Harpenden Town Council calls for public inquiry in to Luton Airport decision

Harpenden Town Council is calling for a public inquiry following the approval of plans to expand Luton Airport by double its size.

The town council has written to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles and Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin requesting that the planning application is “scrutinised” and called in as a public inquiry led by a planning inspectorate.

This comes after Luton Borough Council approved the planning application for London Luton Airport at its Development Control meeting held on Friday, December 20.

The Town Council has raised a number of issues to support there request including:

• The application should be deemed a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) or called-in by the Secretary of State.

• The evaluation of future night noise contours establishes that the resulting aircraft noise impact is not below the 1999 level criteria established in Luton’s Local Plan.

• Luton Borough Council’s conflict of interest as London Luton Airport Operations Ltd has a concession agreement with London Luton Airport Limited (LLAL), a company wholly owned by the council.

• No travel plan was submitted with the application, which is considered a significant omission due to the impact of the expansion upon the ability of the local road and rail infrastructure to accommodate increased usage.

• Process shortcomings as the Development Control meeting was called on the last Friday before Christmas and presumably contributed to just six rather than the compliment of 11 councillors being in attendance to thoroughly and objectively consider the application.

Chairman of the town council’s Airport Working Party, David Williams, said: “It is imperative that the planning application is independently scrutinised and the only way this can be achieved is for the Secretary of State to call-in the application. “This will then provide the platform for all these shortcomings and conflicts of policy to be considered and assessed. In this way a balanced judgement can be made on the viability of the application.”

Plans could see the capacity of London Luton Airport Limited, which is owned by Luton Borough Council, double to 18 million passengers per year.

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