Luton councillor and Luton airport senior director fail to attend local community meeting
Luton Airport operators and owners failed to show up at a meeting at a local village close to Luton’s runway. More than 80 residents from local towns and villages met to engage in dialogue with them about plans to expand the airport. Robin Harris, who is a Luton Borough Council councillor, and Neil Thompson is Operations Director, at Luton Airport, were meant to attend. The campaign group, HALE (Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion) said that though the airport and the council say they want to consult with people about their views, the empty chairs show there is no real commitment to listen to what people are saying about their proposals to expand the number of passengers to 16 million per year.
LUTON AIRPORT NO-SHOW AT BREACHWOOD GREEN DIALOGUE MEETING
Saturday 7th July 2012 (HALE – Hertfordshire Against Luton Expansion)
Luton Airport operators and owners failed to show up at a meeting at Breachwood Green [a small village settlement north east of Luton airport] where more than 80 residents from local towns and villages met to engage in dialogue with them about plans to expand the airport. [Robin Harris is a Luton Borough Council councillor, and Neil Thompson is Operations Director, at Luton Airport].
“Although claiming to want to consult with people about their views, the empty chairs tell us that there is no real commitment to listen to what people are saying about their proposals” said Andrew Lambourne, one of the organisers.
HALE co-founders Tim Moss and Andrew Lambourne outlined what is known so far about the airport’s plans to expand the capacity to around 16m passengers per year, and what this would mean in terms of extra flights, increased frequency, bigger planes and more passenger journeys. The meeting then gave residents the chance to express their concerns – the concerns which they had wanted to put directly to the invited representatives of the airport management and owners.
These are some of the views expressed by local residents:
“Disgusted that Robin Harris is not here. Pollution in our gardens in South Luton is terrible and is getting worse and worse and we get little or no benefit from the airport.”
“People under the arrivals flight path have literally had nervous breakdowns because of the incessant noise – even at today’s flight levels.”
“It’s terrible that people are now leaving the area because of this airport – it’s in totally the wrong place for further expansion. We love our towns and villages – why should they blight them?”
“Would the airport operators be so keen to expand the airport if they had to pay compensation for noise pollution in the same way that road-builders do: just because the noise is over our heads it is ignored.”
“There are no legal constraints on the level of night flights from Luton – unlike Gatwick, Heathrow and Stansted: this needs to be addressed.”
“Stevenage was not mentioned in the consultation presentations yet the town is bisected by all arrivals from the eastern side – and people cannot enjoy their gardens any more.”
“I’ve just spent a lot of money on loft insulation but it does not help – the noise just keeps on getting worse.”
“Airport owners refused to meet with residents from Slip End – the operators did at least have a meeting and seemed more pragmatic, but we will see if they take onboard the concerns of residents.”
“The meeting expected dialogue but got none: Neil Thompson the Luton Airport Operations Director had said he would come but then pulled out, so residents made their views known in a graphic way with a rally outside the Village Hall.” said Tim Moss, co-founder of HALE.
HALE is a campaign group set up to represent the interests of communities threatened by the proposed expansion of Luton Airport.
HALE has 3 main objectives:
- STOP highly controversial expansion plans which will see the airport double its operational capacity, becoming bigger than Stansted orManchester airports
- COMMIT the airport operator to resolve the long running issue of noisy night flights passing directly over rural communities
- COMMIT the airport operator to be a better neighbour by resolving the problem of year on year increase in aircraft noisiness
Contact details (not for publication):
Andrew Lambourne 07738 642297