The Chilterns AONB is nationally protected as one of the finest areas of countryside in the UK and lies less than 3 miles from Luton Airport. The final approach to the runway is directly over the Chilterns AONB and much of the closer area that is not designated AONB is in the setting of the Chilterns AONB. Public bodies and statutory undertakers have a statutory duty of regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the AONB (Section 85 of CroW Act 2000).
With this in mind, Luton Airport’s expansion plans would have serious consequences for the tranquillity of the nationally protected landscape of the Chilterns AONB.
The main impacts we have raised in our objection include:
- Aircraft noise and loss of tranquillity
- Visual intrusion from aircraft and their contrails
- Extensive airport expansion into candidate-AONB countryside
- Disturbance – especially night flights and early and late arrivals
- Air pollution with effects on plants and sensitive habitats in the Chilterns
- Extra traffic and rat-running through the AONB to access the airport
- Reduced enjoyment of Public Rights of Way – including the Chiltern Way, the Chilterns Cycleway and the North Chiltern Trail
- Pressures from private firms to set up satellite car parks in the AONB
- Light pollution from aircraft and the airport
- Increased water use at the airport meaning more abstraction from the chalk aquifer and even lower flows in the River Ver, a precious chalk stream
- Cumulative effects on the peace and beauty of the Chilterns with other major projects like HS2, the Oxford-Cambridge expressway and major greenfield housing development around Luton, Aylesbury and Hemel Hempstead.
London Luton Airport Limited are expected to submit their application to the Planning Inspectorate for a Development Consent Order (DCO) in mid-2020. The final decision will rest with the Secretary of State for Transport.
Click below to read our full response and see our comprehensive reasons for objection.
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