Council backs Lib Dem opposition to Luton airport expansion

15 Dec 2023
County Hall

Hertfordshire County Council has declared its official opposition to Luton Airport expansion, after a motion by the Liberal Democrat group was approved. 


The airport wants to increase its annual passenger numbers from 19 million to 32 million, by 2043. 


The controversial plans include building a new terminal, and expanding the existing one, plus the construction of roads, taxiways, car parks, and dozens of out-buildings. 


Lib Dem councillors say Hertfordshire will bear the brunt of increased aircraft noise and transport congestion.


The runway is only 150 metres from the county’s border. 


The increase in flights will also cause huge environmental damage, they argue. 


Although Hertfordshire County Council has objected through the planning system, councillors had never formally debated the Luton expansion until last week. 


Leaders had previously only considered ways to mitigate its impact. 


But a meeting on 12th December endorsed a Lib Dem motion which declares the council is “vehemently opposed to this proposal [which] is against the best interests of the residents of Hertfordshire”.


The motion calls on the Planning Inspectorate to recommend refusal, and states “there are no conditions that can be applied to the application to make it acceptable". 


Liberal Democrat councillor John Hale said: 


“This vast Luton Airport expansion is right on Hertfordshire’s doorstep. It would severely exacerbate aircraft noise which even now affects many of our communities. 


“The bulk of the extra 13 million passengers, each year, will need to travel through Hertfordshire to get to the airport. 


“This would put intense strain on our county’s road and rail network - causing congestion on the M1 and already-overcrowded Thameslink trains. 


“And at a time when we face a climate emergency, the increase in flights would generate carbon emissions on a colossal scale”