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Luton Expansion: the latest version September/October 2012
Michael Nidd London Luton Town & Village Communities Committee (Aka the Alphabet Committee)
Three months ago I said this: “You wait 6 years for an airport Master Plan And then 2 turn up, one after the other”
The latest story on “New Jobs” It claims to add 440 new jobs for each million additional passengers plus about 1700 which are to arise through “indirect and induced employment”
The reality over more than 10 years experience at Luton : 210* direct jobs per million, of which 20% are part-time *That number is derived from the joint airport/LBC Annual Monitoring Reports which are signed-off as accurate each year by LBC and the airport operator As for “indirect” and “induced” – think of some numbers; that’s what the consultants have done! Impossible to verify. When Manchester got its second runway, the 50,000 new jobs promised at the start of the proposals turned out to be about 6,800 by the time the runway was built. Empty promises
The glowing “economic benefits” statements: The Airport supports some 8,200 direct local jobs. It has an annual economic value of some £780 million to the local economy. This includes £411 million of direct annual business expenditure into the local economy, £160 million of indirect supply-chain effects and £151 million of wages and salaries of workers. In addition, it is estimated that through business and personal taxes, business rates and airport duty, revenue of over £187 million is generated for local and central government, bringing the overall annual economic value of the Airport to just under £1 billion (£966 million). They do NOT tell us that: According to Government figures on travel and tourism, we Brits spend far more when going abroad than do foreign tourists coming here. Even in 2010, each outbound Brit contributed around £270 to the tourist spending deficit. Luton’s 5 million outbound tourists therefore cost the UK economy £1.35 billion: and that ignores the economic effects of the export of capital to buy second homes in Europe on the back of cheap flights…….
Those passenger figures from last time: not altogether the whole story…..
According to the airport’s own Development Brief (2001): “The capacity will almost certainly not be defined in terms of passenger throughput, simply because it is a measure that cannot easily be controlled.”
Are the proposals described misleadingly? Given Luton’s “form” on greatly exceeding passenger throughput which featured in their last planning application, what credence can be given to any part of these proposals? Where is there any reference to limits on flight numbers, noise etc? The one so-called Planning Condition which was set for the last expansion is and always has been completely ineffective. Is this proposal, in truth, for a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project and therefore one which should be determined by the Planning Inspectorate, not by the airport owner?
The owners’ last plan purported to tell us a bit about noise: most of it, misleading..
This was the forecast based on 2008 movements numbers: note the position of the western ends!)
But this was the 2008 contour in reality – so what new set of assumptions produced those shown in the consultation?
and here’s what they did NOT tell us: this was the 2008 night contour
One of our own flight-path diagrams: aircraft where they shouldn’t be……
But, this time, we’re told virtually nothing about the noise implications But we can safely conclude that they’ll be substantially worse than they are now
But we can read much into the implications hidden behind “15 new aircraft stands”….. more stands = more capacity for based aircraft and overnight parking more flights departing in the 06.00 – 09.00 morning peak more flights returning to base late due to accumulated delays during the day More night noise disturbance
Noise mitigation: a hollow joke Most of these items are either achievable now or might affect, at most, about 50 flights a year
Surface Access etc. Luton is perched on a hilltop, with no possibility of a direct rail connection. 70% of its passengers arrive by car, whether parked at the airport, via “kiss and fly” or taxi. 9% more use off-site car-parks. And the airport’s financial performance relies on car-parking charges – it claims to make a loss just from operating an airport. East-West road connections are poor, which results in demand on local roads over a wide area – it’s not just an “M1J10/10A” issue; Where would all those added job-holders live (Luton is built-up to its boundaries); how would they travel to work; is there adequate infrastructure to sustain the resulting added population in whichever location they might live? According to the proposal, even if the aspirational target of persuading 40% of travellers to use public, non-car, transport to get to and from the airport, the proposed 73% increase in passengers would cause a 55% increase in airport-bound road traffic.
Here’s why the existing taxiway is the length it is….. The land falls away like the side of the Alps: my estimate is for around 200,000 cubic metres of landfill to level the land for the taxiway extensions: that’s a lot of lorryloads