Luton Airport expansion plan: destroying local quality of life!

The plan for massive expansion of Luton Airport will impact quality of life all over the Three Counties and beyond. People who want to sleep at night, enjoy their gardens or parks, breathe fresh air, see blue sky rather than more contrails, drive on the roads not sit in traffic jams, get on the trains – ORDINARY PEOPLE – will be badly affected if this plan goes ahead.

Noise

Luton Rising intends to increase the number of departures from Luton Airport each hour of the day. Their graph below shows the already excessive numbers flown in 2019 in green, which pale into insignificance compared to the dark blue plan. So don’t bother about trying to sleep in – there will be a departing flight every two minutes by 6am.

And this is what Luton Rising intends for flight arrivals, which roar in low over Pitstone, Whipsnade, Kensworth, Caddington and South Luton; or over Stevenage, St Paul’s Walden, Breachwood Green and past Wigmore from the other direction. So don’t bother trying to get to sleep: there will be an arriving flight every 3 minutes between 10pm and 11pm, and then every 10 minutes until 2am. If you’re lucky, nap for a couple of hours between 3am and 5am.

Night flight health damage

Just to be crystal clear – the World Health Organisation said in 2009 “sleeping satisfies a basic need and the absence of undisturbed sleep can have serious effects on human health”. The WHO’s 2018 Environmental Noise Guidelines indicate that noise can cause Critical health outcomes such as Cardiovascular disease, Annoyance, Effects on sleep, Cognitive impairment; and Important health outcome such as Adverse birth outcomes, Quality of life, well-being and mental health, Metabolic outcomes, Hearing impairment and tinnitus.

This is what Luton Rising intends to impose on us all by way of increases in flights (aircraft movements) at night:

Destruction of Wigmore Park

Wigmore Park was created as a buffer between the Airport and the residential area of Wigmore in Luton. Regardless of the well-being of its residents, Luton Borough Council turned the Park over to Luton Rising, which plans to destroy it. Below shows the expanded airfield footprint, with a red outline showing where the Park would be paved over for yet more aircraft stands and car-parks, and a second terminal:

Further expansion of Luton Airport ignores the growing threat of climate change, starkly underlined recently by the IPCC. It flies in the face of Luton’s declaration of a climate crisis. It ignores direct instruction from government to reduce Luton’s financial dependency on the Airport. Rather than develop sustainable plans to diversify the local economy, Luton Rising just gets further and further into debt: half a billion pounds at last reckoning.

A massive increase in annual passenger traffic, from 18 to 32 million, counts as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. This is right on the doorstep of north Hertfordshire with its essential farmland and rural towns and villages – over which Luton’s planes fly day and night, as well as robbing local residents of sleep. The plans would involve:

  • adding a further 80,000 flights a year to our already noisy and crowded skies
  • paving over the Wigmore Park nature reserve to build a second terminal and more carparks
  • causing 40,000 extra journeys a day on congested roads and rail services
  • increasing local air quality pollution and contribution to climate change by over 50%
  • creating an airport far bigger than can reasonably be accommodated close to so many rural communities
  • adding to financial risk for Luton Borough Council due to over-dependence on aviation growth

Local community groups all around the area, and the Parish, Town and County councils in Hertfordshire, are united in their opposition to further expansion at Luton Airport. LADACAN submitted a robust rebuttal to the pre-application DCO and will continue to fight against further expansion at Luton Airport.

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