The Chief Executive of London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) Mr Graham Olver announced on the 18th May that expansion plans had been reviewed, Exclusive: Luton rethinks airport expansion plans and via his interview on BBC Three Counties radio (19/5/21).
So what’s different?
- Four year time slip from 2041 to 2045 for Terminal Two
- An additional round of consultations
- The detail behind a revised expansion
- Shaved £1 billion off of the construction costs
- Earthworks re-design
- Alignment pathway with the Councils declaration of a climate emergency and net zero carbon.
What’s not new?
- The same principals
- Improving the existing terminal
- Increase capacity from 18 million to 32 million passengers a year. The initial increase being by the increments which could be decided under local planning legislation (by their parent company, Luton Borough Council)
- Expensive reviews by external consultants. Additional cost of consultations, yet more money to be found when LLAL have little or no current income from the airport
- Encouraging additional Climate Change and further destruction of the environment
Let’s consider Mr Olver’s media coverage in a little more detail:
Mr Olver is a highly paid employee of Luton Borough Council (LBC), the airport owner. He represents LBC and yet the Council Leader would appear to have been unaware that one of her senior officers was making this announcement on a Local Government news forum.
Mr Olver stated, “We’ve audited ourselves, we’ve look at that audit, we’re very open with our information, anyone looking at what we do can see we’ve done a great job.”
If public confidence in the expansion is of paramount importance, we would ask Mr Olver:
- To make available to the public the raw data results of the Statutory consultation?
- To publish the detail and reasoning process behind the revised expansion, before any third consultation takes place?
- To publish details of what the “check and challenge review” consisted of and who was asked to contribute their thoughts? A full review normally includes a comprehensive unbiased ‘for’ and ‘against’ comparison, we would ask that be included in the raw data mentioned above?
- To provide evidence of how £1 billion will be saved in construction costs? LLAL have no crystal ball as to what construction costs will be in a years’ time, never mind in twenty years. The only way to guarantee savings is to not undertake the project.
- To give figures on how much extra a third consultation will cost, broken down into component parts and separated out by LLAL costs, third party partners and consultants.
- To evidence that expansion Business Case figures will still back the growth demand claims.
- Will COP26 initiatives override the current, historical data being used?
- Where is the funding for the continuing development works coming from? LLAL has no income. Force Majeure agreements within the Operating Concession, means that they are not even receiving the base line £3 million per annum in that Contract. This would appear to be an ongoing issue for several years according to the LLAL Board Chairman? LLAL are using a £167 million loan facility from their owner Luton Borough Council, to balance their books on the DART and this expansion project.
- The 27,000 jobs referenced by Mr Olver, prove that they are jobs wholly dependent on the airport?
Mr Olver references the theoretical one billion pounds saving against teaching posts, it would have been more relevant to have used the 300 plus jobs lost at LBC over the past 12 months, and that key community posts could be brought back?
Mr Olver says, “we’ve increased the amount of green space there is over-all in our new Wigmore Valley Park, but we are having to re-configure it to permit the expansion”
- We would say: The plans actually take overall green space away, destroying millions of different kinds of biodiversity. Moving Wigmore Valley Park onto farm land is not increasing green space.
- If Mr Olver knows that it takes 30 years to grow a tree to reach its best, then why are hundreds of mature trees on LLAL leased land being felled. How’s that going to benefit the next generation?
- What type of consultation will the third consultation be? Statutory or non-Statutory?
Mr Olver is correct when he states that demand growth is increasing. Populations are increasing and at the same time the natural world is decreasing. Humans are the most intelligent species on earth yet we are a product of nature and we are slowly suffocating all other life forms, creating human wealth to destroy the planets health.
Be brave London Luton Airport Limited and Luton Borough Council and get off of this continuous cycle of believing that monetary wealth will solve all social, community and environmental issues, it will only give our future generations more problems to solve.