Our response opposing Luton Airport expansion

4th April 2022

We are strongly opposed to the proposed expansion of Luton Airport, a near doubling of its current capacity, causing significant harm to the environment and the countryside for miles around. We have submitted our response to this extremely damaging proposal.

The consultation poses the question ‘Why grow?’ and seeks to justify itself as an ‘important connectivity asset’ in the region, driving traditional economic growth. We believe this is fundamentally flawed for two reasons: it is incompatible with the climate emergency, and it is incompatible with the need to rebalance economic development as envisaged in the Government’s levelling-up commitments.

Specifically, we oppose the proposed expansion of Luton Airport on the following environmental grounds.

  • Increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed 60% growth in air traffic represents a huge increase in emissions, an estimated additional 1.3 million tonnes of carbon.
  • Increase in car usage and traffic congestion. Despite warm words about accessing the airport via public transport, the plans propose an additional 7,750 car parking spaces, generating more private car use, more congestion on local roads, and more greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Increase in noise pollution. More noise from more flights will damage wide areas of the countryside across Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire, with particularly severe localised impacts at villages such as Kensworth and Breachwood Green.
  • Increase in air pollution. Despite the assumption that newer generation aircraft will produce fewer and less harmful emissions, this is neither assured nor enforceable and we believe there will be further damage to air quality.
  • Loss of countryside. The proposed expansion of the airport footprint, including new buildings, the extended apron for aircraft movement, and the additional car parking spaces, will encroach on existing greenfield areas to the east of the airport.
  • Loss of open space at Wigmore Valley Park. The proposed expansion would result in the loss of one wildlife site and seriously impact another. The Park is listed as an Asset of Community Value and should be protected as such for local residents.
  • Harm to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The area east of Luton Airport is in the AONB, and the expansion proposals will cause further deterioration in the tranquillity and landscape quality of this statutory designated protected area.

Our response covers these and other objections in more detail. (For full details of the consultation, see the Luton Rising website.)

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a large passenger aircraft preparing to land and looking quite threatening, we oppose airport expansion