Monday, June 30, 2008

Pants on Fire....Just how many are there?

With all the misinformation that is consistently being spewed out of London City Airport, and the wider aviation sector with regard to the claimed benefits of expansion (for them of course not you, the taxpayer and local resident who pays for it) we have come upon a hitch.

We don't like to admit it, but it is actually impossible to estimate how many pants are on fire, by those who will benefit most, in support of the cause to expand aviation (based on dodgy estimates and reports) over the most densely populated areas in the country. We are just wondering how many of these paid individuals who will benefit from aviation expansion actually live under a flight path themselves and already, or will experience, a sky full of noise and pollution?

The Sustainable Development Commission has highlighted the issues around the evidence that is currently used and concludes:" that a new evidence base establishing the true benefits and impacts of aviation must be created before any decisions on major airport expansion can take place".

We tried to apply some of the methods currently used by the aviation industry, but we felt that they compromised FTF's purpose: to give clear and accurate information to residents across the areas affected by the proposed expansion of flights from LCA, in a bid to plug the lack of accurate information available.

So instead we are going to leave you all to think about just how many pants are on fire at this current time.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


We have been advised that the GLA report on noise and physical health in London, which was linked in an article in this blog, has been retracted by the GLA for amendments. The report will be re-released in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wallets open to PR - eyes (and ears) tightly shut to residents

London City Airport are apparently 'negotiating' the future of their noise mitigation on the basis that they are given approval to expand by LB Newham. The knows no bounds!

So it looks like LCA has been allowed to forget the current Section 106 Agreement by LB Newham (or will they surprise us when they finally get around to penning a letter?) - and have fast forwarded to negotiation with it's buddies, LB Newham in a deal for the future? Well what hope is there that they will ever keep to their word for the future when they have failed for the last 7 years? None in our opinion, and the confidence and trust in LCA and it's words of spin appear to be at an all time low if residents feedback is anything to go by.

We'll we've got a better idea for LCA- get your house in order LCA and stop feeding spin and deceiving residents over the noise issue, and also the jobs. We believe that LCA's noise levels are far higher than their 'pull out of a hat' estimates and consequently they could be denying households the noise mitigation assistance that they are entitled to. Sort your noise recording equipment out and lets see the real evidence for a change.

Still with all that money they are paying to the PR company - don't expect anything to come voluntarily from LCA in terms of noise mitigation or actual noise data collection - the wallets are tightly shut to suffering residents. LCA are more concerned in schmoozing to make money for their shareholders - and none of that is going to be dropping anywhere near those who pay the biggest price of all for more business flights.

Of course the one thing that they didn't expect was residents
having what LB Newham lack - a backbone and a sense of social and community responsibility. Residents aren't in it for financial gain- that must be a strange concept for them, they have smaller goals - like a life in which they can have their windows open and not have a heart attack due to the effects of aircraft noise from LCA.

If anyone wants to see the worst side of big business behaving badly and of a council that has lost touch and has become autocratic - just fly straight into Pinnochio land and take a good look around. The evidence is before your very eyes.

Friday, June 20, 2008

London 21 Noise Mapping Project Press Release

Residents in parts of Newham and Greenwich have been taking part in a London 21 initiative which focusses on taking noise readings and descriptions, with experts then putting the experiences and the data into maps making levels of noise mean something to communities. Getting to grips with decibels is difficult - and it is even more difficult to know what a particular level of decibels is until you have measured the levels yourself regularly. The mapping project illustrates the noise - making the experience of noise visually much easier to understand and compare.

Read more about the project, the areas covered, what has been revealed and what it has achieved by clicking here.

London City Airport Noise Caused 43 Heart Attacks Claims Report For GLA
Traffic noise is responsible for 108 heart attacks and 499 cases of heart disease in the capital every year.

Long-term exposure leads to stress which, over time, can have a major impact, according to the first study linking noise and health in London.

Berry Environmental, which conducted the research on behalf of the Greater London Authority, estimated the number of people in the capital potentially suffering heart attacks as a result of road noise was about 1.8 per cent of the total number of cases.

They also found the effect of aircraft noise around Heathrow was responsible for 100 heart attacks, while London City Airport caused 43.

So another cost and quality of life factor that is linked to the airport - but which of course they could never admit to..that would cost money and if Newham Council cared enough about its' own and neighbouring residents such acceptance of reality would affect the future plans of the airport - 'can't say no to big business' as one senior official from LB Newham stated to residents.

Still as long as the residents and tax payers pay the price for their operations - it's all hunky dory for business. Newham PCT must have plenty of money spare to treat the negative health impacts and fallout. Richard Gooding is involved in Newham hospital so surely they are aware of the impact of the noise from his business operations on the communities health? How ironic that is, right on the doorstep too.
The full report is available on the GLA website:
Effect of Noise on Physical Health Risk in London
Report 2 - Page 20 in particular

Monday, June 16, 2008

IMPORTANT LB Newham Confirm - NO 18th June Meeting

Sunil Sahadevan of LB Newham Planning Department has confirmed that there is NOT a meeting to hear the London City Airport application on 18th June as the airport have stated in their current edition of 'Runway News'. The information was incorrect.

Once again London City Airport provide yet another cracking example of their inaccurate and misleading sharing of information to the communities.

So little has changed there then.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Planning Meeting Date - But Newham Only Tell London City

Those residents who live nearest to the airport in Newham have been informed via the spin publication of London City Airport the Runway News that the:

application to expand flights is to be heard on June 18th at LB Newham. This gives three days notice.

However Newham Planning have not notified any other objectors or residents of this themselves and so once again prove just how smoke screened and undemocratic their processes are - they seem experts at it, sadly.
What we'd like to know is how LCA can get such priveleged information weeks in advance (for print) and how Stephen Timms felt it was the right time to re-visit the statistics (which no evidence was available just a couple of weeks ago) in his column in the Newham Recorder last week, (it must have been a coincidence!) - which incidently has never featured any stories on London City Airport which are anything other than postive. It's dissapointing as there have been at least a few opportunities when the newspaper could have acted as a point of factual information and putting the record straight for purposely misled residents. Still when London City Airport PR staff ring up papers bleating everytime something printed about them which they didn't manufacturer themselves and give the reporters a hard time, what do you expect?

Now isn't that all strange? So we will wait and see what the Secretary of State says about all this and whether residents can rely on the insiduous, creeping, less than open and honest behaviour continuing between London City Airport and the LB of Newham simply sets a precedent for all their 'major' planning applications? We just can't wait to see what Newham has decided....because as you know their decision would have been made two weeks ago and forwarded on to the Secretary of State.

Placing bets anyone?? We just can't wait!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Do You Have a Complaint About LB Newham?

There are clearly a lot of issues with the administration of the LB of Newham, and more it seems. So we'd thought that it would be helpful if we posted what you need to do if you wish to make a formal complaint to Newham regarding their behaviour. This could be from their complete inability to enforce Section 106s at the Airport,not carrying out adequate consultations, or not being consulted at all, not getting responses from Sir Robin Wales, or any of his departments,...or simply flippant comments made by elected officials such as being referred to as 'troublemakers' for simply asking questions - yes the person who said that to residents will know who they are - shame on you.

Don't forget if the council do not resolve your complaint to your satisfaction and you feel that the issue has been unanswered and unresolved after their three stage process you are then able to take it to the Ombudsman. You can see last years annual ombudsmen's letter on complaints in Newham here.

It seems that in most cases you will need to write a letter.

All the following extracts are taken from the Newham Website:

There are several different ways to contact the council to make a complaint.
4.By letter

Please note If your complaint is about an event that happened over 12 months ago we are not obliged to investigate further.

Complaints about members of staff must be made in writing
Information we need:
The minimum information we need in a written complaint is:

The name of the service your are complaining about
What have we failed to do
When the incident or issue occurred
What would you like to see done to resolve the complaint
Your full name
Your address
Your telephone number or email address
Who you have already contacted within the council regarding this complaint

Your complaint should be sent to the service manager for the service you are complaining about. If you don't know who this is, please send your complaint to the Corporate Complaints Unit.See Get in Touch for our contact details.

If you require any assistance making your complaint, including help for people with disabilities or additional language requirements, you should contact the Language Shop.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Stephen Timms Leads Residents Up The Garden Path

It's always nice to know when there is a local MP who really cares about his constituents. And there are many of them, who REALLY DO CARE. However we can't say the same for Stephen Timms.

Stephen Timms has been approached by residents for some months now, he's ignored some, deleted their emails and not responded to others who he appears not to like the questions they present.

However Stephen did meet with some residents and he asked them to provide evidence that London City Airport has not met its Section 106 requirements regarding operations. A whole list of issues was then collected from residents - about 2 pages long. Did Stephen Timms respond to this? No.

Did Stephen Timms ask what was happening when it was revealed that the airport had broken the section 106 agreement by not taking any noise measurements for 7 years? No

So Stephen Timms seems to like to give his local residents who are most affected by the threat of the flight expansion the runaround, just for the fun of it perhaps. Why else would you ask for the evidence, it is then provided, as hard as, and then not do anything with it?

He did however manage to elicit a response from LCAs Richard Gooding, which revealed that LCA did not know how many Newham residents they employed - yet another failed requirement of the Section 106 - did he do anything about that? No.

But what Stephen Timms did do was talk to the Newham Recorder this week , not to question the quality of the consultation, or the quality of the data provided in LCAs application to expand, oh no nothing as helpful to residents as that. We'd just like to see the evidence of any statistics he quotes. Perhaps he would also like to see if he can get some accurate noise contours for his constituents at the same time?

We're sure Newham voters really feel valued and listened to by Stephen Timms. Still big business is far, far more important isn't it?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Weasel Words Con Residents

Residents have been telling us that no matter how hard they look through the planning application they couldn't see anything positive in the expansion of LCA flights for residents of Newham. They looked long and hard to see how many Newham residents currently work at the airport (strangely none of those that have been in contact have ever known anyone who has worked at the airport in the past 20 years) - and there's not a mention of them - in fact the document was felt to be full of 'spin' and 'weasel words'. Newham residents don't even factor in the 'airport customer profile user charts' by area as displayed by LCACC. So if Newham residents appear not to use the airport for flights at a level which is regarded as significant, and there is no data on how many Newham residents work at the airport what's in it for them? Nothing it seems at all, well nothing concrete.

LCA use jobs as the big bait, and in a borough that needs jobs and fairly paid ones that is a great tool of spin, but you know what happens to bait - it's there one minute and gone the next, strangely leaving no evidence trail at all, just a few big cheeses who have already lined their pockets, reminding you that the jobs were 'predicted'..not promised! Watch out for the 'weasel words.' Unfortunately with LB Newham's track record of not being able to even enforce the Section 106 agreement on the airport with any effectiveness then there won't be a hope for them knocking on LCA's door asking where the jobs are a couple of years down the line. Clearly that would cause offence, and we can't be having that can we!

Secondly their method for 'estimating' 'indirectly created job' growth is based on such factors as a few extra cab journeys - so they are bound to add up to at least one extra job in LCA's cuckoo land. The estimated few extra hotel stays...well that might require a few extra chamber maids at the local hotels. Sustainable jobs for Newham residents?

Add to that situation that in 20 years of operating LCA don't seem to have developed a good enough human resource system to be able to tell the council or MP just how many Newham residents they currently employ despite it being a requirement of the Section 106 then it all calls into question how much trust you can have in them. Of course there was that little issue that the airport would never be allowed to operate anything other than as a stolport for small planes, and no jets due to the residential areas around - that's yet another of the conveniently broken 'promises'.

So do we trust LCA enough to take their word for these guestimates? Do we trust LB Newham to ensure that some guarantees are made, and kept and enforced. Based on all the current evidence that trust would be sorely misplaced. So far it's hardly been an open and honest situation at all - with a surprise around every corner.

For a business that makes so many claims about the positives they give to so many Newham residents - it is hard to believe them when there is no evidence and when they appear not to have paid any serious attention to huge swathes of the communities affected.

But there is at least some consistency in all this: London City Airport's appalling management of systems expands further than the noise monitoring not taking place for years on end, and of 'losing' complaints from more than one resident. Personally we can't help but feel that when LCA consistently finds it difficult to come up with the hard evidence it's because the evidence available is simply not quite as flattering to them as they would wish.

However we're looking forward to the employment figures that LCA are currently preparing with yet another consultancy, and of the effects of the recruitment drive a few months back, to see if they've managed to actually meet the targets set and can show they do occasionally employ a Newham resident.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Newham Council/LCA - The Section 106 And The Shame of It All

Fight the Flights is waiting for a response from Newham Council with regard to London City Airport failing to follow the Section 106 Agreement with regard to providing accurate and actual noise data for the past 7 years. As you will recall, London City Airport have failed in monitoring the actual noise levels for all those years and it is those levels which should also be used for noise contour maps and for the classification of aircraft to enable the correct amount of noise factored movements to take place. This is why no actual data is submitted with the application to expand - only estimates.

Newham Council is responsible for making sure that the Section 106 Agreement is adhered to, and clearly in 7 years they have not based on our current knowledge. How long can it take to resolve an issue with noise Newham...more than 7 years - that has to be a record and a real bonus for London City Airport operations.

However we await Newham's response and will consider the legal position when it is received. We currently feel that Newham Council has been negligent in their position to ensure the health and safety of residents and of maladministration of the section 106 agreement enforcement. But we are getting a good picture of how the LB of Newham behaves towards residents from looking at a variety of planning applications which are all equally as controversial in how: consultations have been carried out and also of the lack of enforcement of conditions and obligations in the Section 106s.....hardly a case of lead by example.

And where we ask are all the local councillors in this....heads buried in the sand? It is actually quite shameful that none of them appear to have raised the lack of noise monitoring at the airport in 7 whole years. Scandalous. It's the residents that voted them in so you'd think the local councillors would be in touch enough to address such important issues which affect the health and safety of their constituents. But still they can also be voted out. However if any of the local councillors can provide us with any information indicating that they have addressed this issue, and have fought for and represented the health and welfare of the residents in the areas affected, we would be more than happy to put a posting on to indicate that.

A Raincheck and the Naughty Employee Corner

Just as we predicted, the LCA application was not addressed at the 4th June Newham Council planning meeting. More information is no doubt being requested and it looks as if this could continue for some time yet. No date is set for the application to go to the planning committee to date. The application was submitted last August....will it make it to 12 months?

However in the meantime we are sure we can rely on the predictable attacks on objectors by the one 'self claimed empoyee of LCA'... the type of language and disrespectful comments made to the residents of Newham, which were full of contempt (too offensive and politically incorrect to put on here) and the threat that objectors will be 'run over' must be setting a real standard for this 'employee's' behaviour.

The email in question has been forwarded to a local newspaper. The frustration must be really setting in for them and we are just sorry that they don't embrace the values of democracy and freedom of speech, for anyone other than themselves without dishing out threats and insults to residents who do not share the same views. It's yet another PR disaster in our view - attacking the residents, tut, tut, it's the naughty corner for them now!

Now, what was that about them showing their true colours....?