In December 2018, the Government launched its consultation document: “Aviation 2050 – The future of UK aviation”.
All airports are basing their expansion plans on the theories and predictions in this document.
This consultation makes very clear that whilst government supports aviation industry growth, this must be coupled with steps to mitigate environmental damage such as carbon emissions, noise and air quality. Airport operators must also minimise the negative impacts of growth on local areas and make journeys to and from airports cleaner, smarter and quicker.
Local Authorities have an immense role to play in this potential growth, as it will be they who decide how aviation fits within their Local Plans, and how impacts will be minimised, before granting any planning permissions.
As part of this consultation about aircraft noise the government has established a new Independent Commission on Civil Aviation Noise (ICCAN)
ICCAN began its work in January 2019 and will advise the Government about best practice on noise mitigation, and how the needs of affected communities can be best served regarding any airport operational changes or expansion projects. The government has committed to review ICCAN’s powers within two years and this will include the possibility of putting it on a statutory footing.
In April, ICCAN held a consultation meeting in St Albans, Hertfordshire. This was attended by local groups who were concerned about aircraft noise and expansion plans from London Luton Airport, so that they could give their views.
Stop Luton Airport Expansion (SLAE) was invited to speak alongside LADACAN (Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), Stop Low Flights from Luton, St Albans Quieter Skies (STAQS), HarpendenSky.com, St Albans Aircraft Noise Defence (STAND), Breachwood Green Aircraft Noise Group, and several Councillors from Herts CC and St Albans District Council.
The officers from ICCAN listened intently and took a great interest in all the points that were raised.
The recurring theme was the “blurred lines” link between Luton Borough Council (the shareholding owners of London Luton Airport on behalf of Luton residents) and the airport operator and concessionaire, London Luton Airport Operations Ltd (LLAOL).
One freely grants planning requests for growth by the other, as they both make a financial gain.
The ICCAN officers actually stayed longer than they planned, as they found the points made very relevant to the process they are undertaking.
We will keep you informed of any feedback arising from this meeting, or future meetings.