There is a proposed industrial development to the north east of the Luton Airport runway. This has been published by London Luton Airport Ltd – available here http://www.llal.org.uk/LLAL-NCP.html with more details here. Comments on this proposal to LLAL are invited before May 10th
It is intended to have the plans passed by autumn this year, with building to start in 2018. There has been a 20 year permission to develop, but access has been an obstacle to this. There now appears to be a mutually beneficial agreement between the airport authority and Luton BC to resolve this. HF is concerned about the growing size of the development and the unexplored traffic impact in our area. Originally there was a prediction of 3000 jobs on site. This has been expanded to 7200 jobs, though the means of arriving at this figure have not been revealed. The previously available Transport assessment is available here. 400 extra journeys per day through areas with already compromised air quality are likely. Hitchin Forum has submitted a letter as follows –
Re LLAL proposals for the development of New Century Park
Hitchin Forum wishes to express concern over the impact of the proposed development on congestion and air quality in Hitchin.
If 4000 new jobs are created as a result of the development, we estimate that peak time vehicle movements on the A505 west of Hitchin will be increased by up to 20% as a result of the proposed development. That figure rises to about 35% if the most recently published job projection of 7200 is achieved.
Our estimate is based on figures which appear in ‘London’s Local Airport Planning Application Transport Assessment’, prepared by URS Infrastructure and Environment Limited for LLAL in November 2012, in advance of the planning submission for changes to increase the capacity of the airport. The appendix to this letter gives details of our calculation and the paragraph numbers from that Assessment which give the data on which it is based.
The Assessment dismissed the impact of increased vehicle movements on the A505 west of Hitchin due to increased passenger numbers as minimal. It argued that increases would be concentrated between 4 and 6 am and would therefore not impact on morning peak figures (para 14.7.7). In the case of the afternoon peak, the argument was that ‘The contact with additional passenger traffic could be further diluted given that once beyond the Luton Boundary other routes are available away from the strategic road network that some drivers may choose for their journey.’ (Para 14.7.9)
There was, therefore, no recommendation of any measures to mitigate any effect on Hitchin’s roads.
Given the likely use of the units in the proposed development, we believe that the effect in Hitchin of staff commuting to and from the NCP development is more likely to be felt at peak times.
Staff likely to commute from Stevenage, Cambridge or Peterborough will mainly use the A602 Stevenage Road / Parkway / A505 west Hitchin route. Increases in peak time traffic of the proportion we suggest will add to congestion and emissions in the two Air Quality Management Areas in Hitchin. The AQMA in Stevenage Road was declared in 2013, due to levels of NO2 above the annual mean Air Quality Objective (AQO) of 40µg/m3. Subsequent figures have shown no improvement. Since then, annual mean levels of NO2 above the AQO led to a further AQMA being declared close to the A505 / A602 junction on Hitchin Parkway in 2016. These local changes have occurred in the national context of the increasing understanding of the impact of NO2 and particulates on health. A 20% increase in vehicle movements by the time the development is occupied will mean that there will be little prospect that NO2 levels will improve in the foreseeable future within the existing AQMAs. It could easily mean that NO2 levels would increase above the AQO elsewhere along the route. A 35% increase would of course cause even greater problems.
LLAL should accept its responsibility towards the wider environment as well as its impact upon its immediate neighbours. We therefore urge that LLAL, LBC, NHDC and HCC work together to investigate innovative and sustainable ways to mitigate the effect of the New Century Park development along this route.
Do let us know your thoughts, and write to LLAL.