Chain protest over airport growth

Protestors aim to show how much green belt will be lost if a planned expansion of an airport goes ahead.

Luton Airport has published a master plan to show an expansion of capacity to 30m passengers a year by 2030.

The group will form a human chain in the town on Thursday to show what the plans would mean in terms of lost land.

green belt threat

Airport management said views are sought on plans which are available at the airport and shown locally in a series of public exhibitions.

Members of the Stop Luton Airport Expansion protest group said that if plans go ahead "Luton will become second only in passenger capacity to Heathrow" which is regarded as the busiest airport in the world.

Ozone levels in the area are already above the average for the UK and this will get worse

A spokesman said: "Thousands of acres of green belt will be lost forever and aircraft landing every two minutes.

"Ozone levels in the area are already above the average for the UK and this will get worse."

Harpenden Town Council will host a public meeting to discuss how the airport's proposals will affect the local community at the Rothamsted Research Centre on 12 January from 1930 GMT.

The airport's draft master plan was in response to government estimates that its passenger numbers will triple by 2030.

Airport bosses said the airport would reach its capacity in the next few years, despite efforts to improve efficiency.

A spokesman said: "Government forecasts suggest there is the demand to justify expansion of Luton to 30m passengers a year.

"Since the publication of the White Paper we have been consulting with key stakeholders and strategic decisionmakers to communicate the importance of London Luton Airport in delivering the Government's policy.", 12.02.2006

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