LADACAN is joining other campaign groups to call on local Councils and MPs to take decisive action to halt further expansion at Luton Airport after news that key plans to reduce aircraft noise – a respite route to designed to send departing planes west and north of Luton, and getting aircraft to 10,000 feet by the time they cross the railway line between Harpenden and St Albans – have both stalled. Stakeholders have been told that these commitments, announced by Airport bosses at a public meeting at St Albans Council in May 2017, are now blocked until 2025 due to the UK’s clogged and out-of-date airspace design.
The airspace south of Luton is constantly overflown by slowly-climbing flights from Heathrow, and air traffic controllers struggle to find space for Luton departures to climb. Negotiations between Luton and Heathrow to release this block have come to nothing, and promises of a northerly respite route over Bedfordshire appear to have been shot down by the National Air Traffic Services. At this rate Hertfordshire will increasingly be plagued by concentrated noise from low-flying aircraft for years to come.
The delivery of slightly quieter aircraft is agonisingly slow, and the airport is already in breach of a key noise planning condition limit. Further expansion of capacity at Luton must be firmly rejected by government as completely out of the question under these circumstances, and politicians need to act decisively to ensure aviation gets its house in order rather than inflicting yet more misery.
That means an independent review of noise reduction in this area by the Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise, and insistence that the Civil Aviation Authority and the Department for Transport deliver a credible reworking of local airspace involving Luton, Heathrow, Northolt and Stansted so that Hertfordshire residents no longer have to put up with being dumped on by ever-increasing noise pollution.
The commitments made by Luton Airport are here >> Scrutiny Committee minutes