Anyone reading the above message that was posted by London Luton Airport Ltd on its Facebook page would be forgiven for thinking that they were committed to reducing the millions of car journeys to the airport each year with the opening of the Dart in 2022. Actually, they are provisioning for a big increase to increase revenue.
The truth is that airport parking and the £5 drop off and pick up charge by the terminal is a major source if not the biggest source of income for the airport. This means that – instead of reducing the number of parking spaces at the airport to encourage rail travel via the DART – LLAL plans to add thousands of extra parking spaces and build a second drop off zone for its planned new second terminal. The new drop off zone and additional airport car parks will be located inside Wigmore Valley Park and on a large farmer’s field that borders Hertfordshire. These areas are presently a haven for wildlife.
Despite declaring its own climate emergency, Luton Borough Council, who owns LLAL, has admitted (in a response from its Chief Planning Officer) that the A505, which is a partial dual carriageway to Luton Airport, will still grind to a standstill if the airport is expanded.
This is despite plans to turn it into a full dual carriageway in Luton, regardless of the DART. Consultation documents for airport expansion shows that the Council/LLAL intends to divert expected stationary traffic from the A505 and use local residential roads instead to get traffic from the East of England to the proposed second terminal. The Consultation documents also shows road alterations being required in both Hitchin and Stevenage to increase road capacity as the A1M is a feeder route via the A505.
While the DART will indeed take a higher percentage of rail passengers to the airport from an estimated 15.7% to a LLAL target of 34%, road traffic using LLAL’s own figures will still increase by around 50%.
Now that is something you will never read on the LLAL Facebook page as they try to hide the truth.