Our Q&A over what the planned expansion of Luton Airport will mean for Hertfordshire
This week London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL) began a nine-week consultation into plans to almost double the capacity of the airport.
But Hertfordshire County Council say they have a number of concerns about what it will mean for Herts.
An application is expected to the Planning Inspectorate in summer 2020, and the decision by the Secretary of State for Transport could be made towards the end of 2021.
Here is our Q&A on this controversial topic.
I live in Hertfordshire - why should I care about Luton Aiport?
Luton Airport is close to the county border with Herts, whilst the rail route to the airport also goes through Hertfordshire.
According to Herts County Council bosses the expansion will impact upon Hertfordshire's transport systems. including roads, as well as the local environment.
Why does the airport need to expand?
Currently Luton Aiport has a capacity for 18million passengers per year. It will almost reach full capacity with an expected 17.8million passengers, and that figure is only likely to continue to increase.
What will the expansion consist of?
Capacity will increase to 32million passengers per year, by the year 2039. This will come by providing a second terminal north of the runway and extensive new airfield infrastructure.
What other developments will be introduced.
There are proposals for a third station and extension for the Luton DART fast transit from Luton Airport Parkway railway station to the new terminal, plus on- and off-site highway. improvements.
Will this mean more night flights?
No. There will be no increase in the number of night flights currently permitted, from 11.30pm-6am.
What do airport bosses say the benefits will be?
Luton Council's chief executive Robin Porter says that the airport is "a key driver for economic growth and prosperity" locally, and that the expansion would mean 16,000 new jobs, with around a third of those directly employed at the airport.
He also downplayed environmental concerns, saying that proposal "minimises impact on green belt, and will be delivered in line with robust targets set within Luton Council’s new net-zero carbon emissions pledge.”
There are also promises of "measures to tackle noise, climate change, air quality and travel to and from the airport," including a target of at least 45 per cent of airport passengers travelling to Luton Airport by 2029
What do Herts County Council say the disadvantages will be?
Herts say there will be a significant impact from aircraft noise upon neighbouring towns. They also point to transport, with Cllr Derrick Ashley saying: "We’re also very concerned about how an extra 14 million passengers a year will actually get to the airport without this causing serious problems on Hertfordshire’s roads."
Cllr Ashley added: "“There are clearly some economic benefits that would come with the growth of London Luton Airport, but these need to be balanced against the impact any expansion would have on the neighbouring areas, and with wider environmental impacts."
Cllr Ashley wants LLAL to share any revenue generated by the airport expansion with neighbouring areas - including in Hertfordshire.
How can I have my say?
Full details of the consultation events are available at www.futureluton.llal.org.uk and includes all documents being published as part of the consultation – including the Guide to Statutory Consultation and the Feedback Form, which together provide all the key information.
Your views can be submitted online, by completing a paper feedback form, or by sending us a letter or email.
The consultation will close at 11.59pm on December 16, 2019, although feedback forms with a postal date on or before then will be accepted.