Luton Airport operators and owners failed to show up at a meeting at Breachwood Green where more than 80 residents from local towns and villages expected to engage in dialogue about plans to expand the 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 these proposals.
HALE co-founders Tim Moss and Andrew Lambourne outlined what we know so far about the plans to expand the capacity of the airport from 10m 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.
“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 concensus at the end of the meeting was that people need to write to their MPs and keep them focused on opposing the expansion plans, as well as emailing Luton Borough Council with their opposition. Details are available on this link. The HALE website can be used as a platform for people to express their views – simply post a reply at the end of this story.
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.
Media coverage of this event:
Luton today – Angry residents protest against airport plans
Anglia TV News – Ross Hutchinson on morning news (20 sec into this piece)
Anglia TV News - Evening news item reporting the meeting - great 2 minute piece
Welwyn and Hatfield Times – Protest meeting over Luton expansion bid
Communities represented at the meeting:
Barton, Breachwood Green, Darley Hall, Flamstead, Harpenden, Kings Walden, Ley Green, Lilley, Luton, Slip End, St Albans, St Paul’s Walden, Stevenage, Stopsley, Whitwell