Environmental impact of Luton Airport expansion

The environmental impacts

The impacts on quality of life in the entire local area if this proposal succeeds would be:

  • 60% more flights overall, with many compressed into the very early morning and late evening by the low-cost airlines which favour Luton – so 70% more flights at night (11pm to 7am) and 50% more during the day
  • A significant increase in the noise footprint which badly impacts communities all around the Airport, with no mitigation: the latest planes sound just as loud, and promised airspace modernisation is still a decade away
  • Up to 40,000 additional passenger journeys each day by car to and from the Airport on local roads (not just the M1, but the A505 and the Lower Luton Road), as well as many more rail users
  • 60% increase in carbon emissions from the flights, at a crucial time when the impacts of Climate Change are now obvious – and aviation emissions are three times more damaging due to contrails and high altitude pollutants
  • Impacts on health and well-being due to noise disturbance at night and early in the morning, and noise impacts on schools which affect learning
  • A reduction in Air Quality at and around the airfield due to the increased numbers of cars and aircraft, as well as the particulates from kerosene aircraft fuel and from aircraft brakes and tyres
  • Loss of valuable habitat – Wigmore Park, a County Wildlife Site and Asset of Community Value due to its wild orchids and ancient hedgerows, as well as a vital buffer between local housing and the airfield, will be concreted over to build Terminal 2, more aircraft stands and massive car parks.

Where would the impacts be felt?

The simple answer is: all around the airport. The only urban area within 10 miles of the Airport not regularly overflown by aircraft is Luton itself (apart from South Luton). Otherwise, flights cross the towns and villages of Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire in large numbers from early morning until the small hours, with cargo flights at night.

Flights to and from Luton Airport when the wind is in the west – the darker the colour, the lower and noisier the aircraft
Flights to and from Luton Airport when the wind is in the east – the darker the colour, the lower and noisier the aircraft

Try to remember what it was like to endure 230 arrivals or departures a day during the noisiest ever year in 2019, and then add 50% more to that – plus 50,000 more passengers a day journeying to and from the Airport.

This proposal would have massive environmental impacts, badly affecting all the surrounding areas and communities, which is why it was so important to oppose the plans during the consultation which ran until 4th April.

Is anything safe?

Apparently not: LLAL is willing to sacrifice Wigmore Valley Park – an open green space with some ancient hedgerows, wild orchids and popular with local people for recreation. This would become Terminal 2, aircraft stands and massive car parks for a supposedly “green controlled” development!

Existing green space of Wigmore Park
Proposed concreting-over of Wigmore Park

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