New Consultations – A First Look at the Detail

The latest consultation events for Airport Expansion started on February 8th. Anyone hoping for scaled-back plans after a barrage of complaints since the 2019 consultation, will be left very disappointed.  Comparing the 2022 plans to the plans revealed at the 2019 consultations, residents will struggle to find any changes apart from the language used.

At an additional cost of – we believe – £20 million, Luton Borough Council (Luton Rising) now talks about its green agenda and how it “takes its environmental responsibilities incredibly seriously.” Under phase one of the plans the first victim of Luton Rising’s “environmental responsibilities” is a much-loved County Wildlife Site. This is a site where over eighty species of bird have been recorded, including eleven red listed species regularly occurring such as linnet, skylark and yellowhammer.  Moreover, the area has orchids, flowering in their thousands between May and July with at least four species found there. 

When it comes to environmental statements, the report is peppered with words like “Where possible” and “encouraging”.  These words are just double speak for insisting on nothing, as they recognise that pollution, noise and traffic are going to increase massively at a larger airport.

 While the report focuses on a “green terminal”, there is no mention of the extra pollution that will be pumped into the atmosphere from tens of thousands of extra aircraft. In fact the only hint of extra fuel burn is that the plans include a massive new fuel farm on the Hertfordshire border, required to store millions of litres of aircraft fuel over the course of a year.

There are, though, claims of binding legal limits. 

“We will establish a ‘Noise Envelope’ which sets out legally binding and enforceable limits and controls to manage air noise”

What the statement fails to mention is that there were already legally binding and enforceable limits and controls on the airport that the airport operator broke for 3 consecutive years.  The Council refused to take action, instead approving the raising of noise limits to new highs in late 2021.  The other option would have been to insist the airport operator complied with the existing limits – but, of course, we are talking about a planning authority that owns the airport – so it was not interested in enforcing legally binding limits when there is money to be made.

We have no doubts in the future that if the very generous proposed new limits are again broken the airport operator will have no problems asking the airport owner for an ever higher limit.

We now turn our attention to the Dart (Direct Air-Rail Transit) which links the airport to a railway station.

Despite claims that the new Dart will take traffic off the roads, thousands of new car park spaces are planned to be built on the adjoining public park and on farmers’ fields to the north of the airport.  In 2019 15.7% of airport passengers arrived by train.  Using the Gatwick figures of 33% we estimate road traffic will increase by 43% despite the Dart. In fact so much new road traffic is expected that the chief planning officer of Luton has stated that the A505, that links the airport to the north east via the A1M, still won’t cope despite plans to dual carriage missing sections of it.  

The ridiculous and farcical plan is to divert traffic heading for Terminal 2 away from the A505 so it passes 2 schools using narrow residential roads.  Despite Freedom of Information requests sent on 20th February 2020 the Council/ Luton Rising have refused to answer our questions (next) and will not engage with us despite reminders :

This Freedom of Information request is to determine whether Luton Borough Council has carried out its own review regarding the impact of traffic on local communities caused by Century Park, which was approved in March 2019, and its proposals for airport expansion.

We wish to see the report(s) that shows that the council has considered the impact on residents of traffic heading to and from the A1M and the A505 that will use the residential roads of Wigmore, Stopsley and Crawley Wards, which will become the main access route to and from Century Park and Terminal 2.

We also wish to see the report that shows the current traffic levels in Ashcroft Road, Wigmore Lane, Crawley Green Road, Lalleford Road and Eaton Green Road and what is predicted with an airport handling 32 million passengers combined with what would remain of Century Park and how that is expected to impact the lives of residents in the three wards and in particular the above mentioned roads.

Is it the intention of Luton Borough Council to reclassify any of the above mentioned residential roads as an A or B road?

We also wish to see a copy of any report or impact statement about Wigmore Primary School and Ashcroft High School (now called Queen Elizabeth School) regarding what measures are proposed to be put in place regarding pupil safety, as these schools would be seriously affected by LBC’s plans to increase traffic volumes.

Despite the claims of a “green agenda”, the consultation documents still show the complete destruction of a major and officially recognised County Wildlife Site. 

This is located in the award winning Wigmore Valley Park that has been voted the best park in Bedfordshire. To mitigate the loss of most of this park, Luton Rising plans to use a barren farmer’s field it bought especially as a replacement.  This field used to grow turnips, and it isn’t even in Luton or Bedfordshire.  

We did notice though, that secret plans to build surplus stands for this 32m passenger application have been dropped due to the cost, as a valley would need infilling.  The plan was to build stand capacity for 36-38m passengers so later on it would be an easier process for the planning authority (the airport owner) to grant permission when there was no extra stand capacity needed.

We see nothing in these plans to please us

  • Please attend one of the following events and challenge the bull
  • Please attend one of the following events and challenge the bull

Consultation Brochure :

Online Consultation Survey form that is linked to the above Brochure :

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