Tuesday, February 12, 2008

London City Airport - Escalates Homelessness and Ilness

From our correspondant:

FTF have been doing such great work that I decided to get involved and look into how accurate the claims made by LCA are about their contribution to regeneration in the Royal Docks. I thought I'd look at the evidence on the impact that LCA has had on housing and health:

I'm keen on housing, probably
because I quite like a roof over my head, and a clean, dry home, like most ordinary people. But in Newham there is a huge problem with housing: there's not enough of it, and much of it is of poor quality. Take the following facts:

In April 2005 - Newham had 11.6% of dwellings which were unfit to live in. Compared to the London figure of 4.4% this indicates a big problem in the borough.

Between April 2005 and March 2006 there were over 29,000 households on the Newham waiting list for housing. Noticeably it also has huge shortages of properties in the E,F,G and H council tax bands which would imply in part that there is an overwhelming shortage of homes with more than 2-3 bedrooms. There were also almost 1,300 homeless households in the same period.

You may be wondering why I am listing these figures: it is simply because London City Airport, has recommended in it's planning application, that thousands of planned Thames Gateway homes not be built. This is because the noise level will exceed safe levels and many will be in PSZ. It is estimated that 11,000 properties being/due to be built are affected. LCA highlighted around 6,000 of those properties not to be built. I haven't seen any publicity about this loss of housing which would be required to fly more planes, and I suspect you haven't either.

Quite frankly, LB Newham would be making it's housing shortage worse by allowing LCA expansion - as the expansion would also dictate future use of land and make it worthless for house building. I think if residents knew this they would be up in arms, especially those that are living in cramped, damp homes which are unfit to live in.

So that is what London City Airport gives you in their claimed 'regeneration', the residents in Newham and neighbouring boroughs - a further shortage in housing, and so extending your misery of living in substandard housing. The LDA know this, and are objecting on that basis.

And any examination of housing has to also look at how good the health is of residents as the quality of housing directly affects residents health:

The highest proportion in Newham reporting a limiting long term illness was in the Canning Town Community Forum area. This is just a short distance from the airport.

But more shocking still, and one that should be at the foremost of residents, enviromental health officers, planning and councillors are the astonishing high rates of respiratory diseases in Newham.

  • Death rates from asthma, .......... are higher in Newham than in London or England.
  • Asthma causes more deaths amongst young people in Newham than those in London or England.
There is a growing body of evidence that asthma is connected to pollution

A report on the low emission zone recently introduced in London - and one that should include aviation pollution.

Asthma UK state that "The capital has the worst air pollution in the UK and among the worst in Europe". No coincidence that Newham also has the highest incidents of and mortality from asthma. Anyone who is lucky enough to have a panoramic view of the City from their neighbourhood would have noticed the thick smog that is now a regular feature as soon as the weather is fine. If this smog was ever a visual warning that we do not need aviation expansion, at any airport then I don't know what is.

But I care about people, my community and I want to see residents live in better homes that are of a liveable standard, their air, and their health improve, not continue to get worse. Clearly the aviation world/London City Airport and some elected officials are only thinking about profits, they are not ignorant of what their businesses are doing to your community - they KNOW what they are doing - but money rules. It is only a matter of time before they are forced to face up to the reality - that they have to put residents first before profits (and there is a cost saving in that for councils ).

So there is the second contribution to 'regeneration' that LCA give your community - illness and death.

It is all about balance - and aviation growth needs to be controlled - because whatever the aviation industry tells you (and it is great at telling a lot of lies) business and the City will not die if expansion does not go ahead. But people will, from asthma and cancers.