Monday, April 07, 2008

Newham Council - Do they ignore residents and only listen to big business?

London City Airport, like most airports whom have no other positives to spin regarding airport expansion (as there are so few), regularly try and bait Councils and residents with the promise of job creation. You may recall London City Airport's words, that lack wisdom at the best of times, stating that job creation will make up for the environmental impacts. Clearly that is not the case at all. You can read an article on this issue entitled 'Jobs are used to justify anything - but the numbers don't add up' by George Monbiot.

A few, rather naive/autocratic elected officials may buy this - but clearly they have not read through the masterplan which aims at 176,000 flights per year, nor the current application by LCA with regard to how many residents are going to suffer from increased pollution and noise levels. Essentially living in the area will be a nightmare and the sky full of noise will hardly 'benefit' residents no matter how much spin the pinnochios put on it.

46,000+ additional residents will be bought into the noise contours which means noise is on the increase - and that is just an estimate. Of course if London City Airport and LB Newham had actually been doing their jobs properly with regard to community responsibility over the past 20 years: that is carrying out accurate and regular noise and air pollution monitoring from London City Airport then we wouldn't be having to quote that the noise levels are just estimates.

In reality the 46,000 residents being bought into the new noise maps could be just the tip of the iceberg so a few hundred jobs (that are not even certain) really are not a good enough bargaining tool at all.

Compare the suffering of increasing noise levels to LCA's offer of job creation ' to make up for it' against the environmental impacts of increasing noise levels and air pollution. LCA may like to think it's generous, but its a shame that the 'locals' haven't benefited from LCA operations in the past 20 years and continue to pay for it's security in the bargaining. But then LCA get paid to say how good the firm is and put a nice spin on it - at any cost.

Employment we must remind you, appears to be only open to those that can afford to own a car, or have access to one, and that 'local jobs' mean within a five mile radius - which in reality does not interpret as local jobs for Newham residents.

Alongside this the fact that official bodies regularly make statements about the jobs that go unfilled throughout London it seems to us that the jobs that LCA are plying Newham with are irrelevant to the application for expansion. If Newham are foolish enough to buy this line after 20 years of LCA's operation then they are even more foolish than we currently believe they are.

We feel that those elected officials who use the job scenario as the one item that supports the application need to start opening their eyes and getting a little more in contact with what is happening in the job market and the implications of the expansion on THEIR constituents.

Or is it just a case for some of these elected individuals to yes to business all the way - regardless of the 46,000+ residents who will pay a very high price for so few jobs of which the vast majority will not go to Newham residents?

We wondered if they also factored the continuing cost to residents who pay for LCAs £7million security bill? Going by a few outrageously un-informed statements we've seen and heard by elected and paid officials (who we will be keeping a close eye on), we think it is very likely that they don't even know about that little sum!

Job creation does not have to be at the cost of 46,000+ residents suffering increasing noise levels and health problems linked to aviation activities.

If LCA paid their £7million security costs, instead of Londoners paying it, it might just free up £7million for employment training, start up grants etc to create jobs that pay a salary that sustains a family and offers real opportunities and career growth for locals - not opportunities that are only open to them if they own, or have access to a car!