Luton Airport Operators Application for a variation to “Condition 10”
The Operators at Luton Airport (LLAOL) were granted planning permission by Luton Borough Council (LBC) in 2013 for an expansion programme to accommodate 18 million passengers per year in 2028. This permission was granted with a whole raft of conditions, some of which related to noise, and one in particular limiting the maximum “average” noise during a 16 hour day, or an 8 hour night. This condition – via a confusing saga of renumbering as other conditions have been amended – is now known as “Condition 10”.
In the summer of 2017 the maximum permitted area of the night noise contour was exceeded – there were too many noisy night flights, and the airport operators were obliged to introduce a number of measures to reduce the number of aircraft movements during the night period, 2300 – 0700. Some of these restrictions were extremely unwelcome to the Business Jet operators, who seek 24 hour operations, arriving and departing as and when clients require.
The measures proved to be inadequate, and the night noise contour was again exceeded in the summer of 2018.The airport operator has blamed this breach on the late arrival of aircraft scheduled to arrive in the day time period, but delayed. What they fail to say is that they operated exactly at their daytime noise limit during the summer of 2018, and so if those flights had not been delayed in the numbers that they were, the airport would have been in breach of the daytime noise contour limit as well.
In the spring of 2019 the airport operator (LLAOL) submitted an application to its owners, Luton Borough Council, for a “variation” to condition 10, to last for 5 years. (By which time they hope to have more, quieter, jets – and in any event there might be a whole new suite of conditions in place by then, covering expansion to 32M passengers per annum)
“This application now seeks to formalise a position whereby breaches are effectively permitted for a number of years” –are the words used by Luton Borough Councils own independent noise consultants – Cole Jarman – to summarise their assessment of the application for the variation in May 2019.
The application to vary the planning condition – the purpose of which was to “protect residential amenity” will be open for public comment on Luton Borough Councils planning portal until 12th September 2019.
STAQS believes that the breach of the noise control condition can be attributed entirely to the mismanagement of the connection between noise from the current generation of aircraft, and the growth in the number of available flights. Why should residents on the ground be subjected to increased noise levels caused by mismanagement of airport growth? STAQS is strongly opposed to the granting of any variation to the original planning condition.