Sunday, August 31, 2008

Newham - Meet Your Mayor -but he won't come to Beckton!

Newham's Mayor Erases The Beckton Question Time Session

The well documented, publicity loving Mayor of Newham, has cancelled his question time date for Beckton. Could this be so that he can avoid facing the awkward questions from Beckton residents who are objecting to the proposal of LCA to expand flights, and also his councils incompetence in enforcing planning conditions?

Surely the Mayor will be concerned that the people of Beckton still get their question time and he will be re-scheduling a visit to their area within weeks?

Well if he doesn't, why not take a trip down to the Royal Docks to tell the Mayor what you think:

Question Time dates for 2008:

Tues 16th Sept – 6.30 - 7.30pm: Royal Docks, Venue tbc
Tues 7th Oct – 6.30 - 7.30pm: Plaistow, Venue tbc
Tues 21st Oct – 6.30 - 7.30pm: Custom House & Canning Town, Venue tbc
Tues 4th Nov – 6.30 - 7.30pm: Forest Gate, Venue tbc
Sat 29th Nov – 9.30 - 10.30am: Old Town Hall Stratford – Borough wide event
Sat 7th Feb – 9.30 - 10.30am: Newham Town Hall, East Ham – Borough wide event

Friday, August 29, 2008

LB Newham Continues To Ignore It's Obligations

After months of asking LB Newham to monitor noise levels in their communities, residents are now coming to the conclusion that Newham don't want to know the real noise levels because they present an inconvenient truth. There are still no actual reliable noise readings for the communities around the airport after almost a year of residents asking.

London 21 and UCL carried out a noise mapping project in the Royal Docks during the Spring and the noise levels recorded, and averaged out far exceeded those 'estimates' by the airport. Since the discovery of the document which stated that London City Airport had not taken accurate noise data collection for 7 years residents have looked to Newham to fulfill the obligation.

Newham have attended a few homes with a handheld noise monitor - on one or two occasions taking just a few sets of readings in a short time period. To take representative readings such readings need to be taken at different times of the day - just as the London21 noise mapping project required. But considering LB Newham has a legal obligation to ensure that noise readings are taken, and LCA are incapable of doing this, then Newham should have themselves set up their own noise stations around the vicinity of the airport.

LB Newham have always had to be pursued by residents for weeks if not months before taking readings, which unfortunately have transpired as inadequate. Now it appears that some residents in the Royal Docks areas are being told that LB Newham is not willing to take further readings. This is despite the fact that the law is not on their side, and we suspect the ombudsman won't be either.

In the absence of LCA (and LB Newham) doing their job properly you'd think LB Newham would want to look after their council tax paying residents - but no, they appear to be too busy burying the bad news for the progress and benefit of business, and perhaps keeping their Mayor happy? That term 'Robinocracy' is spreading.

Is Hill & Knowlton or LCA attacking BAA?

We read with interest an article in which Tim Fallon (the alledged "PR Mercenary") of Hill and Knowlton comments upon his previous employer, BAA, to PR Week. Fallon states "I think there’s a hint of BAA thinking it couldn’t be touched".

Well we wouldn't disagree with that sentiment - however sadly it's not unique to BAA and there is more than a 'hint' in common with London City Airport's business attitude. After LCA's consistent breaches in collecting noise levels, air quality, aircraft tracking, and employment data for up to 7 years, it clearly indicates that London City Airport doesn't think it can be touched either.

Of course what Fallon didn't mention to PR Week was that he is now heading the team from H & K working for London City Airport to 'push' through the expansion plans. Neither did he mention that LCY et al have been eyeing up a Gatwick opportunity for some time. LCA was quoted in the Evening Standard in 2007 as being interested. So without a doubt the pen pushers at LCA will be busily putting together a bid for Gatwick as we work to stop them expanding at their current location.

So no conflict of interest in Fallon's comments to PR Week about BAA then!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wake Turbulance - How was it for you??

Over 9 months ago a resident expressed their concern in a email to London City Airport at what they felt were wake turbulances travelling over the river Thames onto the banks of housing developments in West Thamesmead. This phenomena occurred just seconds after a jet had passed to land in from the east.

Robert Grafton, the London City Airport Environmental Officer initially tried to explain the phenomena 0f an extremely loud noise shooting across the Thames, and the incidence of mini tornados hitting trees and making them shake violently on the river banks as being something to do with the 'bird scaring' tactics used on the run way almost a mile away. Of course, why wouldn't we have thought of that lame explanation!?

However this is a serious issue, and the airport as usual is in complete denial of anything that is negative as a result of their activities. Since more jets are being introduced - wake turbulance sound and movement is now becoming a weekly feature of life in West Thamesmead - perhaps it is for those at the other end of the runway too. The vortex sound now hits blocks of flats - so just how long it will be before structural damage occurs is anyones guess - not long by the frequency of the vortexes it seems.

After Robert Grafton finally accepted that the phenomena described was wake turbulance almost a year ago, he made the usual hollow claims that come from that airport that he would investigate further and discuss this with the airlines. In the meantime the resident also had it confirmed by the CAA that the experience described was indeed wake turbulance. So you can imagine the surprise and awe that the environmental officers junior at the airport - finally responded to that resident yesterday, after month upon month of asking them for an answer.The statement from Rob Grafton's junior?

"With regard to wake turbulence, we have never had any evidence of wake turbulence affecting properties in the vicinity of London City Airport . Furthermore, it is unlikely for wake turbulence to occur due to the increase angle of aircraft during take-off and landing. However, if you believe that wake turbulence is occurring on your property, we welcome further factual evidence on this point."

No evidence? We're not surprised really with their usual obstructive and behaviour of denial and lack of ability to collect evidence themselves! LCA, after almost a year of waiting for an investigation into the issue now want the residents to collect the sound and images of wake turbulance travelling across the river and hitting the blocks of flats! Any offers? Usual 'community
responsible' airport then!

Strange how the text books say something quite different to the juniors comments here about the incidence of wake turbulance from aircraft! It will be interesting to see what the authorities make of LCAs usual pass the buck on this serious issue and of the lack of noise readings for 7 years - and we are pursuing every avenue.

So it's business as usual at LCA - denial, denial and try to bury bad or costly news. They've even alledgedly started telling callers to the airport that there are no objecters (over 800 - an unpredented amount - not including 800 signatures on petitions all submitted to Newham and available to see at their offices) to the expansion....oh dear they really do have a problem with dealing with reality. Still the PR regime has to come up with something for it's money!

Wikipedia Extract
Wake turbulence is turbulence that forms behind an aircraft as it passes through the air. This turbulence includes various components, the most important of which are wingtip vortices and jetwash. Jetwash refers simply to the rapidly moving gasses expelled from a jet engine; it is extremely turbulent, but of short duration. Wingtip vortices, on the other hand, are much more stable and can remain in the air for up to three minutes after the passage of an aircraft. Wingtip vortices make up the primary and most dangerous component of wake turbulence.
Wake turbulence is especially hazardous during the
landing and take off phases of flight, for three reasons. The first is that during take-off and landing, aircraft operate at low speeds and high angle of attack. This flight attitude maximizes the formation of dangerous wingtip vortices. Secondly, takeoff and landing are the times when a plane is operating closest to its stall speed and to the ground - meaning there is little margin for recovery in the event of encountering another aircraft's wake turbulence. Thirdly, these phases of flight put aircraft closest together and along the same flightpath, maximizing the chance of encountering the phenomenon.
Wake turbulence can occasionally, under the right conditions, be heard by ground observers. On a still day, heavy jets flying low and slow on landing approach may produce wake turbulence that is heard as a dull roar/whistle. Often, it is first noticed some seconds after the direct noise of the passing aircraft has diminished. The sound then gets louder, sometimes becoming as loud as was the original direct sound of the aircraft. Nevertheless, being highly directional, wake turbulence sound is easily perceived as originating a considerable distance behind the aircraft, its apparent source moving across the sky just as the aircraft did. It can persist for 30 seconds or more, continually changing timbre, sometimes with swishing and cracking notes, until it finally dies away

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Have You Got £300 To Spare For the Aviation Industry?

Article taken from ETA:

A leading environmental charity has claimed the government should do more to promote forms of green travel, rather than supporting the expansion of aviation. Friends of the Earth (FOE) said that the aviation industry is one of the world’s main sources of the emissions which are contributing towards climate change and claimed the practice of carbon offsetting can do little to change this.A spokesperson for the organisation commented: "Rather than support the expansion of airports, the government should invest in greener travel alternatives such as high speed rail links for the UK and short haul destinations in Europe."She also called on the government to look into ways to make these alternative travel forms cheaper, in order to encourage more people to use them.

According to FOE, the aviation industry will become the largest single source of carbon dioxide pollution by 2040 if it continues to grow at its current rate. In addition, it also revealed each UK tax payer effectively contributes more than £300 to the sector, whether they fly or not, due to tax breaks the government grants the industry.

The ETA [Environmental Transport Association] is a not-for-profit ethical organisation providing motorists with carbon-neutral breakdown cover and insurance products. As well as encouraging responsible driving to reduce carbon, the ETA campaigns for sustainable transport.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Safety Concerns At London City Airport

This is not a new issue - but something we have not covered on this blog, and we feel we should have done some time ago. So thank you to the resident who emailed us to alert us to this.

City Airport has a problem - a
big problem with magnetic inteference cause by metal beneath the runway. This has caused some serious issues for pilots you can read more on the BBC and also on The Age .

Some pilots 'found [the metal structures] to be causing significant interference to the magnetic fields on which aircraft compasses and some navigation equipment rely'. A Raytheon Hawker plane was forced to return to LCA just 10 minutes after departure on one instance.

On IOL.Co.ZA they reported:

"The AAIB issued six safety recommendations, including that the steel casing be removed and pilots flying to/from London City Airport be routinely reminded in flight plans there is a magnetic anomaly which can affect their aircraft's instruments.The moves follow an AAIB inquiry into an incident on October 31, 2006 when a Raytheon Hawker 800XP experienced difficulties navigating after taking off from the airport and had to return.The incident was one in a series of navigation problems dating from January 2000 for aircraft leaving London City Airport. Some were attributed to pilot error at the time".

Once again it looks like LCA have had to be 'ordered' to do something, this time by the AAIB, despite it appearing there had been a series of navigation problems since 2000. They just don't seem to do anything willingly when it comes to something that is going to cost them money. Unsurprisingly the 'spokeswoman' was unavailable for comment on this particular issue!

So just what has happened since this was all reported back in January? We still continue to see a lot of aborted landings, even now, perhaps this is an indicator there are still problems apart from just weather conditions.

If you want to find out more about what steps London City Airport has been forced to take and if they have completed then please contact Air Accidents Investigation Bureau - General Enquiries:01252 510300.

London City Airport Has a Right to Peace! Do you?

Yes, LCA felt that the Crossrail Bill was 'incompatible' with their right to 'peacefully enjoy their property', and carry on their trade or business.

Really? Clearly they don't share the same concerns for residents across the boroughs with regard to the effect of their very noisy business on them!

Have a read here for the evidence:
file name: LCAs Human Rights Objection To Crossrail.pdf

LCA Breaches Requirement to Measure Noise - The Evidence

Bickerdike Allen's 2005-2006 Noise Categorisation Report - tells you all you need to know about London City Airports complete flouting of all the rules set out in it's planning permission.....7 years worth too. Trebles all round for LCA and Newham!!

You can find the document here:
named: 2005-2006 BAP Noise Categorisation Report.pdf

You'll have to rotate the view of the file though - everything about LCA is just topsy turvy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

What, No Noise Measurements? Will BA's A318 get away with it too?

So BA are getting all premature about ordering the engines for the proposed A318 service from LCA to New York. Newham Council have yet to approve this plane operating out of LCA, though with such a lot of propaganda spewing from the mouths of the babes in the aviation and PR industry they've all but buried that little fact. And when you've got such a lenient council such as the LB Newham, who throw caution to the wing (!) when it comes to local residents and their health and safety, you can see why the BA machine is so confident.

So we are now waiting to see if Newham manage to exert their usual level of maladministration in considering the planes suitability to fly in and out of LCA. Of course, even though LCA and Newham don't bother about noise levels - they are both quick to say that LCA operates under very strict guidelines. Oh yes? We can't find any evidence of that over the past 7 years in Bickerdyke Allen Partners report. Apparently Newham didn't even realise that LCA hadn't been taking actual noise readings until a local resident alerted them to the fact just a few months ago. Oh the levels they will stoop to!

So, are residents to look forward to the A318 test runs being noise measured accurately, or just estimated from a technical data manual? We can't possibly imagine why LCA would start to follow the rules now, after breaking them for so many years, can you? The LCACC would also have to wake up and face the facts then too, and that wouldn't do at all.