Friday, March 28, 2008
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
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.
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,
- health, deprivation and disability
- barriers to housing and services
- living environment
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
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
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:
London City Airport
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
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 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.
Send your requests to call for a public inquiry of LCA's application to expand to:
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Planning and Housing Division
London, SW1P 4RR
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
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.
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?
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 StudiesResident 1
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
1. In 2004, when there were 52,762 flights, 82 percent were on time.
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 Alone
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!!
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
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:
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.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
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
Is this the behaviour of a company that you would feel was honest and open?
More to come on the great spin...........
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.
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
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,(email@example.com) and Richard Gooding CEO of LCA so happily mention as being the magic answer to your noise concerns:
- Only properties which fall into the 57db laeq noise contour are eligible for sound insulation.
- Properties built in the 57db laeq contour, which were given planning permission after 1990 will NOT be eligible for sound insulation.*
- 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: Robin.Whitehouse@newham.gov.uk.
It's time they started listening to YOU, and looking after your best interests, before corporate greed.
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:
Friday, March 07, 2008
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Have a growing aircraft noise problem that has growing implications on health and welfare
- Don't want to resolve it as there's too much money in it - greed before need.
- Spread the noise out to more people and that will hopefully diffuse it a little.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Greenpeace show they have their finger well and truly on the pulse in this article. http://www.greenpeace.org.uk/blog/climate/government-wobbles-over-heathrow-20080228
Extract from 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!
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.