Could airport expansion cause county infrastructure to ‘crumble’?

London Luton Airport
London Luton Airport

A county councillor has warned Herts’ infrastructure could ‘crumble’ following secretary of state Eric Pickles’ approval of Luton airport expansion plans yesterday.

Sandy Walkington, who acts as the Liberal Democrats’ environment spokesman on Herts County Council, called the decision to expand the nearby airport a ‘real blow’ for people living in the county.

He said: “The announcement by Eric Pickles that he has approved plans to double Luton Airport’s capacity is a real blow for Hertfordshire residents.

“It’s not just yet more noise pollution over a fragile and beautiful environment, it’s also the impact of far more traffic on our rural road network.”

As Mr Walkington represents St Albans South at county level, he drew parallels between the move, which will see airport passenger numbers increase from 12 million to 18 million a year, and Mr Pickles’ announcement he is also minded to approve a new lorry terminal south of his division.

He added: “With the secretary of state having already announced that he is minded to approve the giant Helioslough lorry terminal south of St Albans, mid-Herts is facing a ‘Pickles pincer’, and the rail link will come under increasing pressure.

“A Pickles ‘yes’ to Luton should mean a Pickle ‘no’ to Helioslough, it’s as simple as that.”

Two airport expansion opposition groups, the London Luton Airport Town and Village Community Committee and CPRE Hertfordshire, reacted angrily to the news yesterday. Click here for their views and more on the expansion plans.