Friday, February 29, 2008

Fight the Flights - Digs It's Heels In to Fight for the Communities

As many of you will have noticed in press reports: Fight the Flights has been taking legal advice since October 2007 on the current application by London City Airport to expand flights, being considered by Newham Council. We continue to take that legal advice.

We have all been carrying out a lot of work behind the scenes over the past few months as individuals (including prior to the coalition forming), but we can confirm that Fight the Flights has contacted a huge amount of decision makers regarding the application and the Newham consultation farce. We have also more recently: requested a meeting with the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and have contacted all MEPs, most GLA members and most neighbouring boroughs.

There has also been a door to door petition in the Royal Docks - which collected 500 signatures in objection and the ongoing online petition. Various leaflet drops have been delivered to households in the Royal Docks, North Woolwich, Silvertown, Custom House and Thamesmead areas, and even a newsletter.

It is important that we also mention that there are other objection groups across the boroughs affected whom are carrying out their own successful campaigns independently.

We continue to work closely with Friends of the Earth, Airport Watch and various other groups and indeed some of those groups are campaigning in their areas, in their own right, against London City Airport Expansion.

If you are regular readers of the blog you will also have noticed that John Austin MP for Erith and Thamesmead has called for a public inquiry, and Bexley Labour Group is also backing him on that. But in addition there are many other prominent objectors: Mayor Ken Livingstone, Darren Johnson, GLA Member, Sian Berry, Mayoral Candidate for the Green Party, Charles Secrett, GLA member, to name just a few. You might just spot a few more well known names on our online petition list or in articles on this blog site. The tide is rising and growing in objection to London City Airport's ridiculous expansion plans.

The team here, at Fight the Flights, are in this for the long term as we believe, and have research to support, that any expansion will harm us all and our communities. We believe that profit should NOT be put before the health and well-being of the communities. As the Mayor, Ken Livingstone said - residents must come first.

London City Airport "in cloud cuckoo land" Says Senior Analyst

Howard Wheeldon, analyst at BGC Partners LP in London comments that expansion at London City Airport should be no more than 20% and referred to LCA being in ' cloud cuckoo land' with the expansion levels planned.

In an interview on Bloomberg UK, Fight the Flights spokesperson, Anne-Marie Griffin puts the noise and health issues which will affect at least another 40,000 residents, at the top of the objection points, whilst Richard Gooding, CEO of LCA comments to the effect that 'some (residents) will complain at any planes over them, even 'quiet' ones'. Well that just about tells you, the communities, who dare to object to the threat of flights expanding to 176,000 in the future, measuring noise levels of 82db+ flying over every 90 seconds, for hours on end, that you are just a moaning lot of whingers, who are standing in the way of him making a lot of money for his shareholders (Credit Suisse, GE, AIG)! How very unreasonable of you all to object!!! But in all seriousness, it is very predictable that the word 'quiet and planes' should be used together from someone connected to the aviation industry - see our previous posting!

The PR is still not going that well at all down in the LCA camp, unless they are actually intending to provide lessons on how to alienate a whole community and the words of warning from the business sector too - oh dear! We guess they had to change their responses from those offered in the past, especially as Mr Gooding was getting confused on those claims he made to the community that "it's not going to get any noisier" and various other flippant comments such as the varying amount of 'estimated jobs' which will more than make up for any environmental damage or any other negative effects!!Not a strong argument at all.

We think they need a few 'lifejacket' responses to questions from now on as they are clearly cornered: the negatives are so many and the positives....well there's just one really, and that won't benefit the communities at all: expansion will simply make a lot of money for the shareholders.

As well as watching the feature on Bloomberg web video - you can also read an excellent news article written by Thomas Penny on Bloomberg by clicking here.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

CAA and NATS Say 'Not Enough Airspace in South East'

In the Competition Commission’s Market Investigation of BAA an eagle eyed colleague spotted yet another blunder in the world of aviation expansion - there's not enough space.

Taken from a submission by the Civil Aviation Authority, May 2007, this tells it quite plainly:

27. Airspace is a finite resource. Safety is the absolute priority for the management of air traffic flows through a given volume of airspace. This is achieved through the application of, internationally agreed, horizontal, and vertical separation criteria that are applied to all aircraft operating within defined volumes of controlled airspace. In the southeast of England where there are multiple airports with high traffic volumes of aircraft with different performance characteristics on a wide variety of departure and arrival routes, there is a limit to the amount of traffic that can be accommodated safely at any one time.

28 Over time, incremental changes to controlled airspace volumes and modifications to arrival and departure routes have been made to increase capacity and improve the efficiency of the airspace. To date, all airspace change requests have been managed and implemented. However, the CAA and NATS are of the view that, were all of the SE airport development plans9 to come to fruition, there would not be sufficient airspace capacity to accommodate the scale of predicted traffic growth on the basis of current and predicted technology. As a consequence, airspace constraints may affect the future nature and degree of competition in this market.

9 As currently included in airport master plans and the DfT’s Air Transport White Paper Progress Report (DfT, December 2006).

All credits to 'B'.

LCA Expansion Threatens To Kill Regeneration and The Communities

If expansion goes ahead it WILL kill the community, and the progress of regeneration:
  • Over 35,000 additional residents will be affected by noise levels so high that they will not be able to have windows open, or spend time outside.
  • Cases of loss of hearing will increase in the areas nearest to the airport
  • Children's development and education will be affected by the constant high levels of noise.
  • 50% more planes = 50% more noise will drive residents out of their area and make the area a place that people do not CHOOSE to live in. This contradicts Newhams own pledge to reduce aircraft noise in the borough and encourage more people to move to the Royal Docks.
  • More air pollution will escalate the highest levels of asthma mortality for under 30's in England even further, and contribute to other serious illnesses such as cancer. This contradicts all commitments by the Government to reducing C02 emissions.
  • Residents in the nearest neighbourhoods will find it more difficult to travel to work as a result of: more over crowded than ever DLR services, buses and roads with extra airport traffic.
  • London taxpayers will have to pay more council taxes to pay for London City Airports £7million, and perhaps increasing, security costs.
  • Approximately 6,000 new homes may not be built as part of the Thames Gateway housing plan if expansion goes ahead. Many of these are in Newham - which has one of the worst housing shortages of all the London Boroughs.
  • Issues of safety - and likelihood of incidents with the airports reported poor standard of security, as revealed by The Sun.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Newham Planning Date Shelved

The date originally issued by Luke Downend - 12 March now seems to have been shelved.

One of our campaigners has been advised "that a date has not been identified for consideration of the application at Committee" - but that Newham will be notifying residents when there is.

Things must be getting complicated.

Local Councillors Warn Over Airport's Growth

Taken from Bexley Labour Councillors Press Release

Bexley's Labour Councillors have successfully urged Bexley Council's Planning Committee to object to the London Borough of Newham that an increase in flights to London City Airport should not be allowed. Bexley's Planning Committee considered an application from London City Airport to the London Borough of Newham on 7 February to increase their flights from 73,000 to 120,000 per year.

In their submission to the Planning Committee Meeting, Thamesmead East Councillors Sandra Bauer and Harry Persaud said
"We are concerned that most Thamesmead residents have absolutely no idea that this proposal has been submitted as the planning application has been lodged with the London Borough of Newham. Neither London City Airport or the London Borough of Newham appear to have made any pro-active approach to make our residents aware of this application. Thamesmead is directly underneath the main flight path for London City Airport and only a few miles distance so will be adversely affected by these proposals.
Environmental and noise pollution will have a negative impact on the quality of life of residents. Their enjoyment of their gardens and free time, particularly during the summer will be affected and given the large number of increased flights of a daytime, it appears that there will be a constant stream of aircraft overhead. The proposal will of course also have an adverse effect on the area's rare marshland wildlife. We would urge you to recommend to the London Borough of Newham that this proposal is rejected."At the meeting itself Slade Green Councillor John Eastaugh expressed his concerns about an increase in noise pollution and Thamesmead Councillor Harbans Buttar expressed his concerns about air pollution.

Belvedere Councillor Daniel Francis raised concerns that the Airport may not be complying with their current planning permission as there were 81,000 flights in 2007, that local residents had not been consulted, that there were be no sound insulation grants available for local residents and whether the airport can accommodate a 50% increase in flights.

The application will now go before the planning committee in the London Borough of Newham.

BAA BAA Black Sheep Have You Any Money??

BAA Chief Stephen Nelson is to quit amid reports of mounting debt at BAA.

Oh dear is this a sign of things to come for airports which have shareholders who purchase at £750million, with high interest rates and half empty planes?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Why is Sir Robin Wales Silent?

We were admiring Sir Robin Wales's official site - you see despite so many residents contacting Sir Robin regarding the airport application - he never replies. In fact going on current statistics you are more likely to get a reply from the Head of Communications, Ian Tompkins than from Sir Robin. Is Ian Tompkins, Sir Robin's new PA we wonder?

More so why is Sir Robin silent about the London City Airport application??

So instead we must make do with looking at his site for hints about the man himself: interestingly we see that he makes a link - just as Fight the Flights has in an earlier article on health and housing. Well that can't be bad can least on that we are singing from the same hymn sheet so to speak.

Sir Robin states:

Better Health and Well-being: We'll work with the NHS to make sure their plans reflect the health needs of Newham's people. We will bring all our homes up to the "decent homes" standard and bring 2000 more homes in from the private sector for local people by 2010.

Hmm, 2000 more homes from the private sector by this the figure after the 6000+ new dwellings that won't be built if London City Airport expansion goes ahead? Or is this figure going to drop to '0' if expansion goes ahead Sir Robin ? Or are you going to home the most vulnerable and deprived residents in homes, which your borough may allow to be built, but exceed safe noise levels near to the airport or are in public safety zones?

He may also want to consider the asthma/respiratory factor in all this too. It seems there would be a big cost factor for any aviation expansion - ready to be picked up by Newham Council perhaps?

Please note that the above picture was taken by a member of the group and Newham Council has no ownership rights of this photo.

London City Airport Consultative Committee

Is it working, does it achieve what it is supposed to achieve, how successful is it in reality? We'll let you consider those questions...

We know that there are some very decent and committed people involved - but does the committee's policy objectives actually guarantee the communities affected by LCA good representation? We think this current LCA/Newham planning fiasco shows us that the policy of the consultative committee has deep flaws and clearly does not give the communities good representation at all. How otherwise could the consultation become such a mess, with LCACC being left out of the loop itself by Newham on more than one occasion?

What is more we see issues which we have been informed of which appear not to be mentioned in the minutes at all - issues that if they had of been dealt with perhaps may have avoided a discussion regarding a legal challenge regarding the consultation. It's not good enough to have one or two resident representatives saying they feel happy with the consultation and LCA - clearly they perhaps are the estimated 20% that were lucky enough to be told about the application by Newham.

Now, we are certainly not having a knock at the members - but we are questioning the role of the LCACC and its effectiveness.

We think it's time that LCACC looked at how they can actually improve the role of the committee as a whole in consulting with the communities, - but also look at how they can have an influence on things like the consultation radius in any planning application and the areas which LCA claim to have consulted themselves. Even LCA's claimed community relations has failed to reach communities over the 1.5 kilometer radius it seems, and did LCACC spot this? No, of course not.

LCACC has not viewed things in the big picture at all and the current events are proof of that - it has become very focussed on particular parts of the area and on the positive PR of LCA.

We think it is time that the LCACC Chair looked at how perhaps with his guidance LCACC could have avoided seeing this current fiasco, which they didn't even seem to be aware of until a resident complained, - and what steps he can take to make sure it never happens again.

How on earth didn't LCACC realise that whole boroughs of residents which were affected had not been consulted? Well they did - because they asked the Newham Planning Department how far they intended to consult - they got the answer of 'homes south of the A13' and as far as we know didn't seem too worried about it at all.

Now we don't expect LCACC to regulate the planning process - but if they are indeed a 'consultative committee' then you'd expect them to have a little more say in how LCA and Newham consult with residents and boroughs. Otherwise why are they the 'consultative committee'.

Monday, February 25, 2008

LB Newham Council, Time and Democracy

We thought that there was no better clock to remind LB Newham Council Planning Department that we are still waiting to receive a response regarding the 12th March planning meeting to consider the application by LCA to expand flights.

No meeting details have been released, nor have requests to take to the platform been responded to. It's been a long wait and so far the new planning officer is not responding to anyone it seems. Surely they are not going to try and hold the meeting behind closed doors? We don't think even LB Newham could be that foolish. Perhaps the Head of Communications Ian Tompkins may like to give his advice to the Planning Department in how to respond - he's usually pretty sharp, well in relation to asking individuals to remove photos and logos from their blog sites that is. Oh yes, we were not the only ones that Mr Tompkins made such a request to. At least we know not to take it personally. But hopefully as he is terribly efficient he will realise that communication is rather important at this stage.

Big Ben - signalling the home of a democratic parliamentary system, and of course the time. We thought that Newham Council might need a reminder that we are indeed still living in a democracy where CONSULTATION is not a choice for them to carry out - but a democratic requirement and obligation to residents.

Reminder TONIGHT- Heathrow End of Consultation Lobby/Rally - Westminster

If you are able to attend Westminster to lobby your MP or attend the end of consultation rally in Central Hall please do!

Take a look at how your children are affected by aircraft noise: our communities deserve better.

I think we are all used to being told how WE can help slow down global warming. However the aviation industry seems to be somehow exempt from such pressure or devoid of such concerns. It's easy - stop expansion. Make sure aviation is included in the climate bill - object to all flight expansion - it's purely GREED NOT NEED.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Quieter Planes? More like a flight of fancy.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint by a London resident over Boeing’s claims in a recent advertisement that the new 787 Dreamliner, which is due to go into service later this year, will be “60% quieter than ever before”. (1) The ruling comes barely a week after British Airways announced that it had finalised an order for 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The ASA ruled that the advertisement was untruthful and ‘likely to mislead’ because it would lead people to believe that there would be a 60% reduction in noise levels as the plane came overhead. In fact, there would only be a 3 decibel reduction in noise levels which is ‘barely perceptible’ to people on the ground. Boeing had based its claim that its new 787 would be 60% quieter than the existing Boeing 767 on the noise footprint of the aircraft. The ASA found that this was misleading.
We've already been told that the A category jet planes flying into LCA are quieter (compared to what we ask, a concorde, or a 737?) - strange how the decibels just keep going up as the noise contours widen out over swathes of South and East London. LCA mistakenly believed we were gullible.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Heads Momentarily Rise From The Trough....Again

Net Lettings are the latest property website that is happy to peddle complete inaccuracies about London City Airport expansion and it's effects on residential areas. We just love it when they raise their heads from the troughs for long enough to preach to residents the opposite of what the valuers and home owners already know.

They have no independent evidence for any of the claims they make, they should read our previous posting on these ridiculous stories of spin. They might even like to check out the estimated noise levels that would affect over 26,000 residents upon any expansion. It will 'only bring positives to south east london' states the article, and we note that our old friend Paul Collins from 'Buy Association' was the inspiration behind the words of little wisdom.

We can 'postively' say that the only outcome in all this is that LCA and other airport flight expansion WILL bring misery to thousands of homes in London and the South East, rendering many uninhabitable.

LCA - A Simple Case of Greed NOT Need

We hear over and over again that planes departing and arriving at London City Airport are often half empty from our insiders at LCA. To us that indicates a lack of demand. When you've just been bought by 3 global companies: AIG, GE and Credit Suisse for a reported £750 million pounds, then the pressure is clearly on to make a return on that with plenty of profit. Bearing in mind who the shareholders are, and the effect of the subprime disaster and other events on some of their balances then their buckets are for the ready to catch those golden coins.

LCA are quick to make unsubstantiated claims about the economic benefits (there is no independent evidence for this at all) for the local area in their constant pouring out of inaccurate spin. If you are a regular reader of this blog then you will already know that this 'benefit' is often hard to find. Just 38% of staff come from Newham, they all have to have cars to get a job in LCA and after 20 years of the airports operation Newham is still in the top 3 of the most socially deprived boroughs in England, and it just happens to have the highest levels of asthma mortality for under 30s than in any other borough in England. That is all without taking into account that the airport costs us London Taxpayers £7million pounds a year. Ever wondered why your council tax was so high - well there is part of the answer. So lets just once and for all dispel the myth that LCA are doing anything that is led by some committment to the community. They want expansion not because it will help residents of Newham or the neighbouring boroughs - but because it will help build THEM greater profits.

So what is the real drive behind flight expansion, at any cost, to the communities in the 13 kilometer area around the airport? GREED not NEED. Pure and simple.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Response to MP John Austin's Press Release

We welcome the support and valid points that MP John Austin makes on behalf of his constituents in the boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley. More so we fully support his stance in calling for a public enquiry.

FTF wishes to see ALL residents fully consulted across all the boroughs affected - and presented with the real facts and information on the implications of expansion and how it will affect them.

John Austin MP - Calls for Public Enquiry

Press release from MP John Austin:


Erith & Thamesmead MP, John Austin, has renewed his call for a Public Inquiry into the plans for increased flights from London City Airport. In November of last year he complained to Newham Council that his constituents in Bexley and Greenwich had not been consulted on the proposals despite many of them living under the flight path.

John Austin has now written to both Bexley and Greenwich councils to express his concerns regarding the application from London City Airport to vary its permitted flights from 79,616 to 120,000 per annum. He told the councils that he was particularly concerned that his constituents in Belvedere, Erith and Thamesmead may not be aware of the proposals because of Newham’s failure to consult them.

In his letter John Austin says: “Many of my constituents are naturally concerned about increased levels of noise and atmospheric pollution if the planning application were granted. If permission is granted for an additional 40, 384 flights per annum over 260 week days, the airport will be allowed to operate an additional 155 flights per day. Constituents have expressed to me their belief that this proposal will lead to an unacceptable increase in noise and disturbance and will lead to a deterioration of their amenities. It is therefore extremely disappointing to hear that if planning permission were to be granted that London City Airport's Sound Insulation Grant scheme would not be made available to any Bexley residents and I am urging the Airport to reconsider this stance particularly with regard to my constituents living in Thamesmead”.

John Austin added: “I recognise that City Airport is a key player in the regeneration of Docklands and south-east London, and it will become more easily accessible once the Docklands Light Railway comes to Woolwich, but these economic benefits need to be weighed very carefully against any environmental dis-benefits. I would certainly be opposed to night flights and any increase in week-end use by the airport. I believe that there is an environmental case for maximising the use of existing airports before considering the expansion of or building new runways at others. The London Borough of Barking and Dagenham has submitted a formal objection and Bexley are due to do likewise. In these circumstances, if the London Borough of Newham is minded to approve the application, I would consider that the best way to weigh up these issues would be by way of a Public Inquiry where all these issues could be examined. I have, therefore, written to the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, asking her to call in the application for a Public Inquiry.”

John Austin has received a response from Parmjit Dhanda MP, the junior Minister at the Department for Communities and Local Government, confirming that they had already received a request for the application to be called in. Mr Dhanda told Mr Austin they would be obtaining a copy of the committee report and Newham Council’s intended decision in advance of its meeting scheduled for 12 March, when they would be in a position to consider the call-in request.

NATs Opens Up A Can of Worms

NATs figures have really got a lot of people asking questions about flights and how they will affect them. We've already received a lot of emails ourselves from concerned residents who have looked at the proposals. Most of these are from residents who haven't had to worry about aircraft noise too much before - but clearly this will all change for many if the draft routes are confirmed. We've made our opinion quite clear on these draft proposals - and we will support those who believe they will be affected by the proposed LCA flight paths in our campaign against flight expansion.

In fact we are beginning to think that this latest attempt by the government (albeit it through NATs - we assume NATs were asked to come up with these proposals and didn't just decide to do it for fun) to soften the blow on some of the worst affected communities is already rebounding on them! No surprise there then.

LB Newham and LCA fear legal challenge

Yes, you read correctly. We are getting plenty of feedback that the Consultation Fiasco has come back to haunt LB Newham, thanks to FTF. Currently we are making them all work rather hard, when they thought that this process was just a formality that they had to carry out and wouldn't bother with the unnecessary task of asking too many people how they feel about 120,000 jets overhead.

It's no surprise to us they should fear a legal challenge, after all can they prove they have consulted ALL residents affected by this major application to increase flights? We at FTF think not.

If only LB Newham had taken a look at Google Maps - or perhaps even the 13km safeguarding area it might give them an idea of how far they should have consulted. Of course when you are a council like Newham which is so disorganised that it doesn't even have the flight track records to see which areas are most affected by flights - then you can see why they only bothered to consult 1/2 kilometer initially.

You can just imagine the alleged discussion between friends over lunch that day..."lets keep the costs down, keep it a quiet affair and we'll get this application through nice and quietly, just like the one in January 2007, haw, haw".

Ahh those were the good old days eh??

We do believe we hear the faint echo of a public enquiry being called for.............

FTF Media Contact

FTF was interviewed yesterday by Phillip Crowther, the interview is stored on Yahoo groups which requires you to have a yahoo account to access it. The interview also features our colleague John Stewart from HACAN.

FTF also commented on the NATs draft regarding new flight paths around airports on LBC yesterday afternoon.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Coming Soon: London City Airport Shirks Off Noise Management

What noise? What measurement? Sorry the batteries failed.

Greenwich Council and Sleeping Tortoises

Ever heard of a councillor, who was also deputy leader of the council, and the Greenwich Council representative on the London City Airport Consultative Committee (LCACC), not turn up to a LCACC meeting for FOUR YEARS?? (We should add here that Cllr Brooks decided to hand over the seat - he'd hardly been keeping it warm had he - to Cllr Denise Hyland in January 2008 - but guess what...she was ill and so did not attend. Once again a noticeable absence of represtentation from Greenwich Council).

Well you have now: Cllr Peter Brooks managed to do just that - and what do you know...he is actually an elected councillor for the area MOST affected by LCA flights in Greenwich - The Thamesmead Moorings! We're thinking that he went into hibernation - but even tortoises only hibernate for winter. In fact it was down to Cllr Brooks non-attendance that not one resident in Thamesmead Moorings was aware of the airport application until FTF formed and started asking questions. In fact not only did Cllr Brooks fail to represent his constituents - the other two elected Councillors: Smith and Kotz, have also failed to make any statements at all.

What have the residents in Thamesmead Moorings done to deserve such uncommitted and ineffective councillors? We hope that residents show them exactly what they think of them at the next election simply on the basis of their faliure to represent them on major planning issues and their contribution to the erosion of the democratic process for ALL Thamesmead Moorings residents.

London City Airport 'Ban' Staff From Blog

Fortunately for the free thinking amongst them - they are still here, getting a bit of pleasure from reading our blog. We feel for you. Keep the spirit!

Our response to National Air Traffic Systems Press Release

You may have heard the headlines today from the National Air Traffic Systems today saying that their 'new' flight paths will see a reduction of 20% less flights in the sky in some areas.

This estimated 20% reduction will of course be at the expense of other residents, in other quiet, rural areas across the UK. Fight The Flights does not agree to yet more areas being blighted by aircraft noise. There is not a reduction in noise at all - they are simply moving the noise to other areas.

NATS announcement is nothing more than an admission that they are happy to disperse the problem to a wider area - and hence reduce the quality of more residents lives - when the real issue should be of how to reduce flight noise and disturbance to ALL communities. The Government can do this by halting all expansion and managing the aviation industry and the noise and pollution they create. It also helps if you have a decent council.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

So how many won't notice the noise levels going up Mr Gooding?

This table shows LCA estimated (murky) figures that currently there are 7,250 residents in the 57 and 63db estimated noise contours. If expansion is approved the noise contours will cover 34,100 residents!!

These are LCA's, presented by RPS (who strangely have tried to get into this blog in publish mode just this morning - it's on the visitor log!) own murky estimates in the planning application, which we feel will be grossly inaccurate as their recording of noise levels has been so unreliable up to now.

We just need to remind residents that 57db is LAeq, that means it is based on an average of the noise taken over 16 hours.

At LCA this will include the flight free time overnight and at weekends. So 57db LAeq is invalid as far as the actual noise that residents hear. So all those jets flying over at 90 second intervals of up to 85db will be likely to be manipulated into the 57db LAeq contour.

Yes, that is what they do to try and convince you all that the 'noise' is not noisy at all!!

But look at that jump for the amount of residents in the 57db contour - currently estimated at 7,100 residents but which will go up to 26,200 residents by 2010 if they get their way.

The 69db contour notes that no residents will be in that level - well that is not what the application says at all! The Ramada was named as being in that contour, amongst many other residential areas recently/being built.

Perhaps Mr Gooding will realise that referring to residents who will have the misfortune to live in the contours as 'John' was not such a wise PR move. What was it now ' we won't just say tough luck John'. Unfortunately we think that is exactly what LCA are saying.

End of Consultation Rally

London City Airport Campaigners - please don't forget the effect that any expansion at Heathrow will have on you in East and South East London, but also to support the rest of those affected by the madness of aviation expansion, please show your objection by attending:

Stop Heathrow Expansion

End-of-Consultation Rally
Central Hall, Westminster
corner of Tothill St and Storey’s Gate (Westminster and St James’s Park tube stations)

25th February 2008, 7pm
The rally to come to! It is a great chance to show the breadth of opposition there is to the expansion proposals. Bring yourself! No charge! Bring your friends!

Be part of the thousands of voices saying ‘No’!

A wide range of speakers! Live Music! Campaign videos!

We have now arranged for a Lobby of Parliament for the same day – click here
Stop Press: Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, will speak at the Rally

Speakers already confirmed include:
Mark Lynas, climate change specialist and author of three books on the subject
Peter Ainsworth MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment
Caroline Lucas MEP, Principal Speaker for the Green Party
John McDonnell MP, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington
Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat candidate for London Mayor
Councillor Barbara Reid, Hounslow Council cabinet member, representing the 2M group of local authorities
Leo Murray, Plane Stupid
Geraldine Nicholson, Chair No Third Runway Action Group
John Stewart, Chair HACAN

Chair of the event: Baroness Jenny Tonge

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Just how much time do LCA spend on this blog site?


Select a,b,c or d from the following questions.

1. How long do you think London City Airport Community Relations Staff spend on this web blog each day? (You'd be surprised!)

a. Less than 1 hour,

b. 1 -2 hours,

c. 2 -4 hours,

d. More than 4 hours.

2. Do you think this shows that they:

a. Don't have anything better to do,

b. Are finally finding out the truth and facts for the first time and are benefitting from our super sharp knowledge,

c. Wish that they were as good as we are at good, honest, community relations. (we hire out at the annual revenue income of SITA just in case their interested),

d. Realise what a mess they have made and that it's been uncovered.

All answers to:

The Spinner College
Pinnochio Way
Loadsamoneytobemade- In-The-Docks

Ok, we're finished on this one for now....don't blame the bunny.

Coming Soon: The 1990 Public Enquiry Conditions and Agreement

We're busy here at FTF finally reading through the public enquiry documents which we just hadn't got around to before due to trying to plough through thousands of pages of the current application documents.

We'll be getting back to you with a friendly summary of the last public enquiry in the next few days, in the meantime if you want to take a look at it for yourselves you can here.

We have to say that any claims from LCA of having only good relations with the community are now completely out of the window - the strength of opposition to the airport has always been strong. The opposition were right to fear the worst from the airports birth too - despite all the promises and the excellent 1983 public enquiry which laid out very strong conditions for airport operations - it seems that LB Newham have let us all down very badly.

How the residents of Newham and beyond have been cheated and deceived in the years since the 1983 Public Enquiry

Here's a few exerpts from the 1983 Stolport Public Enquiry. So far it looks like Newham and LCA's application pretty much ignores most of the conditions here - particularly flight movements and plane types. What is even more worrying is it refers to the LCACC as being this go between that the community could feel represented by - well that certainly hasn't happened - LCACC weren't even notified themselves when the current application went in all stinks to high heaven.


We were asked by LCACC today why we stated that "LCACC weren't even notified themselves when the current application went in". We have since provided LCACC with a copy of an email from themselves to Newham Council Planning's Head regarding: "the failure of Newham Council to formally consult the Consultative Committee about a planning application submitted by London City Airport" in 2006 and also again "failing to notify LCACC" regarding the latest application by LCA in 2007.

We never make statements without evidence.


23.62. However, my judgement in this matter is based on the proposal as presented at the inquiry and the type and level of operation put forward by the applicants. If there should be any significant increase in aircraft activity or noise impact beyond the maximum levels stated at the inquiry my conclusions could well be different. Because of this, I place particular importance on the safeguards embodied in the Section 52 agreement and the planning conditions which should be attached to any outline planning permission granted.

Section 52 Agreement

23.63. The applicants, the LDDC and the PLA have signed a Section 52 agreement which provides a reasonable degree of protection to the local community against most of the unpleasant side effects which an airport development can cause. However, I do share some of the qualms of the objectors with regard to certain aspects of the Agreement.

23.64. As a means of controlling the noise impact, I favour a more direct, simple and easily understood method such as that put forward by the GLC and LBN. The applicants whole 'noise' case is based on the use of the airport by relatively quiet DASH-7 aircraft and, in my view, the airport should be restricted to DASH-7s or other STOL aircraft at least as quiet in all modes of operation - landing, taking-off or on the ground. An exception could be made with regard to the Twin Otter on the basis that one DHC-6 movement equals 3.63 DASH-7 movements. The fact that no other UK airport licensed for public use restricts operations to certain types of aircraft must be weighed against the fact that this would be a unique type of airport operating from near to the heart of a city.

23.65. The applicants and LDDC's noise impact assessments to establish the 35 NNI contour were based on 100 DASH-7 movements per day (88 in the NNI day) over a 7 day week, and the annual limit of 36,500 ATMs reflects this. While I accept that the 35 NNI contour as drawn represents an acceptable level of noise impact overall, I do not consider 100 ATMs on Saturdays and Sundays would be tolerable. I agree with the GLC and Newham Borough Council that 40 ATM's per day is the maximum acceptable level of operations at the week-ends. This would result in an average of 580 ATMs in a week, reducing the annual total to 30,160. In order to cater for fluctuations and peak days, the daily maximum should be set at 120 ATMS with 40 ATMs on week-end days. This is more than the applicants' aeronautical witness anticipated as the peak day 'worst case' requirement in year 6. I am not persuaded that a limit on the number of evening flights is needed.

23.66. Summarising my views on noise control, aircraft types should be restricted as described in paragraph 23.64 above and flights should be-limited to the equivalent of 30,160 DASH-7 movements per year, 120 per day from Monday to Friday and 40 per day on Saturdays or Sundays. If aircraft types and ATMs are both controlled as suggested, there would be no need for continuous noise monitoring around the airport, Any airline could apply to have its aircraft certificated to land at the STOLport and any future STOL aircraft would be eligible subject to their compliance with the noise criteria. In view of this, the safeguard can hardly be regarded as unduly restrictive. Any infringements would be immediately apparent to both the airport operator and any one else.

23.67. If these controls are legally acceptable as planning conditions, they should be attached to the planning permission granted. If not, planning permission should be withheld until the Section 52 agreement is amended accordingly. Since the Section 52 agreement permits the limitation on the number of ATMs to be altered by agreement of the parties or, failing agreement, by arbitration the additional safeguard provided by a planning condition is desirable. While I agree that some form of penalty clause would be useful to discourage breaches of the agreement, its absence is not a ground for refusal of planning permission.

23.68. My impression is that many local people would feel easier if Newham Borough Council would sign the Section 52 agreement, and in particular if their consent ms required before any changes could be made in the agreement. It is to be hoped that the Consultative Committee will prove to be an effective link between the local people and the airport operators.


23.69. All of the local authorities at the inquiry agreed that certain planning conditions should be attached to any grant of planning permission. I agree with this view and the following comments are made with regard to the LDDC's draft set of conditions (document 43) as a point of common reference:

Condition 1 relates to the submission of reserved matters. While I accept that there is a need to avoid unnecessary delays, I feel that 2 years should be allowed for the submission of details to allow for the resolution of any technical problems or the requirements of the aerodrome licence.

Condition 2 covers the content of reserved matters and all item appear to be necessary and appropriate, however I agree with the applicants that the words 'before any work commences on the site' could cause unnecessary delays and should be deleted. I also agree with the applicants' suggestion that a condition be attached requiring them to seek approval at the detailed planning stage for an overlapping runway to allow clearance of the East London River Crossing, should that be built as a suspension bridge. The Department of Transport objection was withdrawn in the light of this undertaking.

Condition 3 should he amended to limit ‘any runway' designated for aircraft use to a maximum of 762 m in length. This would cater for an overlap runway if one should subsequently be needed.

Condition 4 (requiring noise barriers) is needed to protect surrounding areas. In view of the vital role which the proposed hangar/terminal/acoustic screen would perform in shielding the Drew Road/Camel Road area from ground noise, I agree with Mr R Taylor's suggestion that a planning condition should be added to ensure that structures providing the equivalent noise screening are to be erected in these positions. The wording of draft Condition 4 could be improved by prohibiting aircraft operations until a perimeter fence and other noise barriers have been erected of such a type and in such positions as may be agreed with the local planning authority, or in default of agreement, as shall be determined by the Secretary of State.

Condition 5, limiting the hours of operation, should be amended to between 0630 and 2200 hours except on Sundays when the hours should be 0900 to 2200 hours. In my view 2200 is the latest hour at which any one should be subjected to aircraft noise at night and 0900 is the earliest reasonable time for an airport to make its presence felt on a Sunday. I note the view that the 'emergency' exception could be abused, but I suspect that any attempts to define the type of emergency would be easy to circumvent and hard to enforce.

Condition 6 (restricting ground running of engines) is necessary and appropriate subject to the hours being amended as in Condition 5 above.

Condition 7 (restricting night aircraft maintenance) is necessary, the LDDC wording being preferred, subject to the hours being amended as in Condition 5.

Condition 8 (banning helicopters) is necessary for the reasons raised by both sides during the inquiry with which I agree. My comments on the 'emergency' definition in Condition 5 apply here as well, though in view of the amount of open land in the vicinity on which a helicopter could land in a genuine emergency, it is difficult to see the need for a special provision to allow them to land at the STOLport.

Condition 9 (banning club or recreational flying) and Condition 10 (prohibiting pipes on outer faces of buildings) are needed on environmental and aesthetic grounds respectively.

Condition 11 (roof plant) - I agree with the applicants that this condition duplicates Condition 2d and should be omitted.

Condition 12, restricting the site to airport use, is both necessary and appropriate.

Condition 13 should be amended to prohibit pile driving between 1900 and 0800 hours from Mondays to Saturdays and altogether on Sundays to avoid undue disturbance.

23.70. Although there are obvious advantages in prohibiting the use of Auxiliary Power Units, it seems doubtful whether a condition banning their use would be enforceable, since it would seek to control a third party's method of operation. Also the airport operators are unlikely to maintain any lighting other than for essential security purposes after operations finish each night, so a condition to ensure this seems unnecessary.

23.71. I recommend that outline planning permission be granted subject to the condition referred to above.

I have the honour to be, Sir

Your obedient Servant


50% More jet planes - ahh you won't notice a thing!!

Apparently none of us are going to notice 50% more planes as they "won't get any noisier" - even with an ever increasing amount of Category A (the noisiest) jets coming in. Well that's what Richard Gooding - London City Airport's Chief Executive says - we think that perhaps the jets have actually damaged his hearing for him to make such a foolish statement as that! But then again, we all know not to trust anything that comes out of LCAs spin machine anymore. We've also been fed the spin that Propellor planes are noisier than jets, if you look below you'll see the difference and they are not noisier.

We happened to have a lot of people taking noise measurements on Valentines Day, we thought it would be a good day for all of us to show our love and committment to the FTF cause: here's a few of the astonishing levels measured as the planes thundered over:

14 Feb 2008

Jet Planes
Air France Jet 81.9
BA Jet 80.7
BA Jet 82.8
BA Jet 81.7
BA Jet 84.1
Air France 85.2
BA Jet 82.6
BA Jet 83.2
Swiss Air Jet 82.2

Propellor Planes:
Prop 76.0
Prop 75.1
KLM Prop 77.8

French Cats Don't Get Fat

Of late we have become rather familiar with the name 'SITA' - a company owned by air transport industry members, from whom the SITA Board is comprised. The company has the remit of 'serving the aviation community’s wider interests'.

SITA's own corporate profile states:

SITA is the world's leading service provider of IT business solutions and communication services to the air transport industry. With over 55 years experience. In 2006, SITA had revenues of $1.48 billion.

Not bad on the back of all those tax breaks and free/heavily subsidised security that the aviation industry gets courtesy of tax payers. London City Airport know that well.

SITA have probably been doing an excellent job up until the little issue of climate change, and how pollution kills people came to be a rather more important topic in society. How unfair that must feel, just when you are on a roll too. France putting a halt on all aviation expansion didn't really help the aviation industry much either. Fittingly there's even a book called 'French Cats Don't Get Fat' which seems rather ironic.

So we thought a little bit of wisdom was the order of the day as part of FTF's "serving the residents wider interests" own remit - (though you won't find $1.48billion mentioned in ours!) our message is:

The fat cats are fit to burst. We know you just can't stop that insatiable drive to build the gold coins up higher and higher, and the joy of that growing bonus just sparkles and fills your heart with the warmth that you have all but lost for the community, their health and well being. But there is help out there, for you all, with this deadly addiction.

It's time for LCA and the aviation industry to start focussing on quality rather than quantity. Of course killing the PR spin and telling the truth might regain it some credibility too.

Toodle pip.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Incidents at London City Airport - What they don't want you to know.

Factor F08/2003: Accident to Avro RJ85, D-AVRO, North of London City Airport on 15 October 2001Factor F08/2003: APPARENT CONTROL RESTRICTION AFTER TAKEOFF -

Air Proximity Reports:

An Aircraft Proximity (Airprox) report has been filed involving a Regional Jet 100 and a light civil aircraft. The incident took place six miles south west of London City Airport on 7 October 2007 at 1342 hours.The RJ100 was en-route to London City Airport and was receiving an air traffic service from the London Terminal Control Centre. The incident took place at approximately 2,000 feet.

An Aircraft Proximity (Airprox) report has been filed involving a Embraer 135 and a light aircraft. The incident took place seven miles south east of London City Airport on 2 April 2007 at 1842 hours. The E135 was en-route to London City Airport and was recieving an air traffic service from the London Terminal Control Centre. The incident took place at approximately 3,000 feet.

It all makes you question whether LCA is up to managing more flights than it already has? We think not.

No to Airport Expansion and No to More Planes, Says Mayor of London

The Mayor stands up for the environment and the people of London and the South East - what is your Council, MP and Councillor doing for YOU in your area??
In a press release on the Mayor of London website:

"The Mayor said there is no case to be made for expanding Heathrow or any other airport in London or the South East and new runways and more planes would cause more carbon emissions, increasing the threat of catastrophic climate change."

See full article here

After 20 years LCA promise you MORE prosperity? Did we miss something?

Well, well - LCA are still up to their old tricks of not telling the whole truth about their bid to get 120,000 flights out of LCA each year. It's difficult for them to have good PR when they just don't have any evidence to actually back up their claims. We can tear most of their claims apart in a matter of hours.

In The Docklands paper LCA have said "there will be no extra runway or extension of the current flight times". No extra runway - that IS accurate. But extra aprons come in the future (check out the masterplan), and there IS an extension of current flight times in the application: they are sneakily trying to change the flight free time over the weekend from 24 to 23 hours.

They also say:"the change will bring more prosperity and jobs to the area". Hmmm.... London City Airport is 20 years old this year and we've not seen too much of this 'prosperity' so far - the LB of Newham is ranked as the third most socially deprived in the COUNTRY. If they've not managed to pour this 'prosperity' into Newham in 20 years of operating, it isn't going to change now! So that's another of their claims dead and buried.

What about their statement that "
38 per cent of the workforce already live in Newham". LCA claims to employ 1,600 workers (that includes part time posts). So just 38% of workers come from Newham which has a population of 248,400. After 20 years we think that is an appalling figure. Clearly there are not enough car owning, job hunters in Newham for LCA.

LCA have not paid a penny towards any transport infrastructure in East London, and do not intend to. Don't forget that little matter of £7million a year we all pay for their security costs. London taxpayers have paid for ALL infrastructure improvements in Newham and the surrounding boroughs NOT LCA. LCA have been too busy lining their own nests, and dishing out SPIN.

Docklands and Newham's future is NOT based on LCA - but LCA's future IS based on London taxpayers and LCA is just waiting to reel in more of YOUR hard earned taxes.

More prosperity to Newham? It's as likely as pigs might fly, or LCA getting out all their planes on a foggy morning like today's.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Want a Job at LCA? Get a Car!

We couldn't help but notice a few things about employment at LCA:

First of all in the Sun on Saturday - the security shambles expose - we noticed that there was reference by the report to a lot of
the workers not being local. So that puts paid to the 'local worker (5 mile) scenario then'!

Then we noticed the current vacancies from LCA being advertised through Reed Employment online job search site yesterday.

They clearly require all candidates to have "access to a car" and drive it to and from work - so a complete lack of committment from LCA to deter employees from bringing their car to work then.
Strangely enough the sentences about having to have a car to work at London City Airport have all been removed today - you'll have to take our word for this or pose as an interested worker to Reed and get confirmation that way .

Look's like somebody saw our brief 5sec. posting yesterday before we removed it and reposted now. We wondered why Reed had been on our Blog site at the crack of dawn today.

LCA's committment to reducing emissions even falls down on their requirement of staff to use cars! Of course if they were a really caring employer they would provide minibus transport - which would cut down the number of cars on the roads and make sure that staff get home safely at the end of their shifts. Some of us used to work at airports and this service was standard provision. But just to be fair on LCA we're going to look at what other airports provide for their staff by way of transport.

They also stipulate that the candidate must live within 30 minutes of the airport - 30 minutes in the night could get you out to Nine Elms from East London. So we reckon that is about 12 miles.

Clearly, only those with a car need apply for jobs at LCA. Any of you who can't currently afford to run a car are sadly excluded from their employment opportunities.

"A Sky Full of Noise" Flights over South/South East London Could Increase more than threefold to 17,000 a month

The words of John Stewart, Chairman of HACAN in the Evening Standard last week.

And where was he referring to this 'sky full of noise' being? None other than South and South East London. East London will also experience this.

If Heathrow expansion goes ahead you will see an extra 1000 Heathrow flights MONTHLY over this part of London that takes it up to about 1,600 MONTHLY.

Add London City Airport's contribution to this 'sky of noise' and we've worked out that if they get their 176,000 a year - this would amount to just under 15,000 flights in and out a month.

This adds up to nearly 17,000 flights flying over South and South East London. This is more than triple the amount that currently fly over. We are not even including the Stanstead and Luton flights in those figures.

While we are on the topic of noise and sleeping: the results from this sleep study into the effects of noise, released today,seem even more relevant:

Extract taken from the online article:

One resident who lives near Heathrow, Margaret Thorburn, told the BBC how noise due to the airport affected her.

There was "no point" trying to sleep before 11pm, she said.

"And that's standard because background noise has died down and any aircraft that goes over when everything else is quiet you notice an awful lot more and it's disturbing in a particular way," she said.

"If it's in the summer when the windows are open then you're going to wake up... and what's more you don't go back to sleep because you're waiting for the next one to come over."

If you live near or under the flight path to LCA you will know that trying to sleep before 10.30pm until LCA stops jets thundering over is hopeless. If you are a shift worker or are ill then we sympathise with you - the incessant roar at 90 second intervals on the busiest days gives you no peace at all. The prospect of having 176,000 flights a year from the current 76,000 and the reality of that is what makes people object.

It's about time that the councillors and MPs who have stayed so quiet realised this and spoke out.

And they want 176,000 flights per year?

This video was taken on January 17th of a Swiss Air jet getting into difficulty on landing at LCA.

The safety of flying in 176,000 jets annually onto this stolport runway is questionable. Cross winds, fog and an incredibly exposed landscape which coupled with a short runway, 5.5 take off due to high buildings are a clear recipe for disaster.

You can see some comments about this incident on the PPRuNe Forums.

We must say that we really feel for those passengers who were on that jet - that must have been a terrifying experience.

We know that London City Airport's real plan in the future is to get rid of a load of the short haul flights and concentrate on the Category A jets flying transatlantic routes with BA et all and their Boeing A318s. After all, Richard Gooding is on the record saying he's got to make lots of money for Credit Suisse, AIG and GE and he intends to compete with Heathrow and Gatwick. How cosy.

If LCA could get a 737 in they would try...and with the current lack of noise management being applied by LB Newham and the airport - we are sure they could pull some murky, inaccurate figures out from the past which might allow it, in those 'strict noise management conditions' they keep mentioning but few of us ever see applied!!

Are These The Dreams Of London City Airport And BA

We ask ourselves if these are the dreams and aspirations of LCA & BA?

See the attached the link to a CGI generated test flight of a Boeing 737-800 from London City Airport.

As things stand they are pushing for an Airbus A318 to fly from LCA and are delighted to tell the worlds press that this will happen, even though they do not have approval yet and are still completing test flights.

Where do you think they'll stop? Greed pushes big business to do whatever they want without any consideration for the local community or even the planet.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And The Homeless Issue Spreads

London City Airport are not content to make residents continue to live in unfit housing, or remain homeless by recommending Newham et al to not build thousands of homes.....but they are now also flexing their aggressive muscles into Sandmartin territory.

LCA can have a say on a lot of activities and development within a 13 km radius of the airport - as a Newham official stated "they are controlling the environment". That is a thought to take with you.

We were alerted to LCA's murky interference into our environment just a week ago. On the site of Pura Foods Ltd, Orchard Place, Leamouth North Peninsula an application was submitted (PA/06/00748/LBTH) by Clearstorm to the London Thames Gateway Development Corporation to carry out demolition and build a residential, business area with school etc. Landscaping along the river walkway is planned as were nests for the sandmartins.

Sand martins are the smallest European hirundines (martins and swallows), with dark brown upper parts and dark under wings contrasting with otherwise pale under parts divided by a distinctive dark chest bar. Agile fliers, feeding mainly over water, they will perch on overhead wires or branches. They are gregarious in the breeding season and winter. Over the past 50 years the European population has crashed on two occasions as a result of drought in the birds' African wintering grounds.

But the sandmartins will be finding themselves short of homes thanks to London City Airport and they really do have the odds stacked against them with neighbours like them. LCA have stomped their feet, thrown the toys out of their prams and demanded that only 11 boxes be made available for sandmartins, and forget about seeing any herons - because LCA have also told LTGDC they don't want any heron polls for the birds to perch on.

For what reason?? The Civil Aviation Authority has guidelines on bird management and safety around airports in the 13km radius. Some birds, such as gulls and waders are deemed as 'high strike' risk to planes - but Sandmartins are not and this aggressive interpretation of the CAA guidance has angered organisations and residents. No doubt this will mean a much closer eye will be kept on their activities from now on.

LCA certainly know how to assist us in building the objectors lists!