London Luton Airport expansion approved as campaigners vow to fight decision allowing more flights

  • Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Wesley Smith

Campaigners against Luton Airport's expansion say they will appeal a decision to allow more passenger numbers and flights.

London Luton will now be allowed to handle 19 million people a year- up from 18 million - after the borough council which owns the airport voted to go ahead with the expansion plan on Wednesday.

Councillors and members of the public concerned about noise and climate change were told at the meeting that the million extra passengers every year would mean three extra planes a day.

Campaigners against the move said they were concerned about even more noise and the potential impact on the environment.

Andrew Lambourne from anti-noise group LADACAN, attended the council meeting Credit: ITV News Anglia

Andrew Lambourne from the Luton And District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) told ITV News Anglia: "It's a great shame the council felt it necessary to approve this application, because the airport has got plenty of headroom to grow back after Covid and we think it could do that in a green and responsible way without the need to throw in extra passengers.

"No one wants to close the airport down. All they want is for the airport to play fair with the communities. Noise isn't the only issue, emissions these days are more and more of a concern, and climate change is more of a concern.

"We didn't feel our voice was heard - we had no choice to question the experts. Given the fact that this council owns the airport gets the money from it, sets the rules."

He asked for the decision to be called in by the government to review.

The plans were approved despite criticism from opponents about the extra flights and noise. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The company which operates the airport, said the expansion was necessary to secure its future and that of jobs locally already hit hard by the pandemic.

Alberto Martin, chief executive of London Luton Airport said: "It sends a clear message to our business partners, to our airlines that we are open for business, that they can invest at Luton Airport for the long term growth, we couldn't have taken the risks of airlines, business partners investing elsewhere."

In the longer term, there are plans afoot for an even larger expansion at the airport but that would need government approval rather than a decision at local council level.

In a statement Luton Borough Council said: "This application is from the airport operator Luton Airport (London Luton Airport Operations Limited) not the council’s company Luton Rising and does not affect the latter’s long term proposals to increase capacity of the airport to 32 million passengers per annum. This would be determined by government, not the council."

Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry also welcomed the plans for the airport as "a cornerstone of the region's economic rebound".