Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce has expressed concern at opposition to plans to develop London Luton Airport by local interest groups in Hertfordshire saying they ignore the importance of the airport to the local and sub-regional economy.The Chamber’s Chief Executive, Cheryl Smart MBE, says the business support organisation is appalled by HALE’s (Hertfordshire Against Luton Airport Expansion) reactionary stance which shamefully dismissed the recent results of a consultation on development at Luton Airport as "flawed" and "misleading".
‘By choosing to focus only on c. 25% of the 1,360 responses, they have completely disregarded the views of over 1,000 hardworking, taxpaying, local, national and international businesses and their employees who contribute daily to our local economy and communities.’ she comments
‘Now is not the time for a small group of NIMBYs to represent their minority view as that of the majority, nor to seek to put our politicians over a barrel! So far this year we have seen HMV, Jessops, and Blockbuster disappear from our High Streets, during an austere time when members such as our’s are trying their best to kick start growth in our local economy.’
‘HALE claims to represent the views of Hertfordshire, but they ignore the fact that the county of Hertfordshire generates the highest number of passengers of any county using Luton airport for both business and leisure. They also forget that 12% of the people who work at the Airport live in the county, and that many more will no doubt want to apply for one of the more than 5,000 vacancies confidently expected to arise from development.’
The Government wants to attract more private infrastructure investment, and the operator of Luton Airport has committed to investing £100m. However, if HALE gets their way, Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce believes our fragile economic recovery will be thrown into jeopardy.
Says Cheryl Smart: ‘Bedfordshire Chamber is calling upon our national and local politicians to get behind our businesses, help us in the economic recovery, and support the much needed development at Luton Airport!’