Luton Airport Expansion Consultation

How Many More Planes ? ….

The Chiltern Society has just submitted its response to Luton Rising’s statutory consultation on the expansion of Luton Airport. The consultation proposal is for a new terminal and to expand the annual numbers of passengers from 19 million to 32 million over the next 20 years.

In view of the climate crisis, we have questioned whether this level of increase can be justified, particularly as passengers’ travel habits have changed due to Covid-19 and there has been a huge increase in the use of video conferencing for business. If we are to tackle climate change then there are some hard decisions to be made in relation to our individual carbon footprints. Increasing the number of flights significantly ahead of the development of more efficient and sustainable fuels does not make sense.

Apart from questioning the need for the increase, we made some comments on the details of the proposals. Our main objections to the scheme are as follows –

  1. The expansion of the airport would lead to increased flights which would have impacts on the tranquillity of the Chilterns AONB and air quality in and around the airport.
  2. The expansion would lead to incursions into the surrounding Green Belt.
  3. The loss of valuable public open space and habitats at Wigmore Valley Park would be unacceptable.
  4. Insufficient assessments have been made of potential impacts on the AONB.

The proposal will soon be the subject of a Development Consent Order application, but this relates to the physical works to the airport and surroundings, but not the impact of flightpaths across the Chilterns. We are arguing that both need to be considered together. We will continue to monitor progress.

Our full responses to the Questionnaire can be viewed here.