Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, described this as a grim week for Hitchin and Harpenden’s environment as Luton Airport published its arrogantly named Master Plan hard on the heels of John Prescott?s approval of building thousands of houses on Green Belt land.

    Peter Lilley said: “The arrogantly named ?master plan? is based on totally different proposals from those on which the government consulted. In the light of the judge?s ruling that a less substantial variation from the government?s proposals would require more consultation, these proposals certainly must not proceed without formal public consultation.

    “Instead of one runway they now propose two; instead of one taxiway, there will be three; and the new runway will be a kilometre south of the existing site. The total capacity of the airport will be even greater than that previously proposed. Yet, there are no new infrastructure commitments to cope with the 25 million or more extra passengers who would be disgorged on to the roads of Hertfordshire.

    “The government?s projections made it clear that development on this scale at Luton would not be economically viable if new runways at Gatwick, Stansted or Heathrow go ahead. Luton is the least viable location because there is no direct rail link; weather and topography force it to close more frequently than the other London airports; and the bulk of the additional passengers will travel by road.

    “It is clear that the management must be hoping that they can steamroller this through to pre-empt development of additional airport capacity at more suitable airports.

    “I believe Luton should remain a medium size airport, with a medium size runway, for medium haul planes increasing in size only if quieter planes could offset greater numbers and if additional infrastructure could cope with the extra passengers. That simply would not be possible should Luton become a mega airport taking jumbo jets on a massive new runway.? ENDS