Luton Rising’s application for a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the sustainable long-term growth of London Luton Airport has today (27 March) been accepted for detailed examination by the Planning Inspectorate.
Luton Rising submitted its application on Monday 27 February following a comprehensive programme of assessments, consultation and engagement with stakeholders and communities stretching back more than four years. The project has been shaped by more than 8,000 responses to consultations undertaken in 2018, 2019 and 2022.
The decision to accept the application means the Planning Inspectorate, acting on behalf of the Government, is satisfied that Luton Rising’s consultation was conducted properly, and a rigorous examination of the proposals by a panel of independent, government-appointed experts can begin, at a date set by the Planning Inspectorate.
This process is likely to take around 18 months, including six months of examination which will involve the consideration of written submissions and is likely to include public hearings.
Ahead of the examination, the public will be able to register to become an interested party by making a relevant representation to the Planning Inspectorate.
Before that period can begin, the Planning Inspectorate has requested some additional information and clarifications from Luton Rising, which the company is currently evaluating. The period for relevant representations will open after Luton Rising has responded to the request from the Planning Inspectorate.
Graham Olver, Chief Executive Officer for Luton Rising, said: “We are delighted that our DCO application for the expansion of London Luton Airport has been accepted by the Planning Inspectorate and look forward to progressing with the next stage.
“We now move into the pre-examination phase which triggers the opportunity for interested parties to submit their comments about the proposed development to the Planning Inspectorate. In the near future people will be able to submit their feedback, and their thoughts and opinions will be welcomed.”
Luton Rising will provide information to local communities and stakeholders to keep them informed of the process and how they can participate and provide their views on the proposals.
Consent is being sought for the expansion of London Luton Airport from its current permitted capacity of 18 million passengers per annum (mppa) up to 32 mppa, including: additional terminal capacity; earthworks to create an extension to the current airfield platform; new airside and landside facilities; enhancement of the surface access network; extension of the Luton DART; landscaping and ecological improvements; and further infrastructure enhancements and initiatives to support the target of achieving zero-emission ground operations by 2040.
Should consent be granted, preliminary construction works could start as early as 2025.
Luton Rising is designing the project to support its aspiration to become a leader in sustainable aviation, its unique community funding programmes, and Luton’s 2040 Vision for a carbon-neutral town, built on fairness, where no-one needs to live in poverty.
A Green Controlled Growth framework would be written into law setting binding and independently-monitored environmental limits for carbon emissions, air quality, noise, and surface access – how people get to and from the airport.
For every passenger above the airport’s current capacity, an additional £1 would also be invested into Luton and neighbouring communities for programmes tackling local deprivation and decarbonisation – providing up to an additional £14m every year.
Phased growth in line with demand would support a gross effect of an additional £1.5bn of economic activity and more than 10,000 new jobs across the UK.
The submission documents also include a full Needs Case, Environmental Statement, Traffic Assessment, improved noise insulation plans, and a Consultation Report which outlines how all comments received have been considered and responded to.
The Development Consent Order (DCO) application comprises 198 documents, containing just over 25,000 detailed pages of proposals and plans, which are published on the Planning Inspectorate’s website at https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/london-luton-airport-expansion/
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Notes to editors
An Examining Authority including up to five Planning Inspectors will be appointed, and members of the public will be able to register to participate in the examination by making a representation during the relevant representations period. Full public examination is not expected to begin before at least the late summer.
Once started, the Planning Inspectorate has a strict six months to complete the examination. During this stage, Interested Parties who have registered by making a relevant representation will be invited to provide more details of their views in writing. Careful consideration is given by the Examining Authority to all the important and relevant matters.
The Planning Inspectorate must prepare a report on the application to the relevant Secretary of State, including a recommendation, within three months of the close of the six-month Examination stage.
The final decision is made by the Secretary of State who has a further three months to grant or refuse development consent.
Full details of the DCO application process are set out at https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/application-process/the-process/