Hertfordshire County Council has warned that neighbouring Luton Borough Council’s planned expansion of London Luton Airport could blight communities and compromise local transport networks.
It follows Luton BC’s announcement on Monday of a 30-year plan that would see the airport, which it owns, go from 18 million to 36-38 million passenger journeys every year.
The airport plans a £200m mass passenger transit system
Hertfordshire leader David Williams said: ‘I can imagine how news of this proposal will be received in the communities in Hertfordshire whose lives are already blighted by aircraft noise created by the airport, even with the current passenger numbers. My main concern at this stage, therefore, is the impact this news will impact will have on those communities.
‘My other immediate concern is the transport implications. How can that level of growth possibly be achieved without compromising the capacity of our road and rail systems and how can it be done in a way which shifts journeys to the airport away from the car and towards public transport?’
Cllr Williams added: ‘I do fully recognise and appreciate the potential economic benefits that would come with growth of the airport. But the key now must be for the airport to work with stakeholders to develop a masterplan which strikes an appropriate balance between growth and environmental impact, in a way which safeguards communities and comes with the right supporting infrastructure.
‘The growth agenda in this part of the country is huge. The Luton, Dunstable and Houghton Regis conurbation has major growth plans and here in Hertfordshire we have incredibly ambitious growth of our own.
‘The future of the airport must be seen within the context of not only the potential opportunities, but also the constraints that may come with this.’
In February, the airport announced plans for a £200m mass passenger transit system linking it with Luton Airport Parkway railway station.