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.