Letter Published in the Luton News 24 Sept

Last year a UN report identified that the single biggest driver of biodiversity loss is the destruction of natural habitats.

We were told in the recent David Attenborough ‘Extinction: the facts’ TV documentary that Scientists estimate our exploitation of nature will introduce 5 new diseases each year and a pandemic every 10 years.  We were shown how everything is interlocked with each other, and that we humans are responsible for bringing the extinction of nature’s populations down from millions of years to decades, impacting three quarters of our food chain and 30% of the soil which we rely on to grow on.

Prince Charles has warned,  “[The environmental] crisis has been with us for far too many years – decried, denigrated and denied”.

At a recent conference, Pope Francis recently urged “an ecological retooling” of the economy to save the environment and reduce wasteful consumption.  He said “[the pandemic] has called into question the scale of values that set money and power over all else”.  Economics should be the expression of a society that “refuses to sacrifice human dignity to the idols of finance and uses financial resources not to dominate but to serve”.

This month our council agreed to loan £60 million to LLAL (the council’s airport company) in private.  The council is run by councillors that are elected by us Luton residents and we will have to pay that loan back, as well as other previous and future aviation borrowings, which now come to hundreds of millions of pounds and to be paid back over many years.

Since Covid-19 the council’s model is flawed.  It is totally reliant on the airport’s funding stream to achieve jobs and economic growth.  The council’s plan to expand the airport by 2050 will add to the exploitation of the natural world and to the extinction of nature’s populations, no matter how well they sell it, destroying the local environment and adding to the loss of local habitats. The council’s plan to eradicate poverty in Luton by 2040 is based upon the income generated by the airport and its expansion.  As aviation is a main cause of transmission of disease and pandemics how can the council now justify this model?

Those in the council focused on airport expansion to bring them riches must be made accountable for the legacy that they will leave.  If these individuals are so driven by making money that they see no other way, then let money be the driver of their own misfortune.

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