Friday, January 18, 2008

Bexley Chronicle Alerts Residents To LCA Application

Article in the latest edition of the Chronicle:

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.” (0208 430 3165)