The Councils Little Secret

Anyone looking at Luton Airport’s official passenger statistics for October at https://www.london-luton.co.uk/corporate/lla-publications/statistics will discover that the airport is operating below its Council planning permission limit of 18 million passengers at 17,917,519.  

What most people won’t know is that the airport supplies another set of figures to the Civil Aviation Authority, that shows the airport is actually operating above 18 million at 18,112,000 for the same 12 month rolling period.

It seems that the airport has conveniently lost passengers that disappear off the airport’s own statistics which are presented to the Council.  The Council has admitted it knows that 2 sets of figures exist and is happy to ignore the CAA figures when it is making additional money. 

The airport operator LLAOL in recent years has consistently broken yearly night-time noise limits, where not only does the airport operator financially benefit but so does a Council that is meant to enforce breaches of planning permission.  To date no such enforcement action has taken place. 

With pressure mounting, the airport operator has finally put in a planning application to increase the night-time noise limits. This is because it doesn’t wish to comply with the existing generous noise limits and the existing planning permission regarding night time noise.  

As part of the planning application LLAOL has produced an Environmental Statement relating to the Variation of Conditions 10 where it states:

“There will be no increase in overall passenger numbers permitted as part of this proposed variation, so this assessment only focuses on the airborne aircraft noise”.

Who is LLAOL trying to kid?  The statement fails to mention that the applicant has actually put in another planning application to increase passenger numbers to 19 million, which in our eyes is another reason why a variation of condition 10 is needed.

Once again this is another airport planning application that will go the Council’s own Planning and Development Committee.  A Committee that has a consistent record of approving any application from LLAOL or LLAL; but with the Council owning the airport – is it surprising?

While other Councils fight airport expansion Luton Council can’t get enough of it, but then it does have its fingers in the airport’s tills so the question becomes “is the Council motivated by pure greed?”.  

With a Planning Committee that would appear to blindly follow Council policy without any regard to objections, the airport operator (LLAOL) will no doubt be looking forward to hearing positive news from its partners and business associates regarding these both applications.

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