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27 February 2019, 15:05 | Updated: 27 February 2019, 15:07
Plans to expand Luton Airport have been criticised by Hertfordshire County Council.
They say the noise from planes - as well as the impact of more people traveling on the roads to get there - should be better considered.
Derrick Ashley, Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure, Planning and the Economy at Hertfordshire County Council said:
"Like many others who responded to London Luton Airport Limited's informal consultation last year, we continue to have serious concerns about the impact of aircraft noise on nearby towns and villages. We're also 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.
With up to 100,000 new homes expected to be built in Hertfordshire over the next 15 years we're already expecting a 20% increase in traffic on our roads if we don't take action. We need to make sure that the airport has proper sustainable transport plans that encourage people travelling to and from the airport to use more sustainable options, such as bus and rail. We also need to see robust proposals to deal with potential impacts on the road network.
In recognition of these potential impacts, we're pleased that Luton Airport have scaled back their expansion plans and are now planning for 32 million passengers a year. But this is still a very significant increase which, if it goes ahead, could potentially have big implications for Hertfordshire.
The county council, together with other impacted local authorities, will continue to work with the airport to ensure that the evidence underpinning any future planning application is robust and will be responding to the formal consultation on the proposal that is scheduled for autumn this year. We welcome the potential economic benefits that would come with the growth of London Luton Airport, but we need to make sure that these are shared across the region while at the same time protecting our communities and safeguarding our transport infrastructure from any adverse impacts."
LONDON LUTON AIRPORT'S POSITION:
The airport is run by Luton Borough Council by the authority's dedicated company London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).
On Friday (22nd Feb) LLAL published its preferred option for the sustainable future growth of the UK’s fifth largest and fastest growing major airport.
"This will support economic growth and help meet the significant projected shortfall in aviation capacity in London and the South East to 2050.
Using the existing runway, LLAL is targeting expansion of the airport to 32 million passengers per annum (mppa) from its current cap of 18 mppa.
The preferred option would involve construction of a new second terminal to the north of the runway. To compensate for the partial use of Wigmore Valley Park, new parkland and open space would be provided over a larger area to the east of the existing park.
The company has also published technical reports which outline the feedback received during the first period of consultation last summer, and how its expert advisors have continued to assess the options for development in the light of comments made.
The proposals are of a scale that require an application to the government for a Development Consent Order (DCO) to authorise the expansion.
Over the coming months LLAL will work up the preferred option into proposals that will form the basis of statutory consultation on the proposed DCO application.
Consultation is planned to take place in the autumn, and will include key strategies to minimise and mitigate impacts on the environment.
It is expected that the DCO application will be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in mid-2020. The final decision will rest with the Secretary of State of Transport."
LLAL ran an initial ten week consultation last summer with 1700 people attending a series of community events, and 892 responses were received via feedback forms and emails.
LLAL say feedback showed support for their strategy to make the best use of its existing single runway, and for its emerging preferred option for two terminals north of the runway.
The most common issues raised included noise, flight paths, air quality and how people will get to and from the airport.
London Luton Airport is expected to handle 17.7 million passengers in 2019 and at its current rate of growth is projected to reach its current maximum permitted capacity of 18 mppa by 2020.
In 2017 the airport generated £1.3bn benefit to the national economy, including £895m within Luton, and supported nearly 10,000 direct and 20,000 indirect jobs within the three counties of Beds, Bucks and Herts.