Luton Council’s decision to appoint an independent QC to carry out a full review of the planning application for Luton Airport IS “a step in the right direction but does not go far enough” said Peter Lilley. The Council’s decision follows Lilley’s repeated calls to the planning Minister to take this decision out of Luton’s hands.
“While Luton’s recognition of the importance of their being ‘impartial in the way we deal with the application at every level of consideration throughout the process’ is a welcome development, the only way to ensure the process is, and is seen to be, independent is to hand it over to an independent body,” said Peter.
“This decision is a small step in the right direction. It shows that Luton Council recognise the obvious problems presented by their conflict of interests and are taking steps to help ensure that the planning application is both fair and seen to be fair. I have always maintained that Luton Council should not be making this decision as the Council itself is the prime beneficiary from expansion of the airport, and I hope that the legal review will come to the same conclusion.
“We will of course need to examine in more detail how the independent QC will function. However, it does look more like window-dressing than a genuine attempt to ensure impartiality. It is essential that everybody has a proper opportunity to express their views and that the concerns of local residents are fully considered by a neutral body.”