London Luton Airport go ahead with fight path plans over Hunts

Flight Path to go ahead over Huntingdonshire 

Flight Path to go ahead over Huntingdonshire - Credit: London Luton Airport

London Luton Airport and NATS have announced they are to proceed with flight path plans over Huntingdonshire.  

They have announced the new holding stack will be near the A1-A14 junction.   

London Luton Airport and NATS have explained they have adjusted the lowest standard altitude of the hold and raised this by 1,000ft, to reduce potential noise impacts on residents.  

Cllr Stephen Ferguson, mayor of St Neots, is worried that the holding stack will go over rural places such as Abbotsley.   

Cllr Stephen Ferguson, has raised concerns about the level of noise from the new flight path.

St Neots mayor, Cllr Stephen Ferguson, has raised concerns about the level of noise from the new flight path. - Credit: SNTC

Cllr Ferguson said: “There have been hundreds of responses from St Neots, complaining about the air stack being put over the biggest, fastest growing towns, in the east of England.  

“We welcome the fact that they have decided to increase the height of the stack by 1,000 feet which will obviously mitigate some noise effects.  

“But we very disappointed in the consultation process, because when this was presented to us at a consultation, the consultation was really only on the approach routes, it had nothing to do with the stack.  

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“Which was kind of pre-determined, so what they have done is move the stack up a bit and they have rotated it around a bit, to avoid Huntingdon.  

“But it still over St Neots and even more worryingly, part of the approach is going to be over Abbotsley.  

“Which is a rural community with a much lower kind of noise tolerance, now in the countryside.  

“So they have done a little bit, but we would have liked to have been involved a little earlier on.” 

Huntingdon MP, Jonathan Djanogly, says: "Although I welcome that NATS are making the right noises about having listened to local feedback and have altered their proposals accordingly, I remain concerned about what this means in practice and particularly what the effects on St Neots and the surrounding areas will be. 

Jonathan Djanogly says he needs time to analyse the information.

Jonathan Djanogly says he needs time to analyse the information. - Credit: PARLIAMENT

"For instance, their change of raising the lower altitude of the stack by 1,000ft is welcome in itself, but how this affects the overall proposal is yet to be seen. 

"At the time of speaking to The Hunts Post I am still analysing these aspects of the announcement but if appropriate I will continue to lobby the Civil Aviation Authority and will consider asking the Secretary of State to review these proposals."

The public consultation was held from October 2020 to February 2021, where London Luton Airport and NATS received feedback from residents and other stakeholders.  

The co-sponsors of the proposal, LLA and air traffic control provider NATS reviewed and categorised feedback from more than 2,400 respondents 

Lee Boulton, head of airspace development & future operations for NATS, said: “We listened carefully from the start of the consultation to the feedback we were getting, and provided more information as we went along, particularly on the hold and why we need it.  

“I sincerely hope that people will see our genuine effort to respond to their concerns and I believe the adjustments we are making will make a real and positive difference. 

“It was clear from the outset that people’s two main concerns were around the need for, and position of, the new hold; and their preference for dispersion of flights under Option One, rather than our preference for Option Two, which offered the very accurate use of two alternating routes.   

“In responding to those, other more indirect concerns have also been addressed, as we set out in our Feedback Report.” 

The joint consultation, co-sponsored by London Luton Airport and air traffic control provider NATS, consulted on two options to simplify and modernise the arrival routes for flights into the UK’s fifth busiest airport and segregate them from Stansted’s, ensuring safety. 

Subject to CAA regulatory approval, the proposal is planned for implementation no earlier than February 2022. 

To follow the progress of this Airspace Change Proposal, check the CAA portal.