Desperate Luton Seeks to Sugar-Coat Its Plan for ‘Environmental Disaster’
In apparently desperate move to win support for its plans to add a further 14 million passengers to the 18 million already using Luton Airport each year, the Leader of Luton Borough Council has written to other local councils emphasising the alleged economic benefits, but failing to make clear how the impact of some 80,000 extra flights each year and 77,000 extra passenger journeys to and from the airport each day on the towns, villages, roads and rail services of Hertfordshire will be mitigated.
In the letter, Hazel Simmons says “In earlier communications we have outlined London Luton Airport Ltd’s absolute commitment to minimising and mitigating environmental impacts within surrounding communities”, but gives no details as to how such mitigation could be achieved. And of course LLAL has no direct experience of running an airport – it simply collects the money from the concession agreement with the airport operators.
Andrew Lambourne from residents’ group LADACAN said “It questionable enough that Luton Borough Council has sent such an unbalanced letter during a consultation period. It also beggars belief that LLAL knows anything about mitigating environmental impacts. But it is absolutely outrageous to try to sugar-coat what is effectively a recipe for environmental disaster without giving any concrete detail of how the climate-change, noise and pollution impacts and surface transport overload would be mitigated. The reason for this oversight seems obvious: because they do not know.”
“The entire airspace in the south-east is awaiting redesign, hanging on the decision about possible expansion at Heathrow. Nobody knows where the planes may be flying as a result, or how high they would be. Meanwhile the Climate Change Committee has made clear that aviation expansion targets must be slashed to meet carbon-neutral commitments. And the DfT’s Aviation Forecasts from 2017 peg Luton Airport at 18 million passengers until 2050, clearly indicating that it does not need any further expansion to occur there. Everybody is painfully aware of how congested the local roads and rail services already are. There is only one reason Luton Borough Council wants more airport expansion – to make more money, at the expense of the environment and quality of life for us all.”