News Round Up 2021/ 2020


Tilting willows produce increased biofuel efficiency

A team of researchers at Imperial College London, in collaboration with Rothamsted Research, have used medical imaging techniques to explore why making willow trees grow at an angle can vastly improve their biofuel yields. Using micro-CT scans, the team showed that the trees respond to being tilted by producing a sugar-rich, gelatinous fibre, which helps them stay upright.


Willows are suitable for widespread cultivation as biofuels because they produce large quantities of accessible sugar, are fast-growing and can tolerate harsh environmental conditions, such as windy slopes and poor soil. In fact, trees grown in harsher conditions or polluted soil can even produce better biofuel because the sugar they produce is more accessible, requiring less energy to harvest it.


Growing the willow trees at a 45-degree angle simulates this natural stress, encouraging  the trees to produce up to five times more sugar than plants grown normally. But exactly why and how this happens has not been clear until now.


Rothamsted researchers, in a study lead by Imperial College London, worked with experts at the Natural History Museum, and the University of Surrey to use X-ray micro-computed tomography (CT scanning) to examine the willow’s growth through high resolution 3D images.


This enabled them to see the changes in the willow at a cellular level and how they affected the plant’s growth. They found that tilted willows prolonged the life of certain cells in order to produce a sugar-rich, or gelatinous, fibre, to help them stay upright. The team were able to measure how much longer the cells needed to stay alive to produce the special fibre.


“It was difficult to see why the trees were releasing so much more sugar when stressed in nature or grown at an angle. Being able to visualise the differences occurring at a microscale, or cellular level, allowed an insight into the biology behind the macroscale effects on the whole tree,” explains Dr Nicholas Brereton, from Imperial’s Department of Life Sciences.


“Willows are naturally very variable, and this includes the degree with which they respond to tilting or bending in the wind. We will be able exploit these new findings in the breeding programme at Rothamsted to produce better willow trees for industrial uses without the need for any genetic engineering “ explains Prof. Angela KarpDepartment of Agroecology, Rothamsted Research.


“Willow is a great crop because it grows in really inhospitable places. It can add value to marginal land and is also useful for helping to clean up areas of polluted land,” adds Dr Brereton. “Our research will help the biofuel sector select and use growing sites and conditions where no other crops can survive.”


The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), and published in BMC Plant Biology, was part of the Perennial Biomass Crops Programme, one of six hubs making up the BBSRC Sustainable Bioenergy Centre (BSBEC). The next step for the team will be to use even higher resolution CT scanning to investigate the gelatinous fibres in more detail. The aim will be to measure how much of the fibre is produced by different plants, which will help identify which species of willow are likely to be the world’s best 2nd generation biofuel producers.

For more information about the Willow breeding programme at Rothamsted Research please contact: Professor Angela Karp.

For more information about BBSRC, our science and our impact see:

The first GM oilseed crop to produce omega-3 fish oils in the field

In a landmark paper published today in the journal Metabolic Engineering Communications, scientists at Rothamsted Research have announced the first year results of the field-scale trial of Camelina oilseed plants genetically engineered to make omega-3 fish oils in their seeds.


Omega-3 fish oils specifically long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 LC-PUFA) eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are acknowledged by the medical community to be beneficial components of the human diet. The primary dietary sources of EPA & DHA are marine fish, either wild or farmed (aquaculture). Although some types of omega-3 fats are available from other sources in the human diet (such as flax seeds), the nutritionally-beneficial omega- 3 LC- PUFA EPA & DHA are only available from marine sources. Fish, like humans, accumulate the omega-3 fish oils by feeding on other organisms in the marine food chain or, in the case of farmed fish, through fishmeal and fish oil in feed.


Farmed fish is a rapidly growing sector, and today over half of the fish consumed worldwide comes from aquaculture. As the production of fish through aquaculture increases so does the need to find alternative sources of omega-3 fish oils. Rothamsted's new data - which demonstrate an important proof of concept that a crop plant can be engineered to synthesise these beneficial fatty acids in seeds - provide hope for sustainable land-based sources of omega-3 fish oils, thereby releasing pressure from the oceans.


Dr Olga Sayanova, the senior Rothamsted Researcher who developed the GM Camelina plants, commented: “We are delighted with the results of our first year field trial. Finding a land-based source of feedstocks containing omega-3 fish oils has long been an urgent priority for truly sustainable aquaculture. Our results give hope that oilseed crops grown on land can contribute to improving the sustainability of the fish farming industry and the marine environment in the future."


Rothamsted scientists, strategically funded by the BBSRC, have already shown that they can successfully engineer Camelina sativa plants to produce non-native EPA and DHA, by introducing a set of seven synthetic genes based on the DNA sequences found in photosynthetic marine organisms. Although previous experiments in glasshouses had given positive indications for the performance of this trait, this trial demonstrated the stability of the trait and the ability of the GM Camelina plants to synthesise useful quantities of fish oils without any negative effects on yield. Monitoring of the plants grown in the field showed no obvious phenotypic differences in the growth, flowering or seed-set of the GM Camelina plants when compared to the non-GM control plants.


Professor Johnathan Napier, leading the GM Camelina programme at Rothamsted Research, said: “The omega-3 fish oil trait that we have developed is probably the most complex example of plant genetic engineering to be tested in the field. This is a globally-significant proof of concept and a landmark moment in the effort to develop truly sustainable sources of feed for fish farms.”


The field trial conducted at Rothamsted Research’s experimental farm continues this year.  In the field this year two GM Camelina lines are sown as well as the non – GM controls.  One line is the same as the one described in the current publication making EPA and DHA. The second one is a GM Camelina line that makes only EPA. Analyses and comparisons will be conducted between the two lines.


The field trial and the associated laboratory analyses are funded by the government-supported Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).  The scientific paper to be published tomorrow Tuesday 7th July 6pm (full details below)will be available in open-source format from the journal Metabolic Engineering Communications.

For an extensive Q&A on Rothamsted Research’s GM Camelina project see

Harpenden population 32,500+

Harpenden’s 3 GP Surgeries registered patients = 43,274.

What’s going on??

A chance visit to the NHS Choices web site on May 6 revealed the following registered patient numbers:

Village Surgery = 15,983

The Elms = 14,749

Davenport House = 12,542

SO if the numbers are accurate where do all these people live? (Redbourn and Wheathampsted have their own surgeries.

OR are the numbers duplicated OR are they simply out of date?

WELL, on average GP Surgeries are funded at £136 per patient so the numbers generate high income.

THE average number of patient visits per year is 7 giving a cost per visit of £19.42.

YES it’s obvious that very young patients and elderly patients have more than the average number of visits.

These figures do not cover the prescription costs.

AND YES we know averages disguise the actual numbers BUT something is amiss?

WITH more and more homes bing built in Harpenden how will GP Surgeries cope with this  influx?

More to come on this story.

Scroll down to read all the exciting editorials below

Feb 2021. Rothamsted’s iconic Russell building now open for agri-tech businesses

The Russell Building at Rothamsted, Harpenden, has been newly refurbished to provide much-needed business space for high-growth agri-tech SMEs.

The historic red-brick building, which had lain empty since 2014, has been transformed with the help of a £1.7m Local Growth Fund investment from Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Herts Innovation Quarter (Herts IQ), which is boosting agri-tech growth in the county.

The building, which house 22 offices, will enable high-growth, high-tech companies to join a thriving ecosystem of agri-tech, food tech and innovation businesses based on site, with excellent transport links to the rest of the UK as well as international airports. In total, the building will accommodate up to 118 people in spaces ranging from 200sq.ft. to over 1,200 sq.ft. These will include an open plan innovation space, where early-start entrepreneurs can work together before prototyping their ideas and testing on site, to grow-on spaces and offices for these early start-ups and related businesses.

Peter Oxley, CEO at the Lawes Agricultural Trust said: “We are thrilled to see the Russell Building brought back to life. Our other tenant spaces are full, so this will allow us to attract more new businesses to the Rothamsted estate. Not only is this hugely positive for the campus, but also for agri-tech entrepreneurs, for Harpenden, and for the county, as we bring more jobs and businesses to Hertfordshire.”

“We’re delighted that this iconic building is now back in use as a hub for agri-tech businesses,” said Nicole Sadd, CEO, Rothamsted Enterprises. “We very much look forward to welcoming lots of innovative businesses to the Rothamsted ecosystem.”

Prof. Angela Karp, Director and CEO, Rothamsted Research, commented: “What makes the Rothamsted campus unique is the opportunity that our world-leading scientists have to interact with the growing number of agri-tech businesses on site. The refurbished Russell Building will not only boost the potential for this creative collaboration, but also bring back to life a central part of our heritage.”

Demand for more office space has also been boosted by the recent launch of the privately-funded accelerator programme ‘Shake Climate Change’ and the AgRIA Project, providing entrepreneurs and SMEs with funding and on-site entrepreneur support to encourage cross-working of various sciences.


“We are delighted by this development,” said Angela Karp, Rothamsted Research Interim Institute Director and CEO. “Bringing together entrepreneurs on campus with our world-class scientists, I am confident we can look forward to a new era of ground breaking innovation in agricultural science and technology at Rothamsted.”   

“The Russell Building has been an iconic landmark in Rothamsted for generations and this £1.7 million of investment from the Government’s Local Growth Fund will give it a new lease of life as a world-class base for businesses in the growing agri-tech sector, which will create jobs and boost the local economy.”

Businesses in agri-tech, agri-food, agricultural science and research looking for new office premises in Hertfordshire should contact Claire Wolstencroft on 01582 938500 or email


April 2020. Downsizing options or equity release to

make life easier.

As I sit at my computer in splendid isolation, working from home during this difficult time, I have been reflecting on the pleasure my wife and I get from the apartment we downsized to eleven years ago. Made even better with hardly any planes flying out of Luton airport, meaning we can for once hear the birds singing!

We downsized at an early age and are now so pleased that we did, the thought of thirty trips to the recycling centre at our age is very daunting! Of course, for many there is an emotional attachment to our home. Being where the family was raised, maintaining space for the grandchildren and loved ones to visit or simply loving where you live.

So, if you don’t want to downsize but would like to get an extra income in later life to fully enjoy retirement or to pass on money to your children, what can you do?

At Lyndhurst we are members of the Society of Later Life Advisers, SOLLA, and advise our clients on how they might achieve their financial goals both before and after retirement. One of the solutions we are licensed to advise on is equity release, a means of taking money out of your home without having to move.

There are several different equity release solutions that we can use depending on your circumstances and objectives and as independent financial advisers you will be able to discuss your requirements with one of our qualified advisers ensuring you get the best possible advice considering all of your options.

As Martin Lewis commented on a 2018 interview with GMTV ‘always consider downsizing first but if you don’t want to do that then equity release is well worth considering’.

During this pandemic we are mostly working from home but are still able provide our clients with the excellent financial advice we are known for; our telephone number is 01582 715777 or 01462 441100.

Geoff Newman


Lyndhurst Financial Management Ltd. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Dec 2020.  SADC to start afresh with

new Local Plan

following rejection by

Government Inspectors

After two previous failed attempts to secure the Plan’s approval

including a failed Judicial review in late Spring 2017 ( where it

lost over failure in its duty to co-operate)  you would have thought

the Council’s officers and politicians would have learned from their

errors of judgement. OBVIOUSLY NOT!

An 18 page letter expressed many key issues of concern:

*The decision to assign the Radlett rail freight terminal site for housing.

*The alteration of the district’s Green Belt boundaries without submitting adequate evidence.*

*The Plan had not been produced in accordance with the council’s statement of community involvement.

*Failure of the Sustainability Appraisal to consider some seemingly credible and obvious reasonable alternatives to the policies and proposals of the plan;

*Failure of the plan to meet objectively-assessed needs;

*Lack of evidence in support of policies**

Cllr Jamie Day, portfolio holder for planning said; “we will be responding to the inspector’s letter to address the concerns raised. “It’s extremely important that the council progresses this Local Plan so that it is able to manage the district’s growth in a sustainable and positive way. Over recent years, the council has made improved efforts to work with its neighbouring councils and Herts County Council to demonstrate its commitment to cooperating with our neighbouring authorities, so it’s disappointing to be called out by the inspectors on that point.”

David Lane of local agency DLA Town Planning said: “This is disappointing news. I appreciate the council has a difficult job on its hands in producing a Local Plan but it is hugely frustrating that the process has been delayed again. The ongoing uncertainty benefits nobody and will only delay the delivery of much-needed new homes.”

*Green Belt queries:

1. In light of the large number of homes that would need to be accommodated, the Council decided that only strategic scale Green Belt sites would be taken forward in the Plan.

2. In looking at Green Belt releases we have concerns about the narrow focus that has been placed on only strategic sites. This has ruled out a number of sites that have already been found to impact least on the purposes of the Green Belt.

3. Whilst the Council indicates in the May 2018 PPC report that small sites in the Green Belt are not needed (and so have not been assessed) this position appears at odds with the context of the identified shortfall situation.

4. Additionally, we see no reason why the identification of some smaller sites would unacceptably spread the adverse impacts of development on Green Belt purposes.

5.We accept that large scale urban extensions would provide significant amounts of new infrastructure which both the new and already established communities would benefit from. On the other hand, a range of sites including smaller sites could also provide benefits. For example, they could be delivered more quickly without requiring additional infrastructure, provide choice and flexibility in the housing market and secure affordable housing more immediately.

6.We accept that large scale urban extensions would provide significant amounts of new infrastructure which both the new and already established communities would benefit from. On the other hand, a range of sites including smaller sites could also provide benefits. For example, they could be delivered more quickly without requiring additional infrastructure, provide choice and flexibility in the housing market and secure affordable housing more immediately.

Lack of evidence queries:

1. The Framework indicates at paragraph 31 that the preparation and review of all policies should be underpinned by relevant and up to date evidence. This should be adequate and proportionate, focussed tightly on supporting and justifying the policies concerned, and take into account relevant market signals. There are number of key documents missing from the evidence base.

2. There is no Heritage Impact Assessment as required by Historic England in relation to the Broad Locations.

3. The Broad Locations are not supported by a Transport Impact Assessment even though it was evident from our site visits that most of them would be likely to require significant road improvements as many are currently accessed via relatively narrow roads.


Adults can order books for children and themselves using an online form and then collect from a selected library. The books are collected at the library entrance and you are expected to provide your own bag. Staff will remain socially distant and will be wearing face coverings during the collection process.

This service is proving incredibly popular and we are already supporting families with some home schooling and plenty of reading for pleasure requests including:

 Any books about the Polar regions to help us with home schooling would be very much appreciated. Thank you so much.

She is 6 and half, in year two, could you please choose some reading books for home schooling? thank you

Opening hours are now; Monday and Thursday 10am-5pm, Tuesday and Friday 1-5pm Saturday 10am-4pm, closed Wednesdays and Sundays. Information on these services and any updates are available on Harpenden Library’s Facebook page.


We are able to supply age appropriate reading books rather than specific school reading schemes and will do our best to match our available books  and specific subject requests, based on stock in our libraries. This will need to be on a first come, first served basis. We can also provide Books on CDs and  Magazines for Loan if appropriate for the request theme.


If anyone is unable to access online services, please encourage them to contact us on 0300 123 4049 and a member of our team will be able to help fill out the form.

There are 8 books in each adult and teen Ready Reads pack and 12 books in each children's Ready Reads pack.


Request a pack online. All the information is on Website

Harpenden Academy’s Young Chef’s project 2020

“This is the second year that we’ve participated in the wonderful Young Chef’s project and it was hugely successful both times. The children were so engaged learning new skills and creating their own menus inspired by a hero. The best part of the project is giving the children a real life project to put their culinary skills into practice. Last year we created a restaurant in the school hall and this year children prepared and presented their menus to their families as part of their leavers’ event. The beams of pride and joy on their faces as their parents praised their culinary creations was amazing to see.”

ABOVE:Kate Watson – Year 6 teacher

ABOVE RIGHT: A Y6 pupil sharing her three course menu inspired by David Attenborough with her family.

Find out more about the Young Chef of the Year Awards for Schools by visiting: 

Jan 2021. The Gas pipe network across the country is now 70 years old and in need of replacement to ensure a  safe and reliable gas supply to homes and business.

Cadent, the main contractor has a 26 year contract to undertake this work which is now underway in Harpenden (and other parts of the UK) . Work involves the replacement of the metal pipes in the roads and the connecting pipes to each house, plus a reconnect to the mains in each house. Inside homes the engineers wear their regular safety gear as well as Covid protection PPE, mask, gloves and glasses. A long but necessary process to ensure long term secure and safe delivery of gas to all.

The giant Hoover featured hear is a specialist machine, made in Germany by Mercedes Benz. In essence it sucks up the debris and water from the holes dug up in the road to access the pipes and connectors.

The calendar for the year 2021 has been agreed and the following dates of meetings can be put in your diary!

The meetings in the first half of the year have been

planned to take place on ZOOM given the pandemic

restrictions will prevent us returning to Roundwood

Park School probably until September at the earliest.

Meeting dates (all Tuesdays evenings 7.45-for 8.00pm)

for 2021

February 9..March 9..April 13..May 11..

September 14..October 12..November 9..December 7

The two Outings that could not take place in 2020 have been rescheduled for 2021 assuming restrictions will have been eased.

May 21Anglesea Abbey and Cambridge Botanical Garden

July 7Lamport Hall Gardens and The Old Rectory Haselbech

Details and booking forms will be emailed to you shortly.

We are pleased to welcome back for our first meeting of 2021 the ever popular Timothy Walker, Botanist, Lecturer and Author who will talk about ‘Plants, Borders and Gardens.

Our second meeting in March sees Simon White of Beales Roses give us a complete run down on the A-Z of Roses.

We await final confirmation of our April speaker but the May 11 meeting will feature Andrew Ward of Norwell Nurseries whose subject will be Fabulous Foliage:a Foil for flowers.

The AGM will take place prior to the November 9 meeting.

The Society would like to take this opportunity to welcome Renata Rybczyk-Savage to the committee and to thank George French for his many years of solid  service to the Society and wish him well in his well earned retirement.

Membership fees are being rolled over for 2021 for existing members but £12.00 per annum is the fee payable to new members joining this year.

We welcome new members. If you would like to join us please contact Douglas Knowles on 01582 769831.

See you soon!

Covid delays the development plans for the Red House & the opening of Harpenden’s Health & Wellbeing Centre.

A report from The Harpenden Society.

January 2021.

The Harpenden Society have for many years, been leading the campaign to ensure that the Red House site is developed with an ongoing medical service for the Harpenden community. And in support they established the Red House Forum in 2012, a ginger group with across-the-board membership, to steer the campaign. Key organisers, still active being Chris Marsden, former Harpenden Society chair, as chairman, with Eric Midwinter and Cllr Teresa Heritage.

This saga shows no sign of resolution despite promises from various NHS providers in the last decade. The Covid pandemic is of course a legitimate reason for delayed action of significance so it is worthwhile to remind ourselves at how we arrived in the current situation. The last 3 years have been traumatic.

April 2018. The owners of the site Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) finally presented their plans for a redevelopment of the whole of the existing Harpenden Memorial Hospital site. They would create a new Health and Wellbeing Centre in the existing Stewarts building (ready for use’ by late 2020) funded by the sale of the remainder of the site for a new housing development and the Red House building being converted into apartments.

January 2019. The future of the Red House development (including the Health and Wellbeing Centre ) was thrown into doubt by fundamental changes in NHS operating structures. Ownership of the site was transferred to Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH) as the new provider for adult community health services in west Hertfordshire from the Autumn.

September 2019. CLCH announced that the planned opening of Harpenden’s Health & Wellbeing Centre would now be delayed until 2023. As the new guardians of the site they have had to assess all the previous work by the Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, much of it complex, before rationalising and submitting their plans and budgets to Government. The revised plans were due for approval in 18 moths time ( March 2021) with the opening now planned for 2023.

December 2019. A site meeting at the Red House revealed further delays. Two representatives of Capita on behalf of Central London Community HealthCare NHS Trust advised the following:

*They are reviewing the whole concept proposed by HCT including using the site for house building.

*They presented us with floor plans of the Red House building to show Phase 1 of the upgrades which will allow for additional services such as Podiatry, Tissue viability, Bladder and Bowel to be introduced, subject to internal sign off.

*Works were due to start in early March 2020 and they hoped to complete phase 1 by June.

Further information on the critical development of medical services will be advised going forward. The COVID pandemic curtailed most of the activity and all communication during the year.

January 2021. Email contact was made with the Capita contact as per Dec 2019. They advised that the Covid difficulties had caused delays but some progress had been made in the areas we have upgraded. The Main Red House building is currently rolling out the Vaccine to NHS staff & Care Home Staff, and CLCH NHS Trust have continued to carry out the upgrade works to the building so this is ready for the services once we are able to stand this back up.

We have to date in the Red House, CLCH have:

Carried out a new roof extension

Installed New Fire Alarm

New Boilers

New electrics

New Air Condition units.

The main corporate management team have now relocated into the 1st floor, with additional transformation plans to be rolled out when it is safe to do so. The Stewarts is now owned and managed by another NHS Trust - Hertfordshire Mental Health trust so it does not feature directly in their plans. WE AWAIT FURTHER INFORMATION.

NB. Blood test are still being carried out on site

An artist’s impression of the proposed Health and Wellbeing centre

Feb 8. Covid crisis exposes Luton Borough Council’s dependency on the Airport for ongoing financial stability.

In July 2020 Luton Borough Council  agreed a “horrendous” package of spending cuts after the airport operator it owns declared it could not make an expected £16m dividend payment due to Covid-19.

Then in September LBC borrowed £60m which it on-loaned to the airport to help it remain solvent following national lockdown measures.

And now the council’s proposed budget for 2021-22 outlines a rise in council tax rise by 4.99% plus other huge savings.

Commenting on the budget, Andy Malcolm, portfolio holder for finance, said: “Although there is uncertainty regarding future dividends from our airport company in the short to medium term, there remains significant confidence in the ongoing long-term success of our major asset.

“Luton airport will be key to our town’s recovery from Covid-19 and we are collectively responsible for steering a course through the pandemic’s devastating impact in the best interests of all Luton’s residents.”

Unite Trade Union representative for the Airport Jeff Hodge said the situation at London Luton Airport was "dire" and 250 of their members had lost their jobs. Unite represents some airport employees including security workers, baggage handlers and check-in staff.

Mr Hodge said: "The situation is just absolutely awful. It is dire. Those that are in jobs are in fear of their long-term future.

"The airport was booming... and now I am being told it could take two years to get back to where it was.

"Whilst passenger numbers may increase, in order for companies to maximise profit, existing employees will be expected to 'give 150%' before recruitment takes place.

"But we need people to get back on planes and be confident it's a safe environment, for the airport and the town to survive."

EasyJet, which has major operations at Luton and at London Gatwick, had previously said it would cut about 4,500 jobs from its 15,000-strong workforce. They  predict that levels of market demand seen in 2019 were not likely to be reached again until 2023.

London Luton Airport said 105,000 people used Luton in November, down from just over a million in the same month in 2019. December will see an 80% reduction in passenger numbers and a 70% reduction in flights compared to last year.

The airport operator said it had made 50 compulsory redundancies, 59 voluntary redundancies, 23 people were taking sabbaticals and 50% of its staff were on the latest furlough scheme.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "We recognise the impact national restrictions have on the travel sector and we will continue to keep doing everything we can to help this critical industry.

Richard Fuller one of Bedfordshire's Conservative MPs has said the council had "more than enough money to plug its gap" and could sell some of its stake in the airport

“As the majority shareholder in Luton Airport, the council usually benefits from an annual dividend of about £27m, but it said with aviation at a virtual standstill since March, it had been placed "in the painful situation of having to propose severe cuts to a number of key front-line services".

Labour council leader Hazel Simmons said: "The council has repeatedly called on central government to provide adequate emergency funding, but so far these pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

"If they continue to adopt this stance of indifference we will be forced to implement extreme savings measures to avoid the possibility of bankruptcy, which itself would have an even more destructive impact on services."

Information above sourced from trusted published media.

Government's £35m support for Luton Borough Council announced on Feb 11.

Luton Borough Council applied for its capitalisation direction in July, to help cover dividends from the council-owned company that runs Luton Airport, with lost income forecast to impact the council over the next two years.

Reacting to the granting of the direction, council leader Hazel Simmons said: “We greatly appreciate that the government has seen Luton as a special case for support, similar to that which has already been provided elsewhere in the aviation sector, including for easyJet, British Airways and Heathrow, and which has been our position all along."

The MP for North East Bedfordshire has slammed the £35m government financial support to Luton Borough Council.

Mr Fuller has described the arrangement as a "bail out" for local authorities "which have badly messed up their finances".

The conditions set on Luton Borough Council have been blasted by Mr Fuller as “pretty flimsy”, but suggests there is one clause (4.iii) that could result in Luton Airport's profits being shared out more widely in the region.

The clause will examine the council’s commercial arrangement with Luton airport, and a plan to government to reduce the local authority's financial exposure to the airport.