Huge opposition to Luton airport expansion
Around 100 people turned out to a public meeting on Tuesday 11th April, to show the strength of their opposition to Luton airport expansion.
The meeting had been called by the Stop Luton Airport Expansion group (SLAE). Despite a night of heavy rain and strong winds, the hall was packed out to listen to the speakers and ask many interesting questions.
The meeting, held in Wigmore, Luton, gave an update on progress of the plans by Luton Rising (the name for Luton’s airport company, owned by Luton Borough Council), The plans propose almost doubling the number of airport passengers. Because the plans are nationally significant, they will be considered by a special process called a Development Consent Order (DCO).
The DCO plans mean that many local homes would be blighted. Speakers at the meeting told people how they could register their interest and show opposition. Residents also heard how the area would suffer from very heavy traffic on local roads, plus up to 9 sets of new traffic lights.
Luton Rising has already held two consultations and has assured residents that they have been listened to. Yet SLAE was able to show the meeting how the quality of life in East Luton would be massively affected.
The much used and loved Wigmore Valley Park would be bulldozed and covered by a new airport terminal and car parks. The park has won two Fields in Trust awards as one of the best parks in the Eastern region. To replace this valuable park (a County Wildlife Site), a “new” park would be created on sterile farmland in Hertfordshire. The huge variety of existing mature flora and fauna and hundreds of trees in Wigmore Valley Park would disappear for ever. Access to the new park would be via a small green corridor surrounded by warehousing and airport car parking. Some of the replacement park would not even have public access, so there are already clear doubts already over the size of the new parkland.
Residents were also informed of the plans to replace every roundabout currently in the Wigmore/Vauxhall Park areas with traffic lights. A huge access road to terminal 2 would also be constructed. Stationary traffic and increased air and noise pollution from those vehicles would dramatically increase health problems for local residents.
The meeting ended with a talk explaining that the climate emergency means that the UN has urged that no airport should be allowed to expand.