Welcome to the Harpenden Society

Actively involved in Harpenden's future

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Harpenden Society Awards 2023

Click here to find out more about the Awards

Click here to go to the nomination form

Public Meeting on 31st January 2024 at Katherine Warington School 8pm start, doors open from 7.30pm - How the Local Plan will affect Harpenden. To book a ticket (free) click here.

A review of the importance of the Local Plan

Consultation responses to the SADC Draft Local Plan closed in late September with more than 1,200 people attending exhibitions held across the District and more than 1,800 people giving their views in a questionnaire and more than 1,000 completed a survey. A mix from residents, business and local organisations in the District.

During the last 2 months the Council’s spatial planning team have started collating all the data and interpreting the various views and requests into a semblance of order. This complex task is just the beginning of what will be several more months of work taking into account a number of important current Government policies together with potential changes following the Election in 2024. These policies will affect the key decisions on Housing provision; Green Belt erosion; Traffic and all modes of travel; Environmental pressure. Plus the necessary consultations with adjacent Councils.

The Harpenden Society have invited Cllr Paul de Kort  to report on the progress being made to date and explain the issues involved in developing SADC’s Local Plan for the next 17 years.He will conclude with provisional dates on which we can expect to learn more including the publication of the finalised Draft Local Plan which will be available for further public consultation.


The meeting will be held at Katherine Warington School starting 8pm. (Doors open 7.30pm)  Demand for seats will be high so please book on the link here.

Luton Airport Expansion Inquiry

Picture above by Dean Bernardin

As members who are participating in the Luton Airport Expansion Inquiry will know, the 22nd August was the deadline for the submission of Interested Parties detailed concerns about Luton Rising’s airport expansion proposals.

The Society’s submission covered the following areas: climate change, noise, the need for the development and the funding position.

Climate Change


On climate change the Society proposed that, if the development is given the go ahead, it can only begin on the basis of the terms proposed by the Committee on Climate Change (in their report to Parliament 28 June 2023), i.e. “No airport expansions should proceed until a UK-wide capacity management framework is in place to annually assess and, if required, control sector greenhouse gas emissions and non-CO2 effects. A framework should be operational by the end of 2024. After a framework is developed, there should be no net airport expansion unless the carbon-intensity of aviation is outperforming the Government's emissions reduction pathway and can accommodate the additional demand.” The recent headlines re: the impact of climate change on ordinary lives serves to remind us that we have to redouble our efforts to tackle increasing global temperatures. Stopping aviation expansion, which otherwise would increase its emissions up to 2050, is a sensible and measured step.


On noise, the Society demonstrated that Luton Rising’s expansion plans will not see any reduction in the noise that communities suffer presently over the course of the development and beyond as Luton Rising’s proposed noise limits will remain at a higher level than the long term noise limits agreed when the airport’s application to grow to 18 million passengers per annum was approved. We believe the Inspectors should require Luton Rising to achieve, at a minimum, the long term noise limits previously agreed and also pass an equal share of engine technology benefits to affected communities.


Finally, the Society emphasised that the development is highly speculative, with few economic benefits to offset the clear environmental harms and there is no evidence to suggest that either Luton Rising or Luton Borough Council can fund the development or that a third party investor is willing to underwrite the development, except, possibly, on terms that will undermine the social benefits that Luton Rising is claiming the development will provide to Luton.

The detailed examination will now begin with a number of Issue Specific Hearings taking place in September, after which the Examining Authority will issue a series of questions to Luton Rising and other parties.  At this stage we will get a clearer idea of the key concerns of the Examiners. The Society will continue to reinforce its position throughout the Inquiry, at every opportunity.

Connecting Harpenden
Connecting Harpenden

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The Society promotes and encourages a range of local activities and initiatives with public meetings and community events. Were here to help with the concerns people have on things like schools, healthcare, housing, parking, pollution, overdevelopment, lack of infrastructure, and now more than ever climate change with all the important environmental issues affecting the future.

With almost 900 members and an effective committee we can engage with the local community to highlight issues, lobby politicians and present findings via our web site, quarterly newsletter and social media.

Joining is easy and inexpensive. For full details of how to join the society, including how to apply online, please click here.

For more information about the Society