Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cllr Alan Craig, CPA Newham - Calls for Public Inquiry

In a press release Newham Council's opposition leader: Cllr Alan Craig has called for a public inquiry into the plans to expand London City Airport flights:

The decision of Newham Borough Council to wave through plans for a 50 per cent increase in flights to London City Airport must go to a public enquiry, according to Council Opposition Leader, Cllr Alan Craig of the Christian Peoples Alliance party.

In a question last night at Full Council to Newham’s executive Mayor, Sir Robin Wales, Cllr Craig said the Council’s planning procedures had not addressed fundamental issues relating to the expansion such as the growth, role and future of the airport. He said it was vital that the Secretary of State, Hazel Blears should now ‘call in’ the application so that it goes before a public enquiry.

“There is a cosy consensus between the Tory London Mayor and Labour’s flagship local authority that London City Airport should be expanded, despite all the evidence of the damage that will inflicted on East End residents by rising noise pollution and air pollution, together with an increase in emissions that cause global warming”, commented Cllr Alan Craig. Alan Craig added: “There is deep anger in Newham that current restrictions are simply ignored.

Last Friday, London City Airport permitted a jet to take off after operational hours. Flights are not allowed to take off after 22:30 – yet the Airport allowed a clear breach of their planning conditions. And Newham admit freely that the Airport have allowed flights to operate out of hours in the past. Despite these flagrant abuses, Newham Council have not taken any action against the airport.” In July 2008, Newham Council approved planning permission for London City Airport to increase flights from 80,000 to 120,000 per annum. Over 10,000 letters were sent to local residents of which 1109 replied, 801 with objections and 308 in support. However, the damage caused by noise and air pollution will impact very many more residents on both sides of the river Thames, who would have a proper say at a public enquiry.

Praising work done to raise key issues by campaign groups Fight the Flights, Stop London City Airport and Plane Stupid, Cllr Alan Craig concluded: “Newham have not addressed properly the question of noise pollution.

A local teacher told planners how his students had carried out a project monitoring aircraft noise around their neighbourhood over a number of months, and consistently read average levels of 85 – 90db. This is well in excess of what the airport admits to – anything over 57db is judged to be a nuisance. And the Airport need to address the concerns of opponents who say no reliable noise measurements have been taken since 2000. Fight the Flights have a point when they say the levels in the airport’s application seem to be from data that is over 8 years old.