Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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 ....it 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