Campaigners To Fight Airport Expansion

19 January 2012, 06:00

Anti-noise campaigners are vowing to fight proposals to almost double the number of flights Luton Airport handles.

On Monday Luton Borough Council, who own the airport, announced plans to increase capacity there to handle 18 million passengers a year using the existing runway. 

They believe this could create up to six thousand new jobs and generate millions of pounds of investment. 

Currently the airport can handle around 11.5 million passengers a year and 9.6 million are expected to use the airport this year. 

They have now launched a project looking at what changes would need to be made to the terminal and roads surrounding the airport. 

Councillor Robin Harris, Chair of the London Luton Airport Limited said: 'We're at the very beginning of a journey that builds on the tremendous success we have seen through the last decade and will ultimately bring huge benefits to Luton and the wider region, with jobs and much needed income.

'The need for additional airport capacity in the South East of England and the enormous growth that low-cost carriers have demonstrated in recent years gives us every confidence that London Luton Airport will continue to become ever more attractive to both existing and new airlines.'

But John Davis from the Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise, a campaign group opposed to the disturbance caused by the airport is concerned that this could mean an increase in night flights.

He said: 'People need a nights sleep, it's quite unreasonable that anybody is woken up endlessly during the night and wakes up pretty bad tempered and has to go and do a days work.

'You're always going to get the noise from a plane whatever you try to do, we've got so many residents in villages very close by the end of the runway and in South Luton, some of whom have been driven away by the noise but then can't sell their house because of the planes going over, so it could just make a bad situation worse.'

But Cllr Harris has said: 'We are committed to ensure the airport will continue to be a good neighbour and any growth in passenger numbers is managed in a responsible manner. Impacts on the environment, noise and road traffic flows will be fully evaluated.'

A public consultation will start on February 6th.