airport.
“It is wholly wrong that any planning application should also be decided by LBC, which has a clear and unacceptable conflict of interest.”
For more news about Luton airport, see Luton Airport News
Luton Airport’s revised master plan released – with increased noise “the elephant in the room”
September 3, 2012 Luton Airport has today released its revised Master Plan for airport expansion, starting a 6-week public consultation. However, detail on the environmental impacts of the proposals is not going to be made available until the planning application is submitted in November. Local campaign group, HALE, commented that the owners and operators want to increase capacity to match Stansted and Manchester, even though Luton Airport is on a cramped site and surrounded by towns and villages. The proposals for expansion would result in 58% more flights than in 2011 – an average 160 extra flights per day. There would also be a longer morning ‘rush hour’ with flights every 90 seconds at peak times. The noise limits set are so high that they would have little effect, and the larger planes are likely to be more noisy than those currently using Luton. The noise insulation offered by the airport does not cure the problem. Click here to view full story…
London Luton owner extends contract with airport operator, LLAOL, until 2031
August 24, 2012 The owners of Luton Airport (Luton Borough Council) have signed a deal with the airport’s operators (London Luton Airport Operations Ltd. – LLAOL), extending their contract until 2031. In June it was announced that LLAOL’s concession to run the airport was being extended to 2031. That has taken some of the urgency out of the need to produce planning applications as the 2014 break-point in the concession is no longer a factor. The signing of the contract between the owner and operator is to be followed by a planning application later in the autumn, which will be lodged by LLAOL. Click here to view full story…
Luton airport expansion plans for 18mppa given decisive “thumbs down” on environmental grounds
August 15, 2012 Luton Airport’s owner (Luton Borough Council) and operator (London Luton Airport Operations Ltd) have together announced they are set to submit plans to increase capacity to allow for a maximum of 18 million passengers per year, from current levels of around 10 million. The reasons put forward by Luton Borough Council for these proposals centre around creating wealth, and they hope it would allow the airport to “continue to deliver sustainable growth” benefiting residents and passengers”. The local campaign group HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion), which opposes further expansion at the airport, commented that Luton Borough Council in only interested in milking the airport for cash, and talk of “sustainable” airport growth is an oxymoron. Another local campaign group, LADACAN (Luton & District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) criticised the absence of any mention of the environmental impact of increased aircraft noise, which would inevitably be a result of a flight leaving every 90 seconds – resulting in continuous noise over people’s heads starting at 6 am in the morning. Public consultation on the plans is scheduled to start on Sept 3rd. Click here to view full story…
Rival plans for Luton Airport expansion to be merged
June 7, 2012 Not altogether surprisingly, the hitherto-separate plans produced by the airport owner and the airport operator have been combined, and the airport operator’s concession to run the airport has been extended to 2031. That takes some of the urgency out of the need to produce planning applications as the 2014 break-point in the concession is no longer a factor. There is likely to now be a planning application later this summer. More details will be released when the plans are finalised in July. The new scheme is likely to have a passenger throughput up to “about 18 million a year” and an additional 40% more aircraft movements a year. However, earlier this year the operator -London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL) – said 15 million was more realistic. Click here to view full story…
Shock of discovery of Luton Airport plan to expand up to 30 million passengers (not just 18 million)
May 25, 2012 Herts County Council has just discovered that Luton Airport’s owners – Luton Borough Council – are hatching plans to increase capacity not just to 18m passengers per year – but to 30 million. HCC says this is frightening. 30 million is triple what the airport currently handles. Their pre-application to the National Infrastructure Planning body refers to a planning application as early as end of 2013. The airport (and its owners, Luton BC) have indicated from the start that they would eventually like to see the capacity increased to 30m passengers per year. Yet the planning consultation they put forward publicly only talks of 18m. The current airport operators (a different company) made it very clear that even this would constitute over-investment, and that a realistic maximum for this “local” airport would be more like 16m passengers per year. To aim for 30 million would require the application to be called-in by government. Click here to view full story…
Luton Airport expansion plans ‘ludicrous’, says Herts County Council
March 26, 2012 Herts County Council say the plans are ludicrous and the application needs to be called in and decided by the Secretary of State. They say they are surprised “how little intelligence accompanies this consultation” and that having two consultations and two applications going on in parallel is very confusing for everyone.The Cabinet Member for the Environment said: “I would urge the borough and the operator to consider their respective positions and – regardless of the merits or otherwise of growth at the airport – come forward with a mutually acceptable proposal” Click here to view full story…
Second consultation at Luton Airport – this time it’s the Master Plan
March 18, 2012 Back on 13th February, the London Luton Airport Ltd, that owns the airport, launched its public consultation into expansion plans, called “futureLuToN:Optimisation”. This consultation ends on 25th March. But on 14th March, the operators of the airport, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL) launched their own consultation on a new, draft Master Plan, prior to submission of a planning application. This Master Plan consultation ends on 25th April. Both consultations are to increase the number of flights greatly, with the LLAOL proposal anticipating 15- 16 million passengers per year eventually, which is lower than the London Luton Airport Ltd plans. The plans appear to be relatively similar, neither propose extending the runway, and both are unconvincing on noise – which is bound to get significantly worse for all those overflown, with almost doubling of flights. Click here to view full story…