Luton Airport 19 million? Time to say NO!

At present this consultation is closed and the portal is not accepting more. Comments emailed to developmentcontrol@luton.gov.uk must however be considered if received prior to the planning meeting.

The Airport has submitted its outline Carbon Reduction Plan and Luton Council’s climate change consultants are critical of it – as is LADACAN. An updated Environmental Impact Assessment does not give us any confidence that noise levels will reduce – and “modernised” A321neo aircraft are noisier than the old ones when flown at Luton. Please continue to OPPOSE this application.

Latest documents are on the Luton Borough Council planning portal here: Luton Planning Portal (or search online for “Luton Planning Portal” and enter 21/00031/VARCON), under the Documents tab. Our summary is as follows:

Luton Airport Carbon Reduction Plan (CRP)
The Airport has provided an outline plan which relies on Luton Council, its airport-owning company LLAL, airlines, passengers, and its own employees to cooperate otherwise 99% of its total emissions cannot be reduced. The Airport operator LLAOL can only directly control just 1% of its emissions – direct operational carbon – which is a drop in the ocean. But its plan has more aspirations than definite actions with measurable outcomes.

LLAOL intends to achieve carbon neutrality by 2026 and net zero carbon for those 1% direct operational emissions by 2040, but won’t produce a plan with viable targets until the end of 2022. Its concession ends in 2031 and we cannot be certain any successor will deliver on that plan, which has to run until 2050. Since a collaborative approach is required to achieve net zero, and no one body has responsibility for emissions, the Council cannot have confidence in these outline proposals until they are more definite and other stakeholders are fully on board.

Proposals, which are not even half-way towards being definite, include:

Short-term (to 2026)
– source electricity from renewables and review options for on-site and off-site renewable energy generation (not specific)
– continue to introduce energy-efficient equipment and behaviours (not specific)
– promote the use of sustainable travel for passengers and staff (not obligatory)
– establish a program for phased electrification of on-site vehicles and introduction of charging points (no timeframe or specific targets)
– promote and incentivise low carbon techniques during landing and takeoff (no indication of benefits)

Medium-term (2026 to 2031)
– increase electrical generation from on-site renewables to 50% by 2030
– provide 40 to 60 electric vehicle charging points by 2030
– work with airlines to help facilitate low carbon flights and sustainable fuels (not specific)
– achieve carbon neutrality for direct emissions by 2026 through offsetting residual emissions (offsetting does not actually reduce emissions)

Long-term (2031 to 2050)
– achieve net zero operational emissions by 2040 and significant reductions in surface transport and aviation (ST&A) emissions within the airport’s sphere of influence (ST&A account for 99% of its emissions, so this is still very vague)
– implement infrastructure to meet demand for low carbon aircraft (not clear or specific)
– address residual operational emissions using carbon removal schemes to achieve net zero by 2050 (this only affects the 1% direct emissions)

Review by Luton Council’s Climate Change Consultants
The Council’s consultants (Ricardo Energy and Environment) reviewed the CRP and their excellent report emphasises that Luton Council must consider the proposals in the light of Government decisions on the sixth carbon budget, the inclusion of international aviation within the carbon budgets from the sixth carbon budget onwards to net zero, recent planning decisions, and the levelling-up policy.

In particular it says “Government is expected very shortly (mid June 2021) to announce new policy on how it expects 6th Carbon Budget (including aviation and shipping) to be met. In the meantime, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommendations on the sixth carbon budget, and the work of the Sustainable Aviation Group and its de-carbonisation roadmap (though not policy) are together an indication of what is possible or likely. Establishing this benchmark is critical for the proper assessment of the Environmental Statement.”

It also notes that “the Council will need to show a transparent process for consideration of carbon emissions to make any decisions robust against appeal by the applicant (if refused) or judicial review by interested third parties (if consented). This is a very difficult balance to strike, and the Council should make every effort to make sure its decisions are based on the most up to date information and thorough analysis.”

It highlights that recent airport planning decisions indicate higher levels of concern over emissions.

In conclusion, the Ricardo report states:
“a. There are grounds to ask for further environmental information to address the issues identified in this analysis.
b. Further government policy can be expected in June on measures to deliver net zero aviation, including whether there is a need to constrain or prioritise airport capacity. Further information may be needed to assess the proposals against new policy.
c. If the proposal is consented there is a need for conditions to make the application acceptable, ie a commitment to delivering Government policy on net zero aviation locally. This could include some combination of emissions reductions and offsets or extractions to achieve net zero carbon emissions. It should cover scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (ie including aircraft emissions). The airport is a partner is delivering low carbon aviation and needs to work with airlines to deliver net zero.”

LADACAN believes that the Airport’s outline Carbon Reduction Plan is inadequate and lacks specific detail given the increasing importance of addressing the vital issue of carbon reduction in a credible and effective way. Aviation is a key contributor to emissions, and high altitude emissions have added harmful effects than those at low level, so aspirations alone are insufficient. This application will increase the number of flights from Luton Airport, and we oppose it on grounds that there cannot be confidence in the outline plans for carbon reduction.

Noise impacts and passenger limits

The latest amendments to the Environmental Impact Statement continue the theme which we have previously observed – that this is largely a work of fiction. For example:

  • The Airport believes 2021 will be the noisiest year.
    This projection is already out of date given that the extended COVID restrictions are still limiting flights.
  • They continue to pretend that the increase in noise due to the additional flights over and above the legally agreed limits is “not material”.
    A 1dB increase in LAeq equates to around 50 flights per day: definitely a material amount of noise!
  • They try to pretend that the introduction of new aircraft technology will strike a fair balance.
    The latest “new aircraft technology at Luton, the large A321neo type designed to save airlines fuel costs and carry more passengers, is proving to be noisier than the unmodernised aircraft – most likely because the Luton runway is too short to operate it without additional flaps and throttle – so the communities are losing out
  • They continue to try to foster the untruth that the aim was always to achieve 18 million passengers by 2020
    This blatant misrepresentation suggests that truthfulness is not high on the agenda – so how can communities believe anything else?

LADACAN is opposed to further capacity expansion at Luton Airport due to the additional noise impact, and the fact that the “dash for growth” was not conducted in a fair and balanced way. Luton Council rebated the concession fee to enable the airport operator to reward “growth” and “super growth” airlines, and – along with the operator – failed adequately to monitor the rapidly increasing noise contour footprint, with the result that legally agreed planning conditions were breached in 2017, 2018 and 2019. This airport operator has shown cannot be trusted to manage its environmental impacts.

How to submit further comments:

At present this consultation is closed and the portal is not accepting more. Comments emailed to developmentcontrol@luton.gov.uk must however be considered if received prior to the planning meeting.

While the consultation is open, comments on this planning application can be submitted on the Luton Council Planning Portal. Here’s the A,B,C of how to do it:

A) Register or Log On to the Luton Council Planning Portal
Follow this link to the Luton Planning Portal page and find these buttons:

Use orange Login button if already registered, else blue Register button.
  1. If you need to Register, click the button and fill in your details
  2. Wait for a confirmation email, and respond to it to activate your account

B) Prepare your comments in your own words based on the above
NB: LUTON’S PLANNING PORTAL TIMES OUT AFTER 15-20 min so we strongly recommend getting your comments ready in NotePad or Word so you can just copy/paste them in.

C) Submit your objection:
Follow that link again to the Luton Planning Portal page, click “Make a Comment” and then click “Log in and make a comment”. Log in there and you will still be on the right page. If not, do as Search for 21/00031/VARCON.

Click the Comment button, and select Commenter Type “Neighbour letter” (in which case your name and address will be displayed) or “Request to be made sensitive” to hide them. In Stance select “Object” and choose what bothers you most – either “Noise and disturbance” or “Other” which might be traffic congestion or emissions:

Then paste in your comments and submit them.

If all else fails, you can email your objection along with your name, address and postcode, quoting reference 21/00031/VARCON, to: developmentcontrol@luton.gov.uk

If you have found this information useful, please join LADACAN to be kept up to date with latest developments – see our Join Us page.

16 comments

  1. It is no wonder that there is all this airport controversy, Luton Council is run by a bunch of (people) who frankly cannot even get the road network right so why would the airport be any different.
    HELLO LUTON COUNCIL we do not need more aircraft, more noise more pollution, more traffic.
    Why should the funds from this antisocial activity be used to subsidise Luton Councils inability to spend money wisely. Luton Airport is seen as a cash cow by Luton Council and it will bulldoze over all common sense moves in order to get its way. Luton Airport is a world war 2 airstrip that has got out of hand and the one good thing covid has done it cut it back to size and long may that remain, we don’t need more stinking lumps of metal polluting the atmosphere.

  2. If aircraft movements contribute to Climate Change why are even thinking about ferrying more people around the world when video-conferencing and other methods of communication are so good? As regards noise insulation – what might this consist of – we had subsidized secondary glazing in the 1960s but these days most have double-glazed windows and insulated lofts against cold and noise. I will also mention the light pollution during the hours of darkness, it is quite amazing.

  3. As a resident in Sandridge, one of the areas which will be severely negatively affected by an acceptance of this application, I strongly object to it.
    It represents an imbalanced approach between benefits to industry a) financial greed, the impacts on people b) noise and the environment c) pollution and climate change, which have been a characteristic of the operation of Luton Airport since 2014.
    The above a) b) and c), and everything resulting from them, will have a seriously negative impact on my quality of life and mental health!
    Not only mine, but those of everyone living under the busier flight paths. I appeal to the Council to abide by its own declarations and legal responsibilities and reject this application!

  4. No No NO , it is already far too busy and incredibly noisy. I thought that we were in a climate crisis!!!? So why on EARTH do they need to expand an already terrible airport that gushes out noise and air pollution over thousands of peoples homes. No absolutely NO MORE PLANES

  5. Totally against it, not only because of noise and pollution but because it’s not necessary. Heathrow is not far and other airports closer if you’re from the West, North. And let’s brush over the current controversy re the UK airports not helping re CV19, hopefully that’s not long term. The driver for this is those who profit from it, period.

  6. We are in a climate emergency. It’s time to transition to a green economy. No to airport expansion. No to more planes.

  7. I object strongly to all of the proposals for the expansion of the airport. There are no reasons for more flights, more traffic in the air and roads, as good research already has shown that air pollution is great, our health is suffering from the noise and our country side and its environment is destroyed.
    I already wrote a detailed objection at the beginning of December outlining all the faults and gross ideas of the Planning application.
    The audacity to tell us that the Airport Operators will see to quieter planes, which will not happen in the near future, airlines are bankrupt, and will not be able to afford to purchase less noisier planes. Just observe who is flying still several times a day, even with the strict regulations that no travel is permitted, WizzAir is up there with the noisiest planes endangering our lives.
    The Council is not managing the airport properly and again the gall to tell us that the expansion will bring economic resources and benefits, who do they think we are. We are not idiots believing in lies. There will be no jobs created, as in the long run the airport terminals will be run by computers.
    The application should be objected at all cost.

  8. We do not miss the planes flying into Luton over our house in Letchworth every 90 seconds in summer months from 530am. The clear blue skies have been fabulous over lockdown, no vapour trails and clear sunsets not blotted out by numerous aircraft pollution/vapour trails building over the day.
    Do not increase the flights please! It’s unbearable.

  9. Whatever any outcome the villages affected by aircraft noise should be remunerated. Caddington, for example, gets overflys at less than 1000ft when there is an easterly wind. The Parish Council should receive a minimum of £10 per over-flight during the day rising to £50 between 6.00 a.m. and 8.00 p.m. and 10.00 p.m. to 12.00 p.m. and £100 per flight between midnight and 6.00 a.m. Being in Central Beds Caddington gets nothing from the airport except grief.

  10. I strongly object to this application, which will otherwise cause significantly increased noise for another 1,877 homes, and add to carbon emissions and air pollution.
    I live in Letchworth and during summer months we are currently subjected to flights every 90 seconds from 5.30am for 7 days a week. We are woken by them every day and it makes sitting in the garden unbearable at times due to the constant noise of one approaching Luton or climbing with a high pitch tone to circle and then land. It is constant and has increased greatly in the 13 years we have lived here. I suffer from asthma and this has greatly improved since the pandemic began due to the lack air pollution from the skies.
    Please leave us with our clear blue skies, clear sunsets and lack of vapour trails which we regularly count in summer.

  11. Please can we prioritise, climate change should be our priority and to focus our attention on this and reducing pollution and carbon emissions not creating more. !
    I live in Letchworth and the summer months not only do we hear the flights but sitting outside is no pleasure due to the noise and regularity every day and at regular intervals. Their are enough flights and opportunities ( if people wish to travel ) but I don’t believe they will especially since the pandemic it will change some people’s behaviours.

  12. These proposals are deceptive. Whilst apparently seeking a minor increase from 18 mllion to 19 million passengers, they are in reality a Trojan Horse to nullify and get round the noise limits set down in conditions to the planning consent granted in 2013.
    It seems bizarre to consult on any proposed expansion, however minor, at a time when it is by no means certain that air travel can or indeed should return to the levels prior to Covid let alone increase beyond that level.
    Climate change is a greater concern now than ever before and aviation should first seek to be environmentally responsible before seeking further growth. It is generally accepted that post Covid there will be a ‘new normal’ and we will not simply return to the situation before the pandemic – and that includes air travel and aviation.
    Your proposals should be abandoned for the reasons above. The airport has failed in the past to “manage the effects’ of its over-rapid growth. To operate knowing that planning conditions were being flouted suggests that management in the future would be no better than management in the past. Presumably the airport will again rely on speculative forecasts for the introduction of new and quieter planes at a time when all airlines are struggling financially and unlikely to increase investment in new planes.
    The 2013 planning consent gave ample opportunity for extra jobs and revenue. A minor increase in passenger numbers can only bring minor benefits while doing nothing to mitigate the noise polution and environmental damage caused by the wilful flouting of planning conditions.
    It is an old saying – avoid putting all your eggs in one basket. Supporting regional prosperity and economic growth by seeking to expand an industry suffering severe economic problems with an uncertain future is simply short-sighted and widely optimistic. Creating further environmental damage in the area will only discourage the development of other worthwhile economic activity. Property values will decline along with the physical and mental health of local residents.

  13. I strongly object to this application and future proposals for airport expansion. I join others in this by saying NO to noise and pollution, and disturbance.

  14. I would like to strongly object to expansion of the airport.
    At this time when we are aiming to reduce the carbon footprint of the nation it seems sheer madness to proceed with this plan.
    Also I would like to point out that the mental suffering from the relentless noise from overflying is enormous.
    I would very much like the planners to come and sit in our garden to experience what a large proportion of the population in Harpenden, St Albans and Sandridge have to put up with.
    Please stop and think of the damage and harm this expansion will do, greed must not ruin peoples lives!

  15. The noise, pollution, congestion of the surrounding roads, and disturbance that comes from Luton Airport is bad enough now. This proposal would make it unbearable.

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