Latest News from Chiltern Countryside Group

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Update from Chiltern Countryside Group.

Our thanks to the Chiltern Countryside Group for this update on various local issues. Some of the below will be covered in the Autumn magazines, but the below is hot off the press at it were!

Summer seems to be progressing quickly and whilst we’ve enjoyed the sunshine, it’s desperately sad to see the effect of high temperatures and lack of rainfall on our beautiful Chiltern landscape. Thames Water are imposing a, not unexpected, hose pipe ban so saving our precious water will become even more important.

London Luton Airport

The planning application, ref. 210/00031/VARCON, submitted by London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL), to Luton Borough Council, for Variation of Conditions 8 of earlier planning consent was called-in by the Secretary of State for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in April 2022 for their consideration. This planning application seeks to increase passenger numbers to 19million per annum and to amend day and night contours.

This application was originally submitted in 2021;  many of you will have responded to this at that time.  You can view CCG’s response in February 2021 on the Group’s website.

In July 2022 LLAOL submitted an addendum to the Environmental Statement which forms part of this application. It can be viewed on the dedicated Luton Airport Public Inquiry website at: documents. We are advised by LBC that if you have already commented on the original application, these comments will be given to the Planning Inspectorate and will be taken into account when the application is determined.

The Public Inquiry by the Planning Inspectorate will begin on 27 September 2022.

Disturbance by aircraft noise

Many Chiltern residents are finding increased noise pollution from LLA’s Easterly arrival operations, notably from Wizz aircraft, especially between 10pm and 1.30am. Please do complain to the airport whenever you are disturbed with as much information as you can give about the disturbance, ie low level flying, off track, time and date. A simple email shortly after the event with that information to: is all you need to do. Your complaint will be investigated and logged and then form part of the airport’s Annual Monitoring Review, which can be viewed on the airport’s website.

It’s a really important part which everyone can contribute to in protecting the beauty and tranquility of our special Chilterns landscape and historic communities.

High Speed Two (HS2)

Work is progressing with this disastrous project through the heart of the Chilterns AONB. Whilst we might be hopeful that a new leader of Government would take the sensible view of cutting its losses on this hugely costly and minimally beneficial project, it seems the key candidates are very reluctant to commit.

On a local level, there have been some small but positive changes agreed between communities, Bucks CC and HS2 which affected local residents have welcomed. For more information, please visit the BCC website.

Dacorum Local Plan

Following extensive public comments and objections to Dacorum BC’s proposed Local Plan which was consulted upon in February 2021, DBC are now working on revisions to this with, we understand, greater emphasis on urban and brownfield development and regeneration which, it is hoped, will allow the Council to attempt meeting Government’s housing needs (which are also under review) whilst protecting the Borough’s Green Belt. DBC has serious challenges in attempting to meet the large number of houses apparently sought by Government whilst complying with its statutory and moral obligations to ‘protect and enhance the Chilterns AONB’ and the Green Belt within the Borough which affords the setting for this key natural resource.

DBC has now agreed a new timetable for this revision with a consultation likely to be opened in July 2023.

‘Marshcroft Village’ Planning Application

Thanks indeed to everyone who responded to this speculative and environmentally destructive application. We understand the application will need to go before DBC’s Development Management Committee for consideration and that this is likely to happen in September 2022. We will advise you all when we have news of this, but do please check the DBC website for yourself regularly.

All planning applications within Green Belt have to demonstrate exceptional circumstances, not simply a need or desire for housing, It is the Group’s considered view, along with the many hundreds of other residents who have given similar objections, that this planning application fails in all areas to fulfil this obligation. Offering a Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) and a few sporting facilities in no way mitigates the loss of Grade 2 agricultural and cultivated farmland, natural recreational facilities currently enjoyed by many daily, free access to open countryside, the network of local public footpaths, cycle ways and bridle ways and the AONB with its stunning views and woodland.

Also please see below key news on the Chilterns Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation. This proposed development falls within the identified Zone of Influence so the information given by DBC is totally relevant.

Chilterns Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Natural England is requiring a mitigation strategy from local authorities governing the Ashridge Estate and Tring Woodlands, both extremely popular with the public so much so that undue pressure on their respective habitats has been identified.

DBC has issued the following information: ‘Following advice from Natural England, a mitigation strategy is now needed, which sets out the actions necessary to protect the SAC from both existing and future pressures. We are collaborating with Natural England, Hertfordshire County Council, neighbouring authorities and the National Trust, who care for Ashridge Estate, to develop an interim mitigation strategy.

‘As a result, the way we deal with planning applications in the future that involve new homes (and some other types of development) is going to change. Such proposals that are within 500 metres of Ashridge Estate and Tring Woodlands are likely to be refused.

‘In addition to this, we are legally required not to issue decisions on similar applications elsewhere in the borough until appropriate mitigation is secured. In the interim, this will mean additional checks for affected planning applications and the need for us to put on hold issuing the final decision notice. All other applications will be processed and determined as normal.’

For more information on this use the link at: Chilterns Beechwoods Special Area of Conservation (SAC).