Luton Airport Expansion

Planning permission was granted in 2014 for modifications to increase the throughput of Luton Airport for passengers and planes, enabling a doubling of passenger capacity and 60% more flights per year over the period from 2011 to 2028.

Even though the expansion proposals met the criteria for being a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project, the then Commissioner for Local Government Eric Pickles did not ”call it in” for proper independent scrutiny, citing “localism” (ie the policy of letting local councils – in this case the airport owner - take major planning decisions regardless of the impact on local people or quality of life).

The “quality of life” impacts will be significant. For example, the number of flights late at night (between 10pm and midnight) and early in the morning – between 5am and 7am – is expected to double, because the airlines want to turn around their planes as many times as possible per day.

A 60% rise in the number of flights will mean far more noise impact, with much shorter intervals between planes and so a feeling of more continuous disturbance. A flight every 90 seconds or less is envisaged once the new taxiway extensions are completed.

Anyone disturbed by unusually loud aircraft or planes flying off their normal track should email to register a complaint. The complaint statistics are reviewed at 3-monthly meetings of the airport consultative committees (see

Reasons why people oppose further expansion of Luton Airport

HALE represents people from all areas around Luton who strongly oppose further expansion of Luton Airport. Their main reasons are:

  • The airport is surrounded by rural towns and villages, the noise is intrusive, and its aircraft are getting noisier year on year
  • Voluntary limits on night flying are not working: Luton Airport proposes to double the flights late at night and early in the morning
  • Trains cannot reach the terminal because it is on a hill, so most passengers use cars and taxis, which will add to the crowding on local roads and the M1
  • Aviation is the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gases, so the objective should be to fly less, not to fly more