Documents just released on Luton Borough Council’s planning website are a ‘damning indictment’ of the bid by Luton Airport Operators to have a key noise control planning condition set aside, according to campaigners.
An assessment by Cole Jarman, a respected firm of noise consultants employed by the Council to review the Airport’s bid, concludes that “the noise assessment reported in the Environmental Statement is inadequate in that it does not provide a sufficient description of the adverse effects likely to arise and offers no effective means of mitigating significant adverse effects.”
Andrew Lambourne, speaking for members of the residents’ group LADACAN said “This expert report vindicates our position and exposes the total lack of concern which the Airport has for local residents. As well as ignoring our pleas to keep noise within the agreed limits, it cannot even bring itself to state clearly what the impacts of the uncontrolled growth have been, and fails to offer effective mitigation for flying too many noisy planes. Luton Airport seems to be intent on growth at all costs, regardless of the impact on neighbouring communities, and despite claiming that it wants to be a good neighbour.”
Luton Airport’s doublespeak description of its bid to set aside the planning condition has also attracted criticism. In its just-published Annual Monitoring Report for 2018, operations director Neil Thompson says in the Foreword “We have a range of operating restrictions including movement limits and noise quota limits, and we are focussed on ensuring they are adhered to. We’re also in the process of requesting temporary changes to our noise contour to ensure we remain fully compliant with existing regulations.”
Nigel Green speaking for St Albans Quieter Skies said “This comment would be laughable if it was not so tragic. What he’s saying in effect is: we’re asking for the rules to be set aside so that it does not look as if we’ve broken them. So not only have they ridden roughshod over the planning conditions they agreed to less than 6 years ago, they want to try to pretend that they are fully compliant just in case the government looks too closely at the latest bid to double capacity all over again, before any of the noise control measures have had effect.”
Luton Borough Council has responded by inviting the Airport to indicate when it can provide further clarifying information answering the shortcomings identified by the noise experts. Again, campaigners feel this is unfair to residents, as Andrew Lambourne explains: “Luton Airport has known since 2016, and probably before, that it was growing too quickly to remain within the agreed noise limits. It has breached the night noise limit for two summers in a row, and will do so again this summer. Giving it yet more time for further information and excuses to be provided is unacceptable: we call on Luton Borough Council at the very least to fine the Operators and require compliance as soon as possible.”
The review by Cole Jarman of Luton Airport’s bid for Condition 10 to be changed can be found on the Luton Borough Council Planning portal at https://planning.luton.gov.uk/online-applications/ and then searching on reference 19/00428/EIA. Select the Documents tab, and downloading “Regulation 25 Attachment (Cole Jarman Memo)”.
The Borough Council’s response to the Airport’s agents is the document entitled “Regulation 25 Request for further information”. The Airport’s 2018 Annual Monitoring Report can be downloaded from: https://www.london-luton.co.uk/corporate/community/noise/annual-monitoring-reports
LADACAN (Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise), STAQS (St Albans Quieter Skies), Harpenden Sky, STAND (St Albans Aircraft Noise Defence) and SLFFL (Stop Low Flights From Luton) are campaigning together for reduction in air traffic noise from Luton Airport before any further expansion is even considered.