Luton Airport submits ambitions plans to help with growth - increasing from 18million passengers a year to 32million

Luton Rising, the Luton Council company that owns London Luton Airport, submitted its application for the airport’s long-term growth to 32million annual passengers on Monday.
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The plans, sent to the Planning Inspectorate, include community funding proposals that they say could provide an additional £14m every year for communities across Luton and neighbouring areas, and would support the company’s wider ambition of making London Luton Airport a leader in sustainable aviation.

But a campaign group says councillors have “lost sight of the need for prudence” – and claims interest payments on its £500m airport loans will “soak up” much of the airport’s future revenue.

The Development Consent Order (DCO) application comprises 198 documents, containing just over 25,000 detailed pages of proposals and plans.

Luton AirportLuton Airport
Luton Airport

It seeks consent to expand the airport from its current permitted cap of 18 million passengers per annum (mppa) to 32 mppa, including new terminal capacity; earthworks to create an extension to the current airfield platform; new airside and landside facilities; enhancement of the surface access network; extension of the Luton DART; landscaping and ecological improvements; and further infrastructure enhancements and initiatives to support the target of achieving zero-emission ground operations by 2040.

The proposals have been shaped by more than four years of consultation and assessments, with consultation exercises in 2018, 2019 and 2022. In total, more than 8,000 responses were received.

The submission documents include a strategy that seeks to set binding and independently-monitored environmental limits for carbon, air quality, noise, and surface access and includes improved noise insulation plans, and a consultation report which outlines how comments received have been considered and responded to.

But Andrew Lambourne, speaking for anti-noise campaign group LADACAN, said: “It’s tragic that the councillors who run Luton Rising have been so obsessed with growing the airport they appear to have lost sight of the need for prudence. Having run up half a billion pounds of debt on vanity projects such as the DART, the interest payments alone will soak up much of the future revenue from the airport.

“As for the wider area, this proposal would create noise blight across north Hertfordshire, with flights increasingly starting at five in the morning and running on into the early hours, keeping thousands more people awake at night. The harms outweigh any possible benefits.”

Submission of the application marks the start of the ‘acceptance’ stage of the DCO process.

There will follow a 28-day period for the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, to decide whether or not the application meets the standards required to be accepted for examination, or if further documentation is needed.

Graham Olver, Chief Executive Officer of Luton Rising, said: “We’re pleased to bring forward these proposals for the expansion of London Luton Airport – we aim to enhance economic activity in and around Luton, provide numerous community benefits, and make the airport a leader in sustainable aviation.

“We have certainly endeavoured to do everything we can to deliver an achievable, detailed and evidence-based application that will meet the Inspectorate’s requirements. We hope that this will mark the start of the next phase of our commitment to grow London Luton Airport and help to deliver the employment, prosperity and positive social impact for Luton and neighbouring communities that they so richly deserve.”

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