Luton airport claims 65% of respondents in favour of its expansion plans. But in reality 75% of the public are opposed.
Luton Airport has sent out a press release claiming, misleadingly, that it has 65% support from the recent consultation on its airport expansion proposals, to increase passenger numbers from the 9.5 million per year now up to 18 million. However, looking more closely at the data shows quite a different story. There were 1,360 responses in total and the Statement of Community Involvement” (SCI) provided with the planning application documents breaks down the responses a little further. It shows only around half were from members of the public other than Chambers of Commerce, airport staff and other stakeholders. Of the members of the public who responded, 75% oppose the expansion plans. Many of the responses in favour of the proposals actually came from the airport’s own staff. Andrew Lambourne of HALE said the spin doctors at the airport must have worked overtime to gloss the community response data. Many residents opposed the expansion because the airport says the impact of a 60% increase in flights will not increase noise and that simply does not add up.
“75% OF PUBLIC RESPONDED AGAINST LUTON AIRPORT EXPANSION” SAYS HALE
7 January 2013: (HALE – Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion)
Luton Airport has today issued a press release suggesting that it has 65% support from the recent consultation on its airport expansion proposals.
But look more closely at the data and you can tell quite a different story.
The “Statement of Community Involvement” (SCI) provided with the planning application documents breaks down the responses a little further, to reveal that of the members of the public who filled in responses at the roadshow consultation presentations, 75% oppose the expansion plans. And many of the responses in favour of the proposals actually came from the airport’s own staff.
“The spin doctors at the airport must have worked overtime to gloss the community response data” said Andrew Lambourne of HALE.
“For a start, given the major impact which expansion of Luton Airport would have on local communities, a total of just 1,360 responses to a so-called public consultation is a derisory number.
“The main reason for that is that the roadshow events were very poorly publicised and arranged right at the last minute, so very few people turned up. Only about half the responses are from the general public at all, once you sift out Chambers of Commerce, airport staff and other stakeholders. And of the people who did attend the exhibitions – and can therefore be regarded as informed – 75% of them oppose the expansion plans, as the SCI shows. (see chart below)
“Furthermore, the campaign groups which represent the public’s view to the airport all submitted responses which were strongly opposed to expansion, for very good reasons.” he continued.
The Airport claims to have improved its measures to mitigate noise by adding a night noise quota and by bringing forward the reduction of noise violation thresholds.
“The proposed night noise quota level is being set 30% above the existing level – yet in the same breath the Airport tries to claim that the impact of a 60% increase in flights will not increase noise” said Tim Moss of HALE. “It simply does not add up – and the truth of the matter is that the Airport will put commercial expedience before public responsibility. Otherwise why would they propose to start flying at 05:00 instead of the 06:00 start we currently suffer?”
“As far as the noise violation threshold reductions – yes, these might deter a handful of the noisiest flights each year: but in return by 2030 we would have 57,000 additional slightly less noisy flights in exchange. That’s 160 extra flights a day.
“There’s no way that this is a fair exchange. Of course the noise violation thresholds need to reduce – they are too high to act as a suitable deterrent at present – but this needs to be done anyway, and not part of any expansion proposal.”
This chart shows just how distorted the Luton airport press release is:
Page 6 of the Statement of Community Involvement
HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion) is a campaign group committed to opposing plans to expand the capacity of Luton Airport which will export further noise and pollution to Hertfordshire. It represents communities all around the airport.
Page 8 of the Statement of Community Involvement
Luton Airport expansion: 65% back plans in consultation
Plans to almost double the capacity of Luton Airport have received support from a public consultation.
There were 1,360 responses to the proposal to support 18 million passengers a year, up from 9.5 million, with 884 (65%) of them positive.
Three hundred and eighty (28%) objected and 94 (7%) were undecided.
The £100m expansion would include improvements to the road network, car parking, passenger terminal and aircraft taxiways.
Operator London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL) said up to 5,100 jobs would be created by the expansion, which would be carried out within the airport’s current boundary and using its existing runway.
The work would be carried out in three phases, up until 2028.
LLAOL said, as a result of the feedback, it would be adding restrictions to the number of night-time flights and introducing a fining system for aircraft breaching noise limits.
The consultation ended in October and the planning application was submitted at the end of November.
Luton Borough Council’s consultation period on the plans runs until 18 February.
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This is the Luton Airport press release [Warning of bias, and dubious treatment of the statistics! See charts above for the breakdown of the figures]:
Results of Public Consultation and Planning Application at London Luton Airport
Published: 07 January 2013
London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (“LLAOL”) today announces the findings of the public consultation on its Masterplan to develop capacity to 18 million passengers per year.
During the course of the consultation, LLAOL received a total of 1,360 responses from local, national and international businesses, local residents, local chambers of commerce, trade unions, airline partners, holiday makers and business passengers.
A total of 884 respondents (65%) said they supported the Airport’s development proposals. They were in favour because of the economic benefits to the region, employment generation associated with the proposals, private inward investment and improvements to the Airport’s infrastructure. Of the 380 respondents (28%) who said they were not supportive of the Masterplan, the key reasons they gave included the potential impact of increased noise and additional night flights. 94 respondents (7%) said they were undecided.
LLAOL has taken all feedback it received seriously, and used it to improve and amend its planning application by adding two further mitigation measures to the six new noise initiatives it has already proposed. They are:
The introduction of a new quota and aircraft movement limit for night time flights to bring London Luton Airport in line with other, designated UK airports.
A reduction in noise violation limits, and the introduction of a fining system for aircraft breaching these limits, effective from 2014/2015, and not 2018 as was planned.
Glyn Jones, Managing Director of the Airport said: “LLAOL has listened to the local community and has put in place a robust plan to deliver a balanced, sustainable development, which offers a number of significant economic and social benefits, including the creation of approximately 5,100 new jobs, increasing value to the local economy, and improving the built environment of the Airport”.
A full report on the consultation is contained in LLAOL’s Statement of Community Involvement (“SCI”) and is included in the planning application that LLAOL submitted to Luton Borough Council’s Planning Department on 30 November, 2012. The planning application can now be viewed at http://www.eplan.luton.gov.uk (Application reference: 12/01400/FUL).
For more information please contact:
London Luton Airport Press Office – 07714 728035
Cardew Group – 020 7930 0777
Notes to Editors (from Luton Airport):
London Luton Airport is one of the UK’s largest airports and carried 9.5 million passengers in 2011. The Airport directly and indirectly employs over 500 and 8,000 staff respectively, is a key economic driver for the region and a major base for ‘low cost’ or ‘no frills’ air travel.
easyJet, Wizz Air, Ryanair, Monarch, Thomson, Aer Lingus, EL AL, Blue Air and Flybe operate from the airport, departing to over 90 destinations including services to Europe, Africa, and Asia, with onward connections to Mumbai, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Beijing and Bangkok via Tel Aviv.
Luton Airport expansion master plan consultation ‘flawed and misleading’
January 15, 2013 London Luton Airport Operations Ltd submitted its planning application to expand the airport, to the local authority (which is also the airport’s owner) Luton Borough Council, on 7th January. The deadline for comment is the 18th February. Luton Airport released its assessment of the recent Master Plan consultation, in which is gave the impression that some 65% of those consulted were in favour of the airport expansion. In reality, 612 votes were from airport employees, airlines, airport union members and businesses associated with the airport who, unsurprisingly, were 100% in favour of expansion. Only 450 responses came from the public, and those were 73% opposed. There were 94 from responses that were undecided. The fact that 29 of the 47 responses from stakeholder organisations, a group which included local councils, were ‘undecided’ indicated that the plans “didn’t have enough information” as the master plan did not include an environmental statement or details of where the aircraft would be flying. It simply proposed they would be doubling the capacity of the airport from about 9.5 million passengers and increase the number of flights by 60%.
Criticism by MP Stephen McPartland over Luton Airport application
26.10.2012 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.” http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=2047
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…