Sir Mike Penning, Member of Parliament for the Hemel Hempstead constituency, has condemned Luton airport authorities for their attempt to bypass a noise limit requirement in order to increase airport capacity. Luton Airport is planning to increase the number of passengers to 19 million per year.
Hundreds of people have spent time and effort submitting their objections to a planning application to vary condition 10, which limits the noise the airport is permitted to make. However, the airport authorities have now withdrawn that application in order to submit an alternative application. This effectively wipes out all those objections.
The new application, which seeks to vary conditions on passenger throughput numbers, noise contours (condition 10), car parking numbers and travel, was lodged with Luton Borough Council on 11 January.
Sir Mike said: ‘This new application will cause just as much, if not more, noise and traffic as the previous one. Yet by withdrawing and reapplying with a similar application, all the objections are lost.
‘I am very concerned about noise levels over Flamstead, Markyate and surrounding settlements. I am especially concerned at any increase in night flights.
‘I am also concerned that the much-reduced number of flights during the Covid pandemic plays into the airport’s hands as people will have forgotten what it is like to be woken up by an increasing number of flights at night or very early in the morning.
‘I am not anti-airport. I know that it is very useful – in normal times – for many of my constituents and also provides a lot of employment opportunities, but no one expected it to expand at such a shocking rate.
‘It is also, to be fair, difficult to know for sure how air travel will look both after the pandemic and now with additional focus on environmental and climate impacts. It is too soon to be thinking about large scale expansion.
‘I urge local people to make their objections known on the Luton Borough Council planning portal or visit the local campaign website https://ladacan.org/luton-airport-19-million-time-to-say-no/ for more information.’
Planning Application No. 21/00031/VARCON. Consultation ends 17 February.
NB. This new application applies to more villages than just Markyate and Flamsted, including Tring and Berkhamsted.
A spokesperson for London Luton Airport said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating impact on the UK aviation sector, wiping out more than 20 years of passenger growth in a matter of months. By submitting this application now, we are preparing the airport for future success and creating reassurance for the thousands of people and the many local businesses who rely on us through the supply chain. While we are focused on our short-term survival it’s imperative that we take steps now to ensure LLA is in the best possible position to recover and play its part in the local and national recovery.
‘Our application, which does not require any physical change to the airport, sets out how we will make best use of the existing site and includes a detailed Environmental Impact Assessment. Any future growth will be in line with our Responsible Business Strategy. We encourage residents, businesses and users of the airport to have their say on the plans, which are publicly available on the local authority’s planning portal.’