Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has welcomed the High Court ruling on Luton Airport which he described as a clear rebuff to the government for not consulting properly. He said that it was clear that the government were wrong to back a proposal to extend the existing runway over a kilometre into Hertfordshire even though it did not consult about this option. He went on to say that there was clearly a moral obligation on the government to consult again before the airport can take any further steps towards expansion.
In the court ruling on the case which was brought by Hertfordshire County Council and North Hertfordshire District Council as well as LADACAN and groups opposing the expansion of other airports, the judge said that the option to extend the runway at Luton was not consulted upon and should not be given a head start over any other options.
Peter Lilley said: “The judge?s decision to award 80% of the costs to those bringing this action shows that he felt the government had been seriously at fault in the way it had handled the consultation.
“There is clearly a moral obligation on government to consult again before any further steps can be taken towards expanding Luton Airport to the size of Gatwick. Such a delay would mean expansion could take place elsewhere first which on the government?s own analysis would mean expansion at Luton would not be viable.
“I believe Luton should remain a medium size airport, with a medium size runway, for medium haul planes. It should not become a giant airport with a giant runway for jumbo jets – disgorging 25 million extra passengers a year on to the road of Hertfordshire.