Action group critical of ‘expensive charade’ of Luton council meeting approving airport expansion
The controversial decision by Luton Borough Council to approve the expansion of Luton Airport has been widely criticised by community groups. Michael Nidd, secretary of the London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee (LLATVCC),has described the delayed, 8-hour meeting on 20th December, in which the decision was made as a “very, very expensive charade.” Only 6 of the development control committee’s 11 members attended the meeting, which had already been postponed. This came after Herts County Council demanded a second, impartial, legal opinion on Luton Borough Council’s suitability to make the decision, given it owns all of the shares in the airport. Michael Nidd said: “Only six of [the councillors] bothered to turn up, and we had hours and hours of very highly-paid people in the morning saying what a splendid scheme it is, but when it came time to debate, discuss and vote they spent as long as 10 minutes on it.” There is concern about the manner in which this decision, which has such colossal effects on all the surrounding communities, has been taken. Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has written to Eric Pickles, to request that the decision be called in, due to the impacts on his constituency.
The controversial decision by Luton Borough Council to approve the expansion of London Luton Airport has been criticised by a community action group.
Michael Nidd, secretary of the London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee (LLATVCC),has described the delayed, eight-hour meeting in which the decision was made as a “very, very expensive charade” which included presentations about the airport throughout the morning on Friday, December 20.
Mr Nidd also pointed to the fact that just six of the development control committee’s 11 members attended the meeting, which had already been postponed.
This came after Herts County Council demanded a second, impartial, legal opinion on Luton Borough Council’s suitability to make the decision, given it owns all of the shares in the airport.
The Piccotts End resident said: “Only six of them bothered to turn up, and we had hours and hours of very highly-paid people in the morning saying what a splendid scheme it is, but when it came time to debate, discuss and vote they spent as long as 10 minutes on it.
“Effectively the airport owner is also the body which decides whether or not the expansion can go ahead.
“It seems a bit of a denial of justice that the borough should be the one to have the say – particularly on the strength of 10 minutes’ discussion by six local worthies – on whether to go ahead with something which has such colossal effects on all the surrounding communities.”
The expansion, which will see airport capacity increased from 12 million to 18 million passengers a year, was approved in principle but will now be reviewed by the Department for Communities and Local Government to see whether it needs to be determined by the Secretary of State or if the council can proceed to issue consent.
Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has written to the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, to request that the decision be called in, on the basis that the people who would suffer the most from the increase in flights and traffic would be people in his constituency, as well as Stevenage and surrounding areas
Luton campaigners expose ‘broken promise’ over aircraft noise at Luton
December 23, 2013
Luton campaign group, HALE, has exposed a broken promise at the heart of the planning conditions which are supposed to control future night noise from Luton Airport. A specific commitment made in the planning application, to reduce night noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 and thereafter to 77dB, has been omitted from the planning conditions attached to the recently passed planning application, so the night noise limit is set to stay at its current 82dB level. There is an overall planning condition to ban noisier classes of aircraft by an unspecified date some time between now and 2028, and to set overall noise limits by aircraft class. But the public consultation and the planning application both presented this “Quota Count” method as being in addition to a reduction in night noise limits, not a replacement for it. Commitments to reduce daytime noise limits are reflected by a planning condition with a definite timeframe, but the unconditional promise to reduce night-time noise limits to 80dB by January 2015 has been dropped. HALE say this is a scandal, and they have written to the Council insisting that the public commitments made by the airport to reduce the night noise limit by 1 January 2015 to 80dB, with a 5-yearly review to bring it down to 77dB, are both enshrined in the planning conditions. Click here to view full story…
A sad day for democracy as Luton Council approves Luton airport expansion
December 22, 2013
HALE have commented, on the hastily convened development control committee meeting on Luton airport’s expansion application, that it was a sad day for democracy. A 9-hour meeting ended by approving plans for doubling the capacity of Luton Airport from 9 million to 18 million passengers per annum. Only 5 voting members of the 11-strong development control committee were present, plus the chair. Objectors from local town and parish councils, campaign groups and private individuals voiced serious concerns about the proposals. These included number of late evening and early morning flights; reduction in quality of life due to aircraft noise; damage to health from noise and air pollution; and noise control, among others. Unfortunately none of the councillors had the courage to oppose the plans. Andrew Lambourne, from HALE, said: “Ultimately this was such a big decision that to make it with half the committee absent was simply not democratic – and is another good reason why it should be called in” he added. Click here to view full story…
Council backs Luton airport expansion but it needs Sec of State Eric Pickles’ authorisation
December 21, 2013
Luton Airport’s expansion bid to fly over eight million more passengers a year has been given the green light by its owner, Luton borough council. It was agreed to by just six members of the council’s 11-strong development control committee at the rescheduled meeting, which ended after eight hours. The scheme includes nearly doubling passenger throughput to 18 million people a year, which could mean 45,000 extra flights per year. It involves extending terminal and car park buildings, constructing a new parallel taxiway and extending aircraft parking aprons. However the approval must now be communicated to the Secretary of State for Local Government Eric Pickles. On November 18th Luton council received a direction, under the Town and Country Planning Management Order 2010 not to grant permission without specific authorisation from him. This direction was issued to enable him to consider whether he should direct that the application be referred to him, under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Councillors at the meeting heard objections from residents and councillors from St Albans, Harpenden, Stevenage, Luton, Hitchin and Flamstead. People are very concerned the expansion would bring an unacceptable increase in noise and air pollution. The airport is proposing 60% more planes and many very late in the evening and very early in the morning. Click here to view full story…