At a recent meeting of the London Luton Airport Consultative Committee, the Head Commissioner of ICCAN, which was formed by the Government with the aim of improving trust in the management of aviation noise, expressed government concerns regarding how the owner of Luton Airport is also the regulator of the airport. On hearing about the airport’s plans to breach current noise and passenger limits, the Commissioner said “I struggle with how Luton Council could have the trust of communities in that situation”. He then added: “to me (this) highlighted the real conflict of interest and that the Council cannot be the owner and a regulator in an equitable way”
The latest example of this conflict of interest is that the Council, who owns the airport, advised the airport operator to resubmit a Planning Application to breach binding noise and passenger limits, so removing over 500 objections. Yet the old Application could have been amended.
This despite the former and now, the new Application being basically the same as it too seeks to raise aircraft noise and to increase the airport’s passenger numbers to an interim 19m. On asking the Planning Officer in writing why the Council advised the airport operator to resubmit the Planning Application when it could have been amended, the Planning Officer stated he was not prepared to answer any further questions.
Further applications to increase passenger numbers above 19m are expected in small increments so allowing the airport owner/ Council to approve their own applications. The eventual aim is to expand the airport on to one of the town’s largest parks and a County Wildlife Site.
Many opponents view the unhealthy symbiotic relationship between the airport operator and the airport owner – even before the advice to resubmit almost the same Planning Application – as a conspiracy by LLAL/Luton Borough Council and the airport operator to corrupt the outcome of the Planning Application. We take a different view – that by removing 500 objections the Council will feel more justified in ignoring the will of the people.
One thing is certain: that this Planning Application will be approved by the Council who are pushing for a Luton Airport with 32 million passengers, that will RISE then become a 36m Luton Airport. These aims have been made clear in planning documents.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t object again so we urge you to dust off your old objection and resubmit it with the new Application number 21/00031/VARCON so your voice is still heard.