Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Fight the Flights Campaign - Communities Meeting
Wednesday 6th February, 7pm-9pm
Britannia Village Hall
65 Evelyn Road
Guest speakers and residents/campaigners from across the boroughs will be present. Come and find out how the expansion could affect you and your area. Be part of the growing group of campaigners objecting to this expansion madness.
For further details please contact us by email.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Noise pollution reaches new levels in Cairo.... according to the weekends news: It causes "an accumulation of stress hormones, inflammation and changes in body chemistry that eventually lead to problems such as impaired blood circulation and heart attacks."
An environmental health specialist said: "Noise severely affects pregnant women who are permanently exposed to it. It causes retraction in blood vessels and they give birth to small babies," she added.
Pictured below newly/being built flats which will be subjected to an estimated ear blasting 79db upon flight expansion.
"The cost of this is enormous -- we can count non-concentration at work, absenteeism, accidents, handicaps," she said. "Protecting ourselves from noise is much less expensive than what it may cost later."
According to the World Health Organisation, which considers noise pollution to be the world's third worst after polluted air and water, exposure for more than eight hours a day to sound in excess of 85 db is potentially hazardous.
Fight the Flights knows that LCA have those flattering estimates of noise levels which we know are not the levels which residents are measuring....and they might not be at 85db now...but it won't be long before they reach those levels if expansion goes ahead.
It's about time the actual noise levels were revealed to residents in the area, that is of course when LCA have sorted out the equipment at the east end of the runway so that the results are valid and reliable...will LCA come clean?
At what price comes flight expansion at LCA?
Friday, January 25, 2008
Credit Suisse Values At Odds with London City Airport's?? or Question 1. Why would someone object to LCA expansion when we give them free food?
Credit Suisse Group knows that the assumption of its responsibilities vis-à-vis its various stakeholders, as well as society and the environment, is one of the keys to long-term business success.
Commitment to Sustainability
We strive to take account of environmental and social issues in our business activities. The signing of international environmental and sustainability charters underscores our commitment.
We cultivate an open dialog with the public, support humanitarian, cultural and charitable organizations and provide sponsorship in the fields of sports and culture.
Pictured left - River Thames - Gallions Reach - an area rich in wildlife and at the end of the east bound LCA runway.
We have pledged to take account of environmental issues in our business activities and to continuously improve our environmental performance.
That all sounds good....We find it interesting that the good values that Credit Suisse are committed to (and we commend those) are pretty absent from London City Airport's management of the consultation and in the application itself. Concern for the environment, health, pollution - no....not too much evidence of that at all. LCA are hardly doing a good job of even trying to uphold the good values that it's shareholder prescribes to.
Fight the Flights has been wondering recently just how much Credit Suisse knows about the methods which LCA use in their quest to bury the bad news to the local communities not only in Newham but beyond. They might get a good idea of some of the issues just from this blog.
Of course LCA will try and tell you that their 1/2 kilometer consultation, limited to Newham only, is representative and was 'extensive'. Funny how they didn't bother telling residents who would be in the new PSZ map area...or in the new, all encompassing and enlargened noise contour map if the application is approved.
It's all been about as representative as the appalling questionnaire they put together as part of the application which contained 'leading' questions which do not allow any negative answers to be given, only positive - so sorry to those residents who thought they'd get to express anything other than what LCA wanted to hear that day you partook in the questionnaire. Any professional researcher would identify this as being 'biased' and therefore not good practice and invalid. Such questionnaires lead researchers to question the validity and the motive of such a design.
We just call it coercive spin that cheats communities of a real voice.
Egg sandwich anyone?
Thursday, January 24, 2008
Why aren't my children doing better at school, why's my blood pressure rising, what's this ringing in my ears?
Environment noise is measured by decibels. A recent noise report called ANASE stated that the sound level that 'significant annoyance' occurs is at 50db levels. However LCA don't like that result so are ignoring the studies findings and are going for the ANIS report from the 1980's which presents a much more favourable light on the noise levels that they even currently inflict upon us in East/South East London aviation land.
To residents and schoolchildren there is nothing 'minimal' about even a 3db increase on the current unacceptable noise levels that communities already suffer from. Add a jet flying over/taking off/landing at 90 second intervals which measure from 78db upwards and you might just get an idea of how noisy it is.
Do you hear what I hear?
We've been looking into the effects on us mere mortals of loud noise (from aircraft) and have found some very worrying findings. For instance did you know that high levels of aircraft noise :
- increase blood pressure
- is a major factor in hearing loss with repeated exposure
- can result in tinnitus?
- cause heart disease
- cause immune deficiencies
- cause neurodermatitus
- cause asthma
- cause stress related diseases
(S. Rosen and P. Olin, Hearing loss and coronary heart disease, Archives of Otolaryngology, 82:236 (1965)
Some of these were obvious, but others are a surprise to us and we find it astounding that so little attention has been paid to the issue of hearing loss, tinnitus, blood pressure and the other diseases in Newham and the surrounding boroughs under the flight paths. From what we've seen, the health reports are flaky to say the least - but we may re-visit those and see if we can pull out anything worthwhile for a follow up blog article on this. But bearing in mind that LCA don't like to share the flight path maps then we can see why neighbouring boroughs/health authorities would find it difficult to make connections between illness and aircraft noise.
How's your child getting on at school?
In a 22-78db environment children were found to:
- be less likely to be able to solve a challenging puzzle and persist at it so well
- teachers had difficulty in motivating children in their school work
- children showed less tolerance for frustration
- have problems with memory tasks
- suggested negative effects on children's academic performance
- negative effect on children's reading skills
- children with learning disabilities may be even more susceptible to the negative effects of chronic noise exposure
Further research by Evans & Maxwell (1997) identified a link between chronic noise exposure and reading. The noise source was a nearby airport; planes flew over the school on an average of every 6 minutes resulting in classroom decibel levels of 90. In this study children in the noisy school had poorer reading skills than children from the quiet school.
Chronic exposure to noise has been shown to be harmful to children of various ages. It can have especially detrimental effects on younger children when language and discrimination skills are forming.
The schools in and around the Royal Docks all fit within these noise levels: Brittania Village Primary, Calverton, Drew Road Primary School, Keir Hardie Primary School, Rosetta Primary School. Those nearer to the airport suffer the worst noise levels of all and also often the kerosene fumes from the Jet Centre. Playing outside and having school windows open must be a real luxury in those occasional quiet, flight free slots that are still present in the week days - but not for long. It's tough enough being a child today - but faced with increasing unacceptable noise levels, and the threat of noise induced illness is hardly giving them a helping hand. We think this is a shameful situation
Isn't it about time LCA and Newham faced the facts? Flight expansion is not acceptable if it is at the cost of residents health and children's development, nor can noise be mitigated effectively unless you shut children and adults in their homes with sound proofing the standard provided for music recording rooms. Residents and their children deserve better.
It takes more than a few free LCA sandwiches to make up for all the negative impacts in these communities.
Watch out for our next article where we will identify the areas most affected by increasing noise levels and how many more homes will be affected by higher noise levels than before: 'noise levels - the real deal with LCA'
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
London City Airport costs us London tax payers a whopping £7 million for it's annual security, and surprise, surprise it doesn't want to pay a penny towards it.
Now we are clearly very concerned about the security and the safety of it's travelling passengers and of the communities around the airport - but should Londoners be expected to pay this whilst LCA pass the profits on to their share holders: Credit Suisse, GE and AIG? And we are not alone in our amazement at LCA's complete lack of willingness to shoulder even a percentage of their security costs........at the GLA the following question was asked by Len Duval, Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority:
Question number 0043/2007 Meeting date 10/10/2007
Question by Len Duvall I am not asking you to comment on the planning application; it is more about the commercial engagement with London City Airport . Are you aware that London City Airport provides no cost towards the security of its perimeters and, in a sense, that we and part of the GLA family are subsidising them? Before you enter into commercial agreements with London City Airport or give any undertaking that security, the primacy of security around our airports and users of airports comes first and therefore that they should not be subsidised by London taxpayers, they should make a contribution like other airports; even Heathrow are cooperating in that. There seems to be a real problem with London City Airport ; they do not seem to want to even engage in a conversation about costs and they are quite adamant they are not going to pay it. Do you see that as being a part of a discussion that you may wish to have to them before you exercise any commercial deal?
Answer by Manny Lewis, LDA Given that you have raised it, Len , absolutely, in terms of the Metropolitan Police Service position. I am not familiar with those security issues; you have alerted us to those. We need to follow those up both with the Metropolitan Police Service as well as with TfL and we will certainly now factor that in.
Say's it all about LCA really. We should add that Fight the Flights has asked LCA if they intend to contribute to the cost of security, or even pay for it in full in respect of their planned expansion, which will clearly increase the £7m bill as more security will be required. We are still waiting for a response.
Now what was LCA's Chief Exec Richard Gooding saying about how much LCA give to the community?? It seems that they take out far more than they put in.
Funds for dealing with crime are always short - perhaps this £7m would be better spent on the crime that's affecting London communities right now - youth crime . We are sure that the Metropolitan Police Service would be more than pleased to get £7m back for services provided to a profit making, private business so as to enable them to tackle the difficult job of policing London.
If there are any businesses out there who don't get £7m security a year and feel discriminated against then please send requests for tips on how to get such brilliant perks to:
well, you know who....
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It has a rich historic history, and has also managed to develop a rich natural history on it's doorstep. Green areas, with canals have been introduced to encourage more bird life in some areas, and the River Thames is cleaner than it has been for hundreds of years and is often celebrated as attracting more birds and fish than ever before.
It's another reason to object to the expansion and here's why;
- We feel that flight expansion will drive a lot of the wildlife out of the area for good - some of them rare and protected such as peregrine falcons. We are pleased to say that we are in talks with and are supporting the RSPB in their work on the conservation of birds and their habitat with regard to this application.
- Many of the birds that are present in high numbers in the area are designated by the CAA as of high risk to bird strike - their numbers are further encouraged by Beckton Sewage works, Crossness Sewage works, The Belvedere Incinerator , and the proposed Anaerobic Digestion site at Thamesmead. These businesses and flight expansion just do not mix if we are to seriously consider the safety of those using City Airport and the residents who live near to it in the event of any expansion.
CAA and Bird Strikes
"Bird Strike reporting was not mandatory until fairly recently. Even so, since 2000 there have been approximately 500 birdstrike incidents reported to CAA through the MOR system." quote from CAA site. Refer to document CAP 772 . It seems to us that little attention has been paid to CAP 772 at all by LCA. Click here to see the latest bird strike statistics.
Kestrels - Pair nesting at Artilliary Quays - resident for 3 years - raised one chick last year.
Peregine Falcons, pair of, nesting in the Royal Docks - hunt over Thames. Protected species.
Phalarope - rare visitor to the UK
Skylarks - numbers continuing to fall drastically in the UK.
Canadian Geese - prolific through Gallions Reach Urban Village Canal ways and on Thames in Summer.
Swans - present on Thames and canal ways.
Great Crested Grebes
Long Tailed Tits
Black headed gulls
Great Black Backed Gulls
Grey Herons - 7 breeding pairs 2007.
However clarity of the maps and the dwellings that the PSZ extends over has not provided reassurance at all, it has provided anxiety and a lot of questions that are going unanswered by Newham Council Planning Department and London City Airport (LCA). Ever heard that phrase 'it is not a planning issue' - here at Fight The Flights we've heard that more often than we care to mention. So much for Sir Robin's "it's important to me to represent you and to listen to your views".
The Department for Transport has provided guidance for authorities in regard to building and current dwellings in PSZ's. Essentially no new building is allowed to occur, unless planning permission was given before the PSZ was drawn up. Homes that are currently not in the PSZ but will find themselves in it if expansion goes ahead won't be getting too much support from the Government/Newham/LCA it seems. Dft make it clear that: “The economic costs of removing existing development throughout the Zones would, however, outweigh the safety benefits of doing so, and the Secretary of State is therefore not proposing that course”. So LCA can continue to keep their wallets tightly closed on this one.
The PSZ is a map, which is a triangular area extending out from each end of the run way. It has been calculated to be at most risk of an aviation incident at landing or take off. The maps size and length is calculated on a variety of issues, the number of flights and types being just a couple of the factors which influence it's size. So more flights equals a larger PSZ - and in West Thamesmead, Greenwich in particular this means many more family homes will find themselves in this high risk zone. Now, you would think that those dwellings that will find themselves in the new enlarged PSZ, would be the first to be told by Newham about this. Well, surprise they have not been told at all - and unless they read this and have read through the PSZ documents they will have no idea at all. In reality all we can tell them is that their properties will be in the zone - we can't tell them what the implications will be as Newham Council and London City Airport have not provided that information even though it has been requested.
The PSZ maps indicate that the following roads, and buildings will be in the new zone on the east side of the runway: Hill House, Bridge House, Defence Close - Gallions Reach Urban Village, SE28. Unfortunately we are not talking about just one or two dwellings being bought into the PSZ, but hundreds. If you wish to see this map please email Fight the Flights and an electronic copy will be sent to you.
Our main concerns regarding PSZ's are:
1. Do the residents that are in homes within the new PSZ maps realise that they are?
2. Will they be able to get insurance on their properties?
3. Will their property be eligible for a mortgage when it comes to selling or switching mortgages?
4. Will the value of their property be affected?
Realistically - would you want to purchase/live in a property that is in a PSZ? Well if your answer is no, and many others say the same then it's likely it will affect the values of the homes.
We feel it is SCANDALOUS that LCA and Newham Council are not willing to answer these questions.
But we are not only concerned about the economic issue but also of the safety of these residents: Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Children, they could be your relations...they all live in the area.
And what does this say about LCA and Newham? We think it says a lot - that they simply don't care about residents safety at all.
We'd also say this is yet another one of the very good reasons why residents and council's should be objecting to and blocking LCA's expansion
Coming Soon - Part 2 The scandal of London City Airport's Public Safety Zone
Friday, January 18, 2008
41.6% increase in flghts to and from City Airport
Residents in Bexley and Greenwich will be alarmed to learn that a planning application has been received by Newham Council (across the river) to greatly increase the volume of flights to and from the City London airport.
Readers of the Chronicle have been making their views known about low flying aircraft over Bexley and especially Sidcup and Swanley which are on flight paths in to Biggin Hill and holding approaches to Gatwick airport with Bexleyheath, Erith and Belvedere and central Thamesmead getting the brunt of increased activity and noise from the City airport.
Newham Council told the Chronicle they invited comments from Greenwich and Bexley Councils. Greenwich Council told us."Newham Council is the determining planning authority. The application was available for inspection through Newham's website and at its offices. Greenwich Council placed an advertisement in the local paper on Wednesday, 21 November 2007 to alert Greenwich residents that the application had been submitted to Newham, highlighting where the application could be viewed making residents aware of the consultation period to ensure they had the opportunity to make a representation. "Greenwich Council understands Newham is formally requesting further information in respect of the Environmental Statement and when this information becomes available Greenwich will decide how best to consult with local residents."Bexley Council told us “We can confirm that Newham asked London City Airport to provide a lot more background information and assessments of the application which they have now done. Newham are reconsulting other Boroughs with this extra detail and asking for our comments before they proceed to take a decision. It is our intention that a report should go to Planning Control Committee in February (either 7th or 28th) with a recommendation as to what comments Bexley should make. It would be premature at this point to say what they might be”
Fight the Flights - is a coalition of individuals from across various boroughs, specifically formed to object to the application by London City Airport for flight expansion to 120,000 per year and more in the future as part of their masterplan.
Spokesperson Anne-Marie Griffin commented “a lot of people are affected and disturbed by the current noise levels, and this will only get worse if the flight expansion is approved. More category ‘A’ planes will be used, even small airbuses which are noticeably noisier than the propellor planes that made up the majority of flights up until a year or so ago. What the residents describe, as the increase in noise and frequency is that more jets now fly in and out of City Airport than ever before. In addition to this, in January 2007 London City Airport applied to Newham to change the flight patterns i.e. there was a daily quota on how many noise factored movements could take place - as I understand it they now have a weekly quota and have no day to day restrictions on the amount of flights. Essentially if London City wish to fly out 3/4 of their flights in just 2 days of the week I believe they can. Newham did not consult anyone on this change - they claim it was a minor planning application and they had no duty to do so. But like residents in other boroughs we have been a lot more disturbed by the planes since the Spring of 2007 than ever before. The flight hours are 06.30 - 22.30 with the first and last 30 minutes of the flight hours being for planes which are delayed etc. London City make plenty of use of these 30 minute slots at times. In addition the Jet Centre which is part of the airport and offers small private jets for hire not regulated in terms of how many flights operate.
“We (Fight the Flights) received a letter from Greenwich Council (14/1)explaining that under a particular Town and Country Act Newham are indeed responsible for consulting with residents in those boroughs outside their own which are affected.We also received a letter of consultation from Luke Downend (addressed to the Occupier) so some letters of consultation have been sent to the Borough of Greenwich. I do not know over which radius or whether other boroughs residents are also to receive the letters.
If anyone is in a borough affected and feel they should receive a letter, but have not, - then please send the request to Luke Downend at Newham Council. They need to be accountable and carry out their job professionally and thoroughly. If Newham consult more widely it should help our campaign enormously.” www.newham.gov.uk (0208 430 3165)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
We followed this news up by asking Newham Council if they were also going to write to residents in the other neighbouring boroughs, because as you know we are a coalition across the boroughs,Greenwich being just one of them.
Sadly Newham still intend to flout the Town and Country Planning Order (General Development Procedure) 1995 .
A Newham spokesperson stated that:
"We are not consulting other borough residents in the same way, the decision was made to directly consult the residents of Thamesmead following the receipt after christmas of the additional information that Newham Council had requested from the applicants".
So that's alright then.
Perhaps the neighbouring borough council's and residents may wish to take issue with Newham over that! Fight the Flights will of course be working hard on this issue too. Democracy and Town and Country Legislation is clearly not the order of the day in Newham Council. Will Sir Robin Wales stand up and explain exactly why that is, or perhaps others would like to ask him?
UPDATE: We have been politely asked to remove Sir Robin's photograph by the Head of Communications at Newham Council, it seems that Sir Robin is rather shy for a public figure, and we would not wish to embarrass him in any way.
But we are glad at least that Newham are reading this blog - Sir Robin might now make time to reply to the residents who have contacted him in the past few months but are still waiting for a response from him regarding the LCA application/consultation. We're an optimistic bunch at Fight the Flights, we believe this is just an administrative error at the Mayor's office which will soon be resolved.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
London City Airport states in its Environmental Supplement Statement under 'daily patterns' on the Newham Council Planning portal that the airport opens:
Saturdays 06:30 - 12:30
Sunday 11:30 - 22:00
Now we thought that this may refer to the times they open the airport doors, but alas it doesn't. The context that these times are given are in emission measurement from the aircraft, these hours are active flight times indicating daily patterns.
Now, our maths may not be great at Fight the Flights...but clearly 12:30 Saturday until 11:30 Sunday is clearly 23 hours, NOT 24 hours!
The workshop is open to residents in the areas surrounding London City Airport both East and South East London, whom suffer from considerable aircraft noise.
The workshop will provide people with training on how to use the sound meters, local maps and a pack to help carry out sound recordings.
When on January 14 our resident campaigners in the Borough of Greenwich (which had not been consulted) reported that they had received London City Airport application consultation letters dated January 7 from Newham Council, we were pleasantly surprised to say the least. Since October they have been waiting, and waiting for somebody to consult with them.
However, as all residents are entitled to have 4 weeks in which to respond to requests for objections - we have requested that the deadline to objections, currently February 6, should be extended to allow residents a full 4 weeks in which to consider the application. We are also asking how many residents have been written to, the radius and if this consultation is extending to the other neighbouring boroughs.
Yes, it may seem as if a miracle occured sometime over Christmas, that or Newham Council finally began to realise that they were not going to slip this application through as quietly as they had hoped and flout the Town and Country Planning Order (General Development Procedure) 1995. This act requires the determining local authority (Newham) to notify adjoining occupiers.
Sadly it's not the first time that Newham seem to have flouted this law, we're already aware that an application by London City Airport in January 2007 ( to increase the number of flights permitted in any one day) was slipped through quietly, at many residents loss. But Fight the Flights is watching events and developments closely now.....
If you are in a borough which is affected but have not been consulted - then quote the Town and Planning Act listed here to your local planning department and request that they ensure Newham Council consult you too.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Although we knew about, and have been in contact with LCACC, we have only just noticed that the meetings they hold on a quarterly basis ARE OPEN TO THE PRESS AND PUBLIC. It's unfortunate that we missed Tuesday's meeting due to rather more pressing Fight the Flights business but you can read the minutes of all the meetings, and see when the next is to be held at:
If you are interested in attending the next meeting why not drop us a line?
London City Airport are keen to boast the low level of complaints they have received over the years...but as we all know things have changed as of late with regard to the activities, and noise has grown to irritating levels for many communities - we don't want this to get worse. Of course low levels of complaints - may have something to do with communities not knowing who to complain to, I suspect this is even more so for those that don't have internet access.
But we suspect that some may have been reporting to their local councils and the complaints may not have been passed on (from our information it seems that many councils are not even aware of who to contact and the procedure), or perhaps some are even being fobbed off at an early stage.
So we ask you to please drop Mr Grafton, who is LCA's Environment and Planning Manager a line or two....and copy in Robin Whitehouse, Newham Council's Environmental Officer.
They both deal with complaints about LCA planes or environmental issues - whether the aircraft be on the ground, or flying over your home...no matter which borough you are in:
RobGrafton@londoncityairport.com cc Robin.Whitehouse@newham.gov.uk
or you can write to Mr Grafton at:
London City Airport
Telephone: 020 7646 0200, Fax: 020 7473 9588
Friday, January 11, 2008
This is just the start, notification of a public meeting will be announced in the near future.