LLAL consultation on plan to double Luton Airport capacity

Luton Airport’s owners LLAL have launched a non-statutory consultation on plans to double the capacity of the airport yet again – despite being only part-way through the 15-year period allotted to the current expansion from 9-18 million passengers.

The noise misery around the airport has increased tremendously over the past 5 years, with flights on the busiest westerly departure route up 87%, more than twice as many night flights, concentrated low-level noise and larger, noisier planes in the fleet mix.

Despite all of this, and with no mitigation or reduction of that noise burden in sight, the airport owners want to make yet more money from their asset by getting government to agree that they can double the capacity yet again, taking it to 36 million passengers.

In doing so, they hope to swallow up Wigmore Park in Luton by building a second terminal, and add another 100,000 flights a year into and out of the Airport. See the Friends of Wigmore Park campaign on Facebook for details.

The plans are described on their website at http://www.futureluton.llal.org.uk with the option to participate in the consultation using the link in the “Join the conversation” box.

BEWARE!

In the opinion of professional pollsters and those with experience of questionnaire design, the tick-box questions are loaded so as to make it look as if you agree with the proposals. The dilemma is: by filling it in you may appear to agree with the proposition; by not filling it in your voice will not be heard. This is iniquitous, and our advice to those who are already badly affected by aircraft noise is:

  • Print it out the response form and read every question carefully
  • Fill in only the “rankings” which you think are safe to make without appearing to agree with the proposal (ie probably none of Q3, but some of Q5 which can be ranked very high re noise etc)
  • Q4 is dangerous since they ask whether it is better to expand using a single runway compared to adding a second runway (which they have now said they will not do) so best may be to say “Don’t know” and then add a frank comment in the text box

If at all possible, visit one of their local “roadshows” to find out more and to give them your personal feedback. As you do so, bear in mind that LLAL now makes £40m per annum from the airport, and is desperate to take this further, thanks to the government policy to expand aviation in the UK and make best use of available runways. They paint a rosy picture of commercial benefit, and more jobs, completely ignoring the downsides of pollution and road congestion and the unsustainability of airport expansion.

They say nothing about the noise misery except “we recognise that expansion of Luton Airport could bring associated noise impacts” – ie they think 100,000 extra flights could be noisy. At the end they say “For local communities: we will be a better neighbour“. Their chief executive told 3 Counties listeners he lives in Norfolk…

Consultation ends on 31 August, and the roadshows are timetabled to occur around the region during July and into early August, ie during the holiday period. Details of when and where can be found in this download >> LLACC_NSC

Key promises about noise mitigation have consistently been broken in the past, and promises of quitter aircraft and higher altitudes are easily made and quickly forgotten. For those living closest, in Breachwood Green, Pepperstock, Slip End, South Luton and Caddington, Flamstead and Markyate higher altitude will be unlikely to help and may indeed make things worse due to higher throttle settings. The only way to control and reduce noise in this area is to reduce the number of flights, not keep increasing them.

Please join LADACAN if you are concerned about this issue and want to help fight it.

Email us your thoughts having visited the roadshows, and see our writeup page.