Luton Borough Council weakens airport noise controls

Luton Borough Council has set aside one of the strictest noise control conditions laid down when Luton Airport was granted permission to double its passenger capacity in December 2013. Ignoring strong opposition from other local councils and campaign groups, The Council has accepted a significantly watered-down alternative condition proposed by the airport operators on behalf of the airlines.

Under the original planning conditions – which formed a key part of the overall package of mitigations promised when a doubling of airport capacity was permitted – each class of aircraft would have a noise limit, over which it would be fined. The aim was to ensure noise control across all aircraft types, not just the noisiest.

Instead, the airlines and airport operators argued that this principle was unfair because a substantial number of aircraft could be fined, and proposed instead just one noise limit which would be used only to fine the very noisiest aircraft. Needless to say, that limit has been set so high that only one departure in 4,000 is fined – a fine of just £100 – and so in effect the original planning condition has been rendered useless.

What makes this utterly unjust is that the planning permission was granted only after a full public consultation in which it was acknowledged that there would be a huge environmental impact, mitigated by equally strict planning controls. Yet just 2 years on from that decision, the airport operators asked for one of those planning controls to be removed, and the airport owners – Luton Borough Council – have quietly agreed.

If you are concerned about this, please write to your local MP using the contact details on and insist that this is a clear abuse of Localism.

The airport operators now have their eyes on another planning condition which does not suit them – the night noise contour. Will Luton Council scrap that as well so that it can make even more money from the airport, disregarding the impact on local people?