Luton airport expansion plans draw opposition

Luton airport’s plans to expand to increase passenger numbers to 32 million a year by 2039 have drawn strong opposition.

The plans include a new terminal alongside the existing building plus additional aircraft stands and taxiways.

Public consultation on the planned expansion opened on Wednesday and runs until December 16.

The airport said: “This new terminal would be used alongside the existing terminal and its associated stands, allowing the expansion to be phased over time to match demand and growth.

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“This approach would also minimise disruption to the operation of the airport during construction.

“Our application will include replacement parkland and public open space to compensate for the area of existing parkland into which the airport would expand.”

Its application is due to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in summer 2020, with a decision expected by the government by the end of 2021.

But Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy at Hertfordshire County Council, said: “We have deep concerns over London Luton Airport Limited’s plans to expand the airport.

“We continue to have serious concerns about the impact of aircraft noise on nearby towns and villages.

“We’re also very concerned about how an extra 14 million passengers a year will actually get to the airport without this causing serious problems on Hertfordshire’s roads.”

He added: “We’ll be taking a very close look at the airport’s sustainable transport plans to make sure that they encourage people travelling to and from the airport to use more sustainable options, such as bus and rail. We also need to make sure that there are robust proposals to deal with potential impacts on the road network.

“There are clearly some economic benefits that would come with the growth of London Luton Airport, but these need to be balanced against the impact any expansion would have on the neighbouring areas, and with wider environmental impacts.

“We have recently declared a climate emergency, as have Luton so proposals of this nature need to be carefully considered against the need to prioritise environmental sustainability.”

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