Thursday, April 24, 2008

Greenwich Council Change Flight Paths

Yes, it is true, Greenwich Council have finally seen the light, the logic and the facts after their disastrous dealing of the London City Airport application to expand. We think they have realised that they have made a grave error of judgement and are now trying to dig themselves out of a very big hole, going on comments from Cllr Alex Grant at the Blackheath Society/Hacan meeting on the effects of Heathrow expansion on SE London, held last night.

Greenwich Council Join 2M
The good news must come first though, and which Cllr Alex Grant, and Chairman of LB Greenwich Planning Committee, delivered is that the London Borough of Greenwich - the ungreener borough (despite not objecting to the ridiculous expansion plans of LCA) have now decided that they don't like the idea of so many (Heathrow) planes flying over the borough and have now decided to join the 2M group - a growing coalition of councils who oppose the Heathrow third runway. To say we are overjoyed at this development is an understatement - so we welcome this news and as regular readers will know FTF is working with Hacan and other campaign groups to say no to a third runway and no to other aviation expansion.

However isn't it a case of egg on face for LB Greenwich after their foolhardy decision on LCA just weeks ago? Clearly they must have been woken up from their slumber at the thought/or sound of more Heathrow planes filling the skies across Greenwich just a thousand or so feet above the planned 100,000 extra flights a year by LCA by 2010. We guess that 100,000 LCA flights weren't going to bother many of them where they live.

Greenwich Council unfortunately let down the residents in the east of the borough in the light of the stark negative impacts that any LCA expansion will have on the communities. Yes, they bought the economic argument, the fools that they are may realise once they see the Heathrow economic argument fallacies, and other well respected articles tearing to bits the claim that an airport like LCA contributes so much...because they don't. It is all pure and utter spin.

The planning officer at Greenwich Council in his report to the planning committee on the LCA application to increase flights to 120,000 a year made some serious errors in his recommendations - and the councillors bought it all: he clearly did not understand the Section 106 on LCA which sets out the conditions upon which the airport must operate on.

He also failed to flag up that 1000's of additional residents would be bought into the noise contours in Greenwich (an increase of 50%) and also that noise would increase by 50%. In addition the planning officer was blinded by the spin of LCA and seems to be under the impression that it is the turbo prop planes that are the main and only source of this increasing noise over the communities of East and South East London. Unfortunately Cllr Alex Grant mentioned this at the meeting - he somehow is under the impression that because the committee reccommended to the effect the following that the Council had somehow 'assisted us':

1) effective noise management take place (it never has in the past and current signs from LCA and Newham aren't looking promising in the short term at all)

2) that 'noisy' turbo prop planes be phased out.

Turbo Prop vs Jets
Well, lets just clarify the individual aircraft decibels for his information, because the 'noisy' turbo prop planes are considerably quieter than the ongoing introduction of BAE146s - which disrupt residents over a wider area of South and East London: Here's the noise profiles of the planes from the NATS site:

BAE146E - 80-90db over the mapped areas

Turbo Prop - 80-90db

In reality however the turbo props are about 10dbs quieter than jets after they have left the runway when measured on a noise monitor - but of course LB Greenwich don't know that as they don't have any measurements or experience in this area it seems. So the increasing use of jets from LCA is why the noise contours are expanding by 50% - it is so logical and yet they didn't see it.

We hope Cllr Grant et al understand that the dbs appear to be errmmm....the same in the contours? So no favour there for us! We'd also like to make it clear that Greenwich were not going to ensure that residents were consulted either - they basically did nothing, and have done nothing,whilst completely ignoring the environmental impacts on residents. It's just a shame they didn't look after the residents best interests in the way that neighbouring boroughs have done regarding the proposed LCA expansion.

But we can of course at least look forward to them being active against the Heathrow expansion plans and we'll look forward to seeing them at the future events as any collective expansion of flights over East and South East London is just going to cause further misery to the communities.