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A public inquiry has begun into London Luton Airport’s expansion plans

Luton Borough Council, whose company Luton Rising owns the airport, approved the growth plans in December.

The separate private company that runs the airport, London Luton Airport Operations Limited (LLAOL), applied to increase passenger capacities from 18 million to 19 million per year and to amend the noise contours.

The government said an inquiry should review the main aspects of development.

Three inspectors are expected to participate during the inquiry, Richard Clegg, Sheila Holden and Geoff Underwood, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

A pre-inquiry meeting was held by the inspectors in the Council Chamber at Luton Town Hall in July to outline the management of the process.

The agenda included seven areas they considered to be the main aspects of the application, which were air quality, climate change, the impact of noise, sustainability, socio-economic implications, the influence of other considerations on the overall planning balance, and whether it would be consistent with the local development plan and other policies.

Environmental campaigners were concerned about the role of the council in granting planning permission.

Local protest group Luton and District Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (LADACAN) said it was pleased there would be an inquiry.

Earlier this year, Andrew Lambourne from LADACAN, said: “We’re really grateful for the support from local MPs, councils and other groups in helping to get this decision called in.

“We expect the hearings to shine some uncomfortable light on how the borough council and the airport failed to ensure the required balance between growth and mitigation, apparently focusing on maximising revenues instead.”

A spokesman for LLAOL previously said it respected the government’s request for the application to undergo further examination.

“Our project enables us to put the airport on the best possible footing for a long-term recovery which supports the local economy and creates jobs, after the worst crisis our industry has ever faced,” he said.

“This plan is consistent with our commitment to achieve carbon neutrality for our own operations by 2026 and to achieve net zero emissions by 2040.”

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