The current operator of Luton Airport, LLAOL, has today announced its own plans for investment and growth over the next 15 years, to rival the one put forward by its owners Luton Borough Council.
LLAOL’s proposals are based on increasing capacity from nearly 10 million passengers per year to 15-16 million over the next 10 years. To achieve this they would increase the number and frequency of flights to one every 90 seconds at peak times. Their proposals also include improvements to the terminal building and the access roads – both of which are in urgent need of attention even for the current level of flights. Interestingly they only plan to get a return on this investment over 15 years, not the 30 years of the LBC proposal.
A key negative to their plans is that though the proportion of night flights is said to reduce, the number of night flights is not specified and may increase in step with the total number of flights. Local people want a reduction in night flights and night noise.
Another major negative is the admission that the number of flights will increase by 33% – and the number of passengers by 58%, hence they confirm that there will be a further increase in aircraft size. This means a continued increase in noisiness year on year, as we know from our research.
The proposal talks airily of monitoring and action plans to do with noise, pollution and other environmental impacts. Remember what LLAOL have delivered in the past:
- a steady increase in the noisiness of planes since 2005
- route changes that involve speed limits which increase noise and pollution
- overflights of local towns and villages at night
- flight trials which divert planes over local villages with no concern for the residents
Local people are concerned about four key things in relation to Luton Airport:
- the increasing noisiness of the flights – how will this be reversed?
- the impact on road and rail congestion – how will this be controlled ?
- night flights – how will this nuisance be reduced year on year ?
- pollution – what is the impact of aircraft emissions on our health ?
LLAOL has a real opportunity here to commit to being a good neighbour – not just in words, but matched by actions. That means listening to local people. Glyn Jones the MD really needs to understand what it means to be living under a “wall of sound” as flights become ever more intrusive – starting at 6 in the morning and waking people at night. HALE will continue to ensure that these issues remain firmly on the agenda.
This means yet another 6-week public consultation, with the need to feed questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or www.london-luton.co.uk/masterplan by 25th April. We have asked LBC to ensure that each respondent to their online questionnaire is sent a copy of their input, and this will make it easier to submit the questions to LLAOL. So far LBC has yet to respond, but watch this space…
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