Friday, March 28, 2008

Are LCA Dicing With The Communities Safety?

Residents have been reporting into us this morning of the appalling weather conditions and alarming attempts of flights to land and take off.

With strong cross winds around London City Airport's runway - 4 flights were forced to abort landing in just 30 minutes of observation. Planes were visibly struggling at some height before approaching the runway with the cross winds.

Some were just feet above the runway and were felt to be at risk of over running the runway by observers - before the aircraft had to abort the landing and struggle to gain height over the A117 Woolwich Manor Way, with landing gear still visible.

Observers felt that they were about to witness an incident on more than one occasion and questioned 'why were LCA still allowing flights to take off and land in such conditions, wouldn't it have been better to have re-routed them to another airport if landing was proving so difficult'? 'Who takes that decision to allow flights to continue to land and take off in such dangerous conditions - and who are they accountable to'? the resident asked us. We suspect there may have been some very startled drivers on that road this morning, as well as startled air passengers.

It reminds us that there are a lot of people in the close vicinity of LCA and the public safety zone, and they were alarmed and scared by these sights. It brings home the reality of the dangers to the community of the airports close proximity to such high density residential areas, and busy roads and the difficult weather conditions that are experienced in the area. The strong winds are even stated in planning documents for housing and developers are often required to plant trees to help create some protection from wind in the exposed areas of East and South East London's former marshlands. LCA's location is clearly not a suitable place to expand flights at all and with 50% more flights (100% more flights in their dreams) - especially on days like today, the risk is too high to the safety of the surrounding communities.

Coming Soon: Videos of this mornings aborted and alarming landings.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Aviation Environment Federation - Resources for Campaigners

Worried about an airport expansion? Wondering how to influence a planning decision? AEF has published an online handbook, Airports and Planning, which guides readers through all stages of the planning process and how to get involved.

The handbook - designed to give general readers an accessible overview of the environmental impacts of airports, as well as offering practical advice for campaigners - covers where to get information, how to respond to planning applications and public inquiries, and what you can do to influence national policy. Offering a complete revision of AEF's 1995 publication Aviation, the environment and planning law, the new guide outlines the latest developments in legislation and provides up-to-date information about environmental impacts.

Chapters can be downloaded for free from the planning section of their website.

How's Life Around London City Airport - A Bowl of Cherries?

We're sorry to say that life for the communities around the airport is far from a bowl of cherries.

University College London have created the London Profiler, a mapping tool which when you search a borough or postcode and select to search for illness levels, deprivation, income levels, barriers to housing etc it highlights areas to the level of deprivation they suffer.

On our first view of this splendid tool of the areas around London City Airport we have noticed that the following categories all fall into the 1st, 2nd or 3rd, 4th most deprived categories in and around London City Airport:
  • exceptionally high levels of admission to hospital for heart attacks, for male and females in the areas adjacent to the airport and directly under the east bound flight path,
  • income
  • employment
  • crime
  • health, deprivation and disability
  • barriers to housing and services
  • living environment
It's always helpful to see a map of the economic and social, health pointers to dispel the spin that London City Airport feed to residents that they have done so much for the area in 20 years.

To us here at Fight the Flights it doesn't look as if they could have done any less, or have had a more negative impact for the communities that are around them! So who is benefitting from the airports presence....? That's an easy one....

All answers to the usual address at Pinnochio Way please!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

London City Airports Annual Bill To London Taxpayers

We raised the issue a time ago, (something that London City Airport neglect to address in their spin to residents), of the £7million annual cost for LCA airport security, that you the London taxpayer, pay to save their shareholders money and make them more profit.

An agreement was supposed to have been settled by November of 2007 with regard to these costs: the Metropolitan Police quite rightly should not be picking up the cost and paying with our taxes - most of us would prefer to see that £7million put to good use by the Police in helping them to do their job in communities - not in commercial financial concerns. And it's clear that the Met want to see LCA pay their own bill - and we are right behind them on that.

So what's happened since with these discussions? Well not much it seems - LCA are dragging their heels - putting up a good fight so that their shareholders don't pay a penny towards the security costs.

In an article in Airport International at the end of last summer they highlighted how it is London taxpayers who are paying for London City Airport security and Richard Barnes of the MPA stated:

There appears to be no common approach to the extent to which operators contribute to policing costs and too many different interpretations of requirements under current legislation. Police have to provide a service to protect all those who use our airports, and it is unfair to expect them to pay for policing private, moneymaking businesses.”

He concluded:“At the end of the day, it is the taxpayer who pays, while shareholders earn dividends. This can be tolerated no longer.”

Apparently it will ultimately land on the desk of Ruth Kelly if it is not resolved - and we just can't wait to see what decision she makes on whether we should all continue to go to work, or receive pensions and pay taxes on them just to fund the likes of LCA, Credit Suisse, GE and AIG.

And what was London City Airport saying about what they give to the community?!! We'll hazard a guess that it's not anywhere near £7million's worth each year!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

LCA, Cloud Cuckoo Land and Southend Airport

We found ourselves rather amused at London City Airport's latest statement of spin - but first here's the context:

This time, unfortunately, we are very sad to report that London City Airport and their greedy shareholders: AIG, Credit Suisse and GE want to spread the misery they already inflict on South East and East London on....Southend Airport, Essex. Yes, those caring and sharing shareholders who like to bury the negatives of the effect of aviation expansion in mistruths and spin of the most epic proportions through their employees at London City Airport may be on their way to Sunny Southend. Reportedly having put in a bid for £100 million for Southend airport they are now waiting to see if they are successful or not.

But what amused us was the statement from Richard Gooding, Chief Exec of LCA, who we find is becoming almost an expert on making statements which are inaccurate and misleading.......gaffs are a plenty for the price Credit Suisse, GE and AIG are paying him...

He stated to the Independent:

"There is a shortage of airports in the South-east, and Southend therefore presents an opportunity."

There is a shortage of airports in the South-east??? Nooooo.... he's wrong on that one, but we're used to him being wrong. What he clearly meant to say was: there is a shortage of airspace for all his big plans to pollute communities in South East and East London...and now Essex...or perhaps he didn't realise? There's just 'no more room at the Inn' - hence why the government are asking NATS to squeeze a camel through the eye of a needle with their proposed flight path changes.

Here's a list of airports in the South East:

Kent International
Biggin Hill
London City Airport
Brighton City

Doesn't look anything like a 'shortage' to us!! Still LCA do have a problem with the correct definitions of words.....

But even better their 'spin doctor spokeswoman' then went on to claim in The Wharf:

We have the expertise in the Thames Gateway region and when you take that into account it becomes an even more interesting proposition".

Expertise in the Thames Gateway? What exactly is that expertise we are wondering? After 20 years LCA has not bought any significant prosperity to the area and it's residents - Newham is still the 3rd most socially deprived borough in the country.

LCA have however ruined the quality of lives of 1000s of residents who cannot have their windows open, spend time outside, or expect their children to do well at school..... and they wish to extend that to over 45,000 with expansion with deafening noise levels and other pollution. They also suggest that 6000 much needed new Thames Gateway homes should not be built to allow for their greedy expansion. That doesn't even take into account the 1000s of Thames Gateway homes that have already been built in the area which will be pure hell to live in and de-valued by any expansion of jets and the never ending 80-90db noise levels every 90 seconds.

LCA have failed miserably in their 'consultation' with all those affected by expansion, they consistently give out inconsistent and inaccurate information regarding the current application, consistently 'lose' complaints and show a complete lack of respect and knowledge of, and for, the communities affected by flight expansion.

So where exactly is the expertise in that? To round that off with the regular, amusing gaffs they make - we don't see much 'expertise' showing at all. Even if you are going to spin you need to be good at it - and clearly it's just not working out too well at all in Pinnochio Towers.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Call For A Public Inquiry - You can make a difference.

After the utter failure of the London Borough of Newham of consulting ALL residents affected by the expansion application by London City Airport to expand flights to 120,000 this year (and to 176,000 in the future on a further, separate application in the future):


Already, calls for an inquiry have been received by the Government Office for London, one such from ourselves here at Fight the Flights, a local MP and other residents.

You too can call for a public inquiry into London City Airports application to expand flights, simply by writing to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears.

A public inquiry will benefit ALL residents affected, across the boroughs as currently few residents have been consulted fully and fairly, if at all. The huge majority of residents who will be detrimentally affected by LCA expansion have not even been made aware of the application.

A public inquiry will look at the full implications of expansion, health, welfare, environmental and economic - it is likely to look into the concerns of ALL objectors and make recommendations at the end of an inquiry. But most importantly a public inquiry will make sure that the communities affected are consulted and are made aware of the implications and will enable residents to form their opinion to the expansion based on the facts, not the misleading spin that London City Airport consistently pour out. There will be no room for London City Airport to promote themselves via sponsorships of council adverts or of giving freebies to local community groups rather than presenting the real, honest facts to them.

If you would like to receive a pro-forma letter to send to Hazel Blears - please email

Send your requests to call for a public inquiry of LCA's application to expand to:

Hazel Blears

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Planning and Housing Division
9th Floor
Riverwalk House
157-161 Millbank
London, SW1P 4RR

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Know the Expansion Plans of LCA

We've been alerted to the fact that many residents who read this blog are not aware of London City Airports Masterplan nor that the current application is just the start of LCAs dream to ruin our communities with noise and other pollution. We'd recommend you read through this if you get time - LCA and their shareholders obviously got through a lot of crayons dreaming this one up.

The current application to increase flights to 120,000 per year is stage one of their big plan - this is not as many believe the end of expansion. If they get approval for the 120,000 flights they will then be submitting another application to allow a whopping 176,000 flights per year.

Happy about that? We're not.

Richard Gooding et al's Big Gaffs

1."there won't be any increase in noise - the planes aren't getting noisier" (Richard Gooding's statement).

London City have just recently admitted that there WILL BE AN INCREASE IN NOISE- the individual planes might not be noisier (apart from their planned Boeing transatlantic service - which will) but THERE WILL be MORE NOISIER Category A jet PLANES than ever flying overhead - about 120,000 of them! 50% more planes - 50% more noise!

2. "we won't say tough luck, just get on with it 'John' " (meaning the community in Richard Goodings terminology!) "we'll help with noise insulation" .

They'll only help with noise insulation if your property wasn't given planning approval after 1990 and you live in the 57dblaeq noise contour. You MIGHT be entitled to mechanized ventilation in the 57dblaeq contour.

3. "some residents wouldn't even be happy with 'silent' aircraft flying over them"

Hmmm...surely Richard Gooding is not suggesting that objectors to the expansion are anti - aviationists? Silly man -our advice to him is to know your objectors!

4. "the jobs will more than make up for any environmental impact"

We're not sure that 46,000 residents who won't be able to have their windows open will agree with you at all, nor all those residents who have asthma and care about the environment.

We definately get our value for money when Richard Gooding is interviewed.

And the great gaffs by LCA's public relations team, RPS and others - the 'experts' of spin?:

1. the effect to local traffic will be minimal (upon expansion)
Oh let's live in a business dreamland that doesn't want to fork out any money towards transport infrastructure.

2. the effect to air pollution will be minimal
Now that is simply delusional - perhaps LCA can define THEIR definition of 'minimal' as we suspect it is different to the one in the Oxford English Dictionary.

3. air pollution levels - in those areas around the airport where it was high - this was due to prevailing winds which blew pollution in to the area.

RPS spin on the 'bad to make it good' - how ingenious they are for blaming the wind direction!!

4. asthma will not get worse with more pollution from planes - it is the traffic on the road that makes it worse.
And what evidence do LCA have to prove that statement? NONE at all - and so studies which connect aviation emissions to asthma supercede their unsubstantiated claims.

5. "the expansion will not affect the wildlife"
LCA claim that the Wildlife Trusts 1 day wildlife count within the perimeter fence of the airport is adequate to gauge the effect of expansion on wildlife. They did not even take into account the River Thames, nor the many reserves in the 13km safeguarding area. Again, a completely unsubstantiated claim by LCA in an attempt to cover up their flaky submission.

6. "we have carried out an extensive consultation"
Oh dear - once again they need to check their definition of extensive with the dictionary - surely their not using the word 'extensive' to put spin on their utter failiure to engage with all residents affected?

LCA Expansion Threat Creating An Economic Housing Crisis

From our campaign rep with an interest in all things housing and social:

Thames Gateway and LCA
With so many 'Thames Gateway' homes having already been built in the last 3 years in and around the vicinity of London City Airport and it's flight path - you wonder just how the Councils, developers and airport can seriously expect established and new residents to accept flight expansion, up to 176,000 per year, without feeling rather angry and fighting it all the way.

In the boroughs of Greenwich and Newham alone, there have been approximately 5000 new dwellings built within a mile of the runway in the past 3 years, and it's not stopped yet, thousands more are to be built along the Thames Gateway, but some (around 6000) won't be built if expansion goes ahead. It is questionable that any of the properties built within a mile radius of the airport should have ever have been allowed to, particularly those under the flight path. It smacks of greed from the councils and developers. The majority of the homes are built under the Thames Gateway Project and the focus is on 'affordable homes' (though many are not most would call affordable at all - most now require a hefty income to be elgible) and a mixture of tenures in an attempt to address housing shortages in London for all tenures of residents.
But so far, the mantra of The Thames Gateway Unit seems to have failed miserably in the case of residents in and around East and South East London and the house building programme and aims of the TGU are in complete conflict with LCA begging for expansion. The Thames Gateway Unit quotes on it's website:

"We aspire to see Gateway housing leave a low-carbon footprint to help tackle global warming. There will be an emphasis on making sure there are enough affordable homes for those who have difficulty getting onto the housing ladder, or finding decent rented accommodation. There will also be well-designed public places, where communities can come together".

So while TGU aspire to build homes with a low carbon footprint, the London City Airport on the doorstep of East and South East London residents is all too keen to throw any benefits from that out of the window. In the case of well-designed public places where communities can come together - well that's a great idea but trying to 'come together' under roaring jet planes of 80-90db will be...impossible. 46,000 residents, and growing, will be prisoners in their own homes in an attempt to try and block out the incessant jet noise.

Prior to the application to expand by London City Airport (to 120,000 this year and up to 176,000 flights next year) few residents ever considered this would be an issue at the tiny airport in densely built up East London. So long standing residents, and those new residents who bought into the Thames Gateway product, sold so well by the government, councils and developers, appear to have been betrayed by the current situation with London City Airports masterplan and interim applications to expand. So is it just a case of being unlucky for South East and East Londoners? Or is it the case that these areas are viewed as the 'poor relations' of London and nobody really cares about the residents here? East and South East London has always been neglected, and from what we see now we can see a lot of autocratic decision making taking place, that ignores the real needs, and welfare, of the residents.

Fight the Flights has been talking to residents about their experiences and how the current situation is affecting them, and it's not good at all:

Case Studies

Resident 1
New to area, and purchased new flat from developer in East London less than a year ago. They were showed around the new property on a Saturday, when flights stop at 1pm. The property is less than 1/2 mile from the runway and they were not given any indication that the airport was likely to expand. Upon moving in after a few months they noticed an increase in noise from flights in Spring 2007 after Newham had approved more flexibility to the amount of flights that went out on any one day/evening - meaning that some days the resident experiences a flight every 90 seconds for hours upon end. They say if they had been told about the planned flight expansion that they would not have purchased their home and they now feel very let down by LB Newham.

The resident's property has already lost value on the price paid to the developer, they wish to move as they realise that any expansion will make their home uninhabitable due to the noise levels. They also fear that they may have trouble selling their property due to the noise levels from the flights and this will reduce the value further. They will not get any assistance from London City Airport to reduce noise within the home because their property was given planning permission after 1990.

If they sell, it will be at a financial loss, and in the current market may mean that they lose their ability to get back onto the housing ladder again. They are trapped or face huge financial loss.

Resident 2
First time buyers, purchased shared ownership flat in Thames Gateway development in Greenwich. They too were showed around the property on a Saturday, the only day open for viewing. Hailed by John Prescott as a 'beacon example' of Thames Gateway housing of the future. The developments have been plagued by poor planning and management by Greenwich, less than wholesome selling practices by developers, which resulted in mass fraudulant mortgages, and now mass repossessions. Values of the homes have plummetted - some residents have as much as £130,000 negative equity. The homes were sold as opportunities for key workers and average income earners to get on the housing ladder. The residents asked about the airport when viewing their new build home and they were told it was tiny and could not expand, and would not be a problem.

They too have noticed an increase in noise from the flights since spring of 2007 but had not been aware of the planning application to change flight quotas on any one day. Neither were they made aware of any future plans to expand flights and would not have purchased the property if they had been so. They will not be entitled to any 'noise management' from LCA and therefore will be left with 'putting up with the din for hours on end'. Already one person in their household is suffering from ear/hearing problems - it is currently under investigation, but it is felt that the noise from the increased use of jets at LCA (8o+dbs) has damaged the individuals hearing.
They wish to move if expansion goes ahead but have also lost money on the value of their property and selling will mean that they cannot afford to buy another property in the South East of England - this will mean if they cannot afford private renting in London they will be forced to leave this part of the country. They are trapped or face huge financial loss to escape the onslaught of 80-90db noise levels, for longer periods of time, in the future.

Resident 3
Long term social housing tenant in Newham. Born in Newham and lived in the area all their lives and their family for generations before. Works locally and is on a low income. Has seen the promises of the airport being used only for small Dash 7s and very limited flights eroded and the area become dominated by flight noise and kerosene fumes.

They feel that their quality of life has become reduced considerably by the increased activities at the airport and feel it has made them ill. They cannot open their windows due to noise levels (they are already in the upper noise contours) and have mechanized ventilation which was installed by the airport. They have the option to put their name on the housing waiting list to move - but have been told that as there is such a shortage of housing in Newham that they could wait for many years.
They are trapped in 'noise hell' as they described it.
Are your Councillors/MP helping you?
So just how are the Councils and government going to support the residents who have lived in the areas affected by LCA for generations and those that have been conned into buying into the Thames Gateway housing? It seems to us that residents who socially rent or whom have purchased their homes are those that are the most immobile and will not have the choice to move away from the area without much financial and emotional hardship.

So far few councillors have stood up for their residents, and the same can be said for local MPs, bar a few who have seen the same huge negative implications as we have, and have admirably stood up and been counted.

It's about time local councillors and MPs started realising and taking the effort to find out just how badly the expansion will hit a minimum of 46,000 people - in fact we wouldn't like to hazard a guess at how many are actually going to be affected negatively as it will run into hundreds of thousands.

Of course we realise that big business and many in local government don't really care about 46,000+ people's increase in noise, decline in health and economic/financial loss - but it's about time they did.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

LCA - From Unique to Cattle Class expansion?

The very features that business and leisure users like about using LCA are already being affected due to expansion. It's all about quality, not quantity, as we have said before. LCA should take note especially when you have an analyst of 20 years aviation experience telling you the same. We have always questioned LCAs capability to cope with the requested level of expansion of flights - it seems to us that the following adds some muscle to that.

In Bloomberg, Thomas Penny writes: growth is already affecting City Airport's reputation for efficiency:

1. In 2004, when there were 52,762 flights, 82 percent were on time.

2. In the 12-month period through November 2007 there were 76,079 flights, with 65 percent on time, according to data published by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority.

3. In four months last year, Heathrow had a better on-time record.

Mr Wheeldon's comments are well founded - the very reasons that LCA has been successful and has appealed to business and some leisure users is it's difference to the other BAA giants - it is small, quick to check in and to exit. Clearly all those qualities will be compromised IF the business expands and it will just become a clone of other airports cattle class status - they may try and delude themselves that it won't - but we all know that it will.

We'd hazard an experienced opinion that the business and leisure users who currently love the service would soon find themselves being somewhat a little more critical and dissapointed by their 'experience'.

But then LCA's main aim in wanting
to expand is about greed not need......and nothing else at all.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Greenwich Council - Betray Residents...Again

Our campaigners in Greenwich have today received a letter from Greenwich Council Planning advising that they raised no objection against the application by London City Airport to increase flights to 120,000 per year. Unfortunately this is of no surprise to us here at FTF, nor to anyone who is familiar with Greenwich Council.

We are told that this decision has enraged the residents of the areas in Greenwich most affected and we have been advised that formal moves are being taken with regard to pursuing the shoddy way in which Greenwich Planning did not bother to ensure that a full consultation was carried out by Newham, until residents complained formally. This coupled with Greenwich Council's Cllr Brook's, the Court Jester and leader of negligence to attend meetings at the LCACC for FOUR YEARS is nothing but yet another kick in the teeth for his voters. Greenwich has let down the residents in the East of the borough in multiple ways and Brooks et al should not be surprised if this latest decision creates a backlash come voting time.

However residents in Greenwich won't be surprised, Greenwich Council is about on par with Newham with their application of 'democracy' and being 'responsive' to the communities.

Greenwich Council Alone

So south of the river, whilst John Austin, MP for Erith & Thamesmead calls for a public inquiry, as do labour councillors in East Thamesmead ward, raising issues such as noise and air pollution - Greenwich - the Greener Borough - ignore the increasing cancer causing fine particles in the air and CO2 emissions overhead with the potential of increasing levels of illness and hearing loss in the area due to 80-90 dbs overhead....

But the good news is that Greenwich Council are pretty alone in their support of expansion plans at LCA- which is a shame for LCA as Greenwich Council don't really hold much clout, or respect at all in the big picture.

Objectors Grow

Thamesmead Town have objected strongly to LCA expansion. But even more interestingly we hear through the grapevine that Tilfen Land - who owns much of the land in Thamesmead and plans to develop Tripcock Point into a huge residential development (but as some of it will be in the PSZ - City Airport have told them not to build on some of their land - how thoughtful!) have submitted a full objection through their solicitors - oh how that warms our hearts!!

That should ruffle a few feathers amongst the developers - and perhaps the foolish property pushers (who want to guarantee their big buck) at the sales end, yes, you know who you are, who claim that 120,000 flights won't affect the value or desirability of homes!!

Of course, we couldn't possibly suggest why Greenwich Council, are the only neighbouring borough council not to raise an objection - how very, very peculiar! However, we're sure that the leader of Greenwich council, Cllr Roberts, will have a nice cup of tea with his friend Jim, and it will all be hunky dory!

If any Greenwich Residents would like to know who the Councillors were, of which we are told none raised any objections, click here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Liberal Democrats OPPOSE LCA Expansion

Liberal Democrats are 'staunchly' opposing flight expansion at London City Airport on environmental grounds whilst they support, as many of us do, the current level of flights.

Baroness Sarah Ludford, MEP, in response to a local resident campaigner, agreed that the move to expand flights at LCA would "create more noise pollution for local residents, and would additionally be a major contributor to London’s carbon emissions".

Although aviation is still only a small part of Britain’s emissions, its share has more than doubled since 1990 - from 2.5% to 5.8%. If this trend continues, it could be a quarter of total UK emissions in 30 years’ time.

Baroness Ludford goes on to state that one of the ways to reduce this growth is to "limit expansion" and that "the significant reason as to why I and my colleagues oppose an expansion of London City Airport flights is that many of the existing routes served by the airport are additionally served by direct and convenient rail routes, a notably more environmentally friendly alternative".

Fight the Flights welcomes Baroness Ludford's and her colleagues objection to expansion at London City Airport and their support for the health and well being of local residents, and the environment.

London and the South East - Health and lives at risk from increased pollution

Residents in London and the whole of the south east should be aware, and alarmed at the potential impact of yet more nitrous dioxide pollution being released in the air above us by.....the expansion plans of the South East's airports.

The governments own Environment Agency has released a press statement criticising the Heathrow consultation, but also raising awareness of the increased collective pollution from ALL the airports in London and the South East upon expansion of flights:

In a damning conclusion, the agency said the consultation process, which ended last month, had not proved that the scheme would not breach EU directives on nitrous dioxide pollution. "After full consideration of the documents our conclusion is that overall we do not think the evidence presented is sufficiently robust to conclude that the proposed Heathrow development will not infringe the NO2 directive, bearing in mind the uncertainties that need to be addressed.

"This is because the assessment of air quality pays insufficient attention to these uncertainties and to the range of possible future scenarios, like road traffic, meteorological variability, climate change, background air quality and atmospheric quality," the report said.

Even if the third runway met EU guidelines there would still be a potentially severe impact on the health of people in the south-east, the agency concluded.

"It is likely that worsened air quality will result in increased morbidity and mortality impacts ... These air quality impacts will be present irrespective of whether air quality remains within EU guidelines, and are likely to be especially important given the high population density of the SE region."

London City Airports own assessment of the environmental and health impacts would be rather interesting if a public inquiry is sanctioned. In our opinion, London City Airports attitude to pollution in their report, and it's effect on the communities is cavalier and frequently uses the term 'minimal effects' which we feel is grossly inaccurate. Many feel that expansion is tantamount to signing away a reduction in residents years of good health.
When LCA's own pollution measurements, carried out by the '18million Euro men at RPS', did indicate high levels of pollution they were conveniently blamed on the wind direction!! We told you how it can go from bad to good so easily. How very unsurprising!

What is more LCA like to claim that the roads in the borough of Newham (surely they are not blaming their own employees who have to have a car to work at LCA?) are the source of all pollution - despite, from our understanding that the airport has never been part of the air quality measuring scheme that Newham operates.

So we'd love the Environment Agency to focus on LCA in the same way as they have done on BAA but we realise that they do not have the same governance over them. But of course, as LCA are doing the sneaky thing, and going for expansion in increments of two applications (the first is the current one, the next is planned for the summer)...they have by-passed a certain amount of independent scrutiny. How very unsurprising, again!

We, at FTF, want to see independent scrutiny on LCA's spinned up, glossed over application to increase flights - and we know that so many others, across many boroughs also want the same.

They used to say cigarettes didn't kill you....look what happened there. It took just a few determined people to challenge, and change, the same corporate, cavalier attitude.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

London City Airport and More Mis-truths

In January 2008, a campaigner wrote to London City Airport requesting the location of the London City Airport 'Holding Area'. It was a simple straight forward question. This is an area of air space in which aircraft can be held in if they are queuing to land due to delays, bad weather etc.

This was the response sent by Rob Grafton, Environment and Planning Officer of London City Airport on 1st February 2008:

With regards to ‘holding areas’ we can confirm that there are currently no holding areas designed solely for use by London City Airport traffic.

So how interesting it was in a conversation with the Civil Aviation Authority in the last few days that it was confirmed that London City Airport DO indeed have a holding area for their use (we were not informed by the CAA that the holding area was shared with any other non LCA aircraft - so that sneaky little insert by LCA as holding areas 'solely for use by LCA' seems not to apply) called ALKIN.

Alkin is 8 miles South East of London City Airport over Dartford and Swanley. So that more than explains why residents in those areas have been writing to the local papers complaining about increased noise from LCA planes.

You would also have thought that the residents of Dartford and Swanley should have been consulted as they live under the holding area? How unsurprising they were not. Newham failing once again to understand, or want to understand that planes do not just morph out of the sky vertically to land on LCA's runway.

Why is it that London City Airport consistently, and what appears purposely, give out incorrect information or deny to share any information requested at all? That wasn't a very accurate statement was it Rob?

And LCA wonder why so many have a complete loss of confidence or trust in anything they say...................

Fight the Flights Hits BBC Radio London 94.9 Airwaves

FTF were invited to speak on the morning breakfast show presented by Joanne Good and Paul Ross this morning, and have since featured on the regular news bulletins since. The focus was; Fight the Flights, London City Airports application to increase flights to 120,000, the lack of consultation, the impact of pollution upon residents across the boroughs, and how LB Newham have cancelled the hearing of the application, originally planned for tomorrow, and that no further date has yet been issued.

Campaign organiser Neil Pearce described the experiences of residents living in the residential areas nearest to the airport: West Silvertown, the Royal Docks and North Woolwich and how each area is subjected to incredibly high levels of aircraft noise and how any increase is unsustainable for the communities affected.

He also raised the Mayor of London's vision of creating a 'city in the East' - and how this would clearly not be possible if expansion goes ahead as the area would be made mostly uninhabitable by deafening levels of noise and pollution. He went on to document the consultation farce carried out by LB Newham - indicating the multiple deadlines that have been given for objections to the application - but which have been consistently replaced by another in response to complaints received regarding residents NOT being consulted.

If you missed the programme, you can listen again by clicking here.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coming Soon: Answers to all that LCA Spin - the REAL FACTS

LCA have now finally admitted that there WILL be an increase in noise levels in the communities upon any expansion....when they had denied this publicly up until now.

Is this the behaviour of a company that you would feel was honest and open?

More to come on the great spin...........

Consultative Committee Guidance

Taken from the Dft document on guidelines for airport consultative committees:

5. Officers of consultative committees

5.1 Chairman. To maintain the confidence of the general public it is important that the Chairman should not be closely identified with any sectional interest. Where the Chairman is appointed by the airport, this appointment should be made with the involvement of the committee. To ensure continuity in the operation of the committee it is desirable for the Chairman to be appointed for a minimum period of three years, although there should be no prescribed maximum period of appointment. The Chairman may receive appropriate remuneration, depending on local circumstances and workload.

5.2 Secretary. The Secretary, too, should not be closely identified with any sectional interest. A local authority (ideally, not a planning authority for the airport) may be suitably placed to carry out this function.

The secretary of London City Airport's Consultative Committee is also appointed to:

  • run the Airport's (London City Airport) Transport Forum and,

  • run a three year archiving project for the airport (London City Airport).


Saturday, March 08, 2008

The Deception of LCA's Noise Insulation Programme

We've realised that we have let London City Airport get off pretty lightly so far in regard to scrutinising the 'benefits' they offer to all those lucky residents (what they infer not us!) that suffer from the ever increasing roar of jet planes.....

So, in our true fashion we've done a little homework. This is what we've found out about these 'benefits' that Janet Goulton, long term strategy,( and Richard Gooding CEO of LCA so happily mention as being the magic answer to your noise concerns:
  1. Only properties which fall into the 57db laeq noise contour are eligible for sound insulation.

  2. Properties built in the 57db laeq contour, which were given planning permission after 1990 will NOT be eligible for sound insulation.*

  3. Some properties within the 57db laeq MAY BE eligible for mechanical ventilation.

Confident that London City Airport are going to minimise the current noise, let alone any increased noise levels IF expansion goes ahead? We're not at all.

We think the above points, all taken from LCACC website indicate that few of the additional 38,000 residents whom would be affected by expansion, and it's associated increasing noise levels, would get any help at all. What is more those that fall outside of the 57db laeq will not be eligible for no assistance at all - and there are many of them.

This is a disgrace and it is time you were listened to. LCA and Newham will continue to neglect the real issues of noise from London City Airport if they are allowed to get away with it and they have got away with too much already.

Contact your local MP, Councillors, and Robin Whitehouse, Environmental Officer at Newham on: 020 8430 2000 or by email:

It's time they started listening to YOU, and looking after your best interests, before corporate greed.

Noise Pollution from London City Airport - Courtesy of NATS

Residents have been fobbed off for so long with inaccurate noise measurements from LCA's often failing noise equipment (especially that at the east end of the runway). Unfortunately the noise measurements that LCA have used in their application to expand, despite it being estimates, would have all been taken from the periods when noise measurement was unreliable - and also which did not reflect the huge growth in the use of the noisiest jets.

So no surprise there - LCA burying the negative and only presenting the positive! All with a bit of 'go easy on them' from Newham Council who clearly have had little influence on the efficiency of LCA noise measuring processes as so well documented in the LCACC minutes of the past.

National Air Traffic Systems have released 2 documents on London City Airport in regard to the noise levels and contours that each plane type inflicts upon us - dependent upon which direction it takes off and lands in.

We think that most residents around the airport would find the noise maps and the levels indicated rather eye opening - but clearly they indicate the type of levels that our resident campaigners have recorded on their noise monitors as seen in our earlier post.

So 80db - 90db upwards is going to be standard with the frequency of the noisiest jet increasing, and British Airways big interest in services from LCA such as their transatlantic boeing service....and that's just for those properties deemed to fall into the contours.

If your property was built after 1990 - don't expect any help to reduce noise levels inside your home because it isn't going to happen!! London City Airport will NOT provide any help at all with noise reduction - only mechanized ventilation. So YOU, the residents, are left high and dry living with the daily 80-90db for hour upon hour of the day. *

We're sure they'll be even more casualities outside of those contours - but who will listen to them?

Nobody of course.

* The following paragraph was taken from LCACC Part IV Noise Insulation Programme:
It should be noted - see Noise Page - that where the listed homes (or noise sensitive community buildings) were built or given planning permission after 30 July 1990 they will not be eligible for noise insulation if this was required to be installed by statute or as a condition of planning permission. The premises may, however, be eligible for mechanical ventilation. This is likely to apply to many dwellings in West Silvertown.

Time to Cry Wolf - Why Not to Trust London City Airport

In the recent article by Bloomberg, Thomas Penny stated:

Before the airport opened in 1987, developers said it would be limited to 36,500 propeller-plane flights a year. Opponents who said there could be as many as 200 flights a day were denounced as ``wholly unrealistic.'' The latest expansion application calls for an average of 329 flights a day, most of them jet aircraft, though the airport will remain shut for 24 hours each weekend.

Well, well..the airport has managed to come a long way since then - trampling over those assertions from the first public enquiry that there would be no jets, and no more than 36,500 propellor flights a year. What on earth happened??
We think it is quite appropriate to say, once again, that residents have been lied to and deceived over the past 20 years.

When FTF recently posted an article regarding the first public enquiry (the item referred to above) and said that residents had been cheated and deceieved - the secretary of LCACC questioned the value of making reference to the inquiry at all. Now we are confused! We understood that he, and LCACC, are supposed to be 'independent', so why would he raise such a question - perhaps he doesn't want you all to know what the first public inquiry said?

Well, if he doesn't realise the relevance by now after 20 years of being on the LCACC then there's not much hope - and the long term residents of the Royal Docks would relate to that after having their concerns trampled all over. However it does indicate his lack of understanding for the communities around the airport - and that is rather dissapointing.
But there was one change, albeit it in a small 1987 resident objectors concerns were called ' wholly unrealistic' now their just 'confused'.

LCA has trampled over all of the previous inquiries recommendations, with the support of Newham Council. It doesn't care about any of the residents affected . It takes no responsibility for the ongoing appalling levels of health (respiratory) or the persisting levels of social deprivation in the areas, and for a company which claims it has done so much for the area it is hard to find any benefit to the communities at all over the past 20 years.
LCA are only interested in one thing, and that's money - at any cost to the communities affected.

Friday, March 07, 2008

From Bad to Good for 18 million Euros....

How much does it cost a company, like LCA, to alledgedly tell a community that something which is actually very bad for them, is in fact good for them (well for business and shareholders anyway!)?

However, one company -- consultant engineer's MC O'Sullivan & Co -- has received the lion's share of the spending spree. The council paid the company more than €13m for its expert opinion on plans for the new waste-burning facility. A further €5m was paid to RPS Consulting Engineers who have taken over MC O'Sullivan.

It seems that Health Impact Assessor, Andrew Buroni, who wrote the health impact assessment for London City Airports expansion application (who works for RPS) and RPS are laughing all the way to the bank................

No wonder LCA can't afford to pay for their own £7million security and buy a simple up to date street map - ahh poor things!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

More Residents Ask Questions About 'Mystery' Consultation

One of our campaigners in the Wanstead area has informed us of an article in their local paper: it seems that more residents are only just finding out about the expansion application (all thanks to Newham's disastrous attempt at what they pretended was a consultation), and are not happy at all.

So more objectors.....oh dear - it just wasn't what LCA and Newham planned for at all! I bet their wishing for the 'good old days' now.

At least Newham Council appears to have one less thing to worry about now though: The private keystone cops - the inspiration of Sir Robin Wales, are due to be disbanded (due to their constant gaffs) and replaced with some good old PCSO's according to Private Eye. That will be a relief for the local Met. If only something as drastic could happen with Newham's planning department.....

Monday, March 03, 2008

London City Airport - Need Sat Nav or a Map

We hear through the grapevine that London City Airport has actually asked a housing association in South East London to identify all the roads that fall into the noise contour map in that area.

We find this absolutely amazing - as the area in question was even mentioned in the first public inquiry, even though it hadn't been built on. In fact, even the Public Safety Zone lands on it so you would expect LCA to know the area well by now. LCA really do have their finger on the button don't they - they never fail to bring a smile to our faces! Talk about getting someone else to do your own dirty work and so much for their claimed 'community relations' in that area then!! A little late we would suggest? Perhaps they need an up to date street map or a sat nav to help guide them?

How well this indicates that the airports own 'extensive' consultation (as so famously stated in a response to a campaigner) with all these neighbours that they claim support them - but don't actually know about the planned expansion: was, ummmm...not extensive at all! Clearly they share rather a lot with the disaster that we know of as Newham Council in regard as 'consultations'.

Anyhow the purpose for getting this housing association to do their dirty work is: the roads in that area are planned to be the lucky recipients of the Pinnochio LCA News. Probably quite appropriate really as most of the residents in that area will be spending a lot of extra time indoors, if expansion goes ahead, due to the ear deafening increase in noise - so they could do with the extra reading. Let's hope those residents can afford to invest in a bit of air con too - as they will be baking in those hot summer days - not being able to have their windows open.

Whoops - we forgot - LCA have said that those residents will "benefit" from mechanized ventilation - which won't reduce the noise of the planes, and neither will it keep homes cool. A REAL benefit - what do you think??

Who are they trying to convince that mechanized ventilation is a 'benefit'? Benefit to whom, or what, we would like them to tell us! Are we all supposed to be grateful for not being able to open our windows?

We all had a chat here at FTF and decided that LCA are shelling out a lot of money on spin and RPS at the moment, (the RPS bill could get big if Dublin is anything to go by!) so we thought it only fair if we set up a 'buy a map fund'. So if any of you have a few spare pennies please send them to: The Spinner College, Pinnochio Way, Loadsamoneytobemade- In-The-Docks, Asthmaville.

Where's Our Democracy Newham Council?

The very reason why Fight the Flights got together was because local democracy had been thrown out of the window by Newham, not once, but twice in relation to London City Airports cloud cuckoo land applications.

Thousands of residents across the boroughs, who are going to be affected by increasingly loud levels of noise and pollution, by the proposed expansion of flights at London City Airport have NOT been consulted by Newham Planning on the latest application, nor the application that was approved in January 2007.

Noise management by LCA WILL NOT address the majority of households which will suffer from increased noise levels, and it means nothing more than sealing you into your own homes - with the added running costs of mechanical ventilation.

Newham Council must have thought it nothing more than an inconvenience to have to consult with us ALL, so they just didn't bother. Perhaps they had already made their minds up and didn't see the point in consulting? Who knows.

So we find ourselves sharing some similarities with the core of the argument over the Heathrow farcical consultation and the one handed out by Newham. Frustrated about Newham ignoring your right to a democratic process and ignoring you? It adds to the communities complete sense of alienation and feeling that the processes are so unjust, not just in Newham but also in the neighbouring boroughs where Newham spectacularly ignored thousands of thousands of residents.

Plane Stupid were frustrated about the lack of democracy and how people who had been so called 'consulted' regarding Heathrow had been misled and given documents they couldn't understand - here's what they feel they have been pushed to do to get their and thousands of other people's voices heard.

It's a sad state of political affairs that our democracy is being eroded in this way by paid public servants who should know better.

Coming Soon: Doh! LCA's Famous Quotes

LCA really are a PR nightmare, but they have helped us enormously in revealing to you, just how little you can rely on the information/responses they provide to be accurate, or correct.

We'll be listing the bloopers and mis-quotes which reveal London City Airport either to be completely ignorant of the impact of their own expansion application, or perhaps alledgedly of wanting to purposely mislead the communities affected who they presumed had never read the application?

Ignorance is bliss - well it was.

The Objectors Grow With Help from NATS - Wanstead Residents

Yet more opposition to the expansion of London City Airport and to NATS proposals of new flight paths to spread the growing noise of aircraft to more residents in London and the South East.

In the Guardian Series (not online but in print) an article entitled 'Future's looking louder for some' - residents in Wanstead express their concern of more planes flying over them. So NATs proposed flight paths have managed to shift the problem of increasing aircraft noise to yet more residents in Wanstead - that's a really efficient way to deal with it - we don't think! That old can of worms.....

We were even happier to read that in addition to our own coalition campaigners up in Redbridge, that a lady called Anne Williams has been campaigning against the proposed expansion at LCA and was quoted as saying "the proposals (NATS) did not tackle the heart of the matter".

We couldn't agree more Anne, and if you are reading this blog - do please feel free to contact us!

Perhaps NATS and Ian Hall might start to realise that the proposals don't wash with residents at all - though Ian Hall's comments clearly had more concern about increasing efficiency (saving fuel no doubt), and reducing delays for the airlines, than for the residents that have to suffer the growing din of flight expansion beneath them. NATS need to look at their own comments on the CAA paper regarding lack of capacity in the South East's skies.

NATS approach:
  1. Have a growing aircraft noise problem that has growing implications on health and welfare
  2. Don't want to resolve it as there's too much money in it - greed before need.
  3. Spread the noise out to more people and that will hopefully diffuse it a little.
How wrong they were!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Government Wobbles at Campaign Against Aviation Expansion

Greenpeace show they have their finger well and truly on the pulse in this article.

The Government are under so much pressure, that the prospect of an aviation bubble bursting is nearing the horizon.....any such wobbles at Heathrow will emanate out to all airport expansion plans - including those at London City Airport, hurrah!

Extract from article:

If you're one of the many, many thousands of people involved in the opposition to Heathrow expansion, you may want to give yourself a pat on the back. The day after the 'consultation' closed, there's news that we're getting the message through to 'the highest levels of Labour'.

One MP told the evening Standard there had been a "wobble" within the Department of Transport about BAA's proposals. "They are realising this could cost them votes," he said.
In an attempt to limit the damage, the DfT refused to publish any of the submissions to the consultation, which ended yesterday. Critics claim this is because they are embarrassed that the majority of the responses are opposed to expansion.

It is plain and simple... this aviation boom threatens the world's future

THE INDEPENDENT Saturday, 1 March 2008

......Open skies, resistance to Heathrow expansion, aviation taxes: there is a common theme here. It is time for governments to stop mollycoddling the airline industry and to get serious about curtailing the sector's greenhouse emissions. it-is-plain-and-simple-this-aviation-boom-threatens-the-worlds-future -790012.html

Fight the Flights couldn't agree more and is glad to see so much media coverage highlighting the ridiculous insatiable greed, at any cost, that the aviation sector is currently showing.

'No' to London City Airport Expansion.

One (well rather more) Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest

Residents have been reporting back to us for some time the high amount of planes that have aborted landings at London City Airport.

Residents notice these as the sound of a jet at low level less than a mile from the end of the runway firing back up into a climb at a steep angle is incredibly noisy over residential areas. They also worry that these events of firing off mean that more of those harmful emissions to humans are spurted over their homes.

We are also wondering if when there are aborted landings whether these count as one noise factored movement or two- even though the plane has to re-circle and attempt to land for the second time?? So in effect, residents experience such events as two movements. But the murky world of aviation statistic manipulation is bound to count it as one we suspect!

We don't have aborted landing figures from Heathrow but we suspect that the amount of landings aborted at LCA are relatively much higher due to the nature of the landings required and the exposed position to adverse weather conditions - another reason to suspect their ability to manage any more flights than they already have.