Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sick, Tired and Fed Up With LCA and Newham? Come To The Newham Planning Meeting!

Sick of being told that the noise insulation that you are entitled to is running late, years late?

Tired of the increasingly noisy jet plane operations from London City Airport?

Fed up with LCA not taking noise data because if they did they wouldn't get planning approval?

Then why not come along to the Newham Planning Meeting, where some of the Newham councillors who have received 'aviation' gifts and hospitality will be making a decision on whether YOU and YOUR communities should suffer from yet more noise and pollution.

This will all be in light of the consistent abuses by London City Airport such as operating planes out of hours and ignoring many other of the planning conditions that were handed to them at the last application all confirmed by LB Newham Council themselves.

Wednesday 8th October

5.45pm (for 6pm meeting) outside
Newham Town Hall,
Barking Road, East Ham.

If you wish to speak at the meeting, don't forget to let
shirley.fortune@newham.gov.uk or joy.george@newham.gov.uk know in advance.

Monday, September 29, 2008

AIG's Shareholding in LCA "On The Block" ?

The Financial Times continues to cover the story of the majority shareholder of London City Airport, AIG, the "stricken US insurer" which looks set to turn a few things upside down at LCA:

"AIG’s 59 per cent stake in Transatlantic Holdings, a listed reinsurer, is also believed to be on the block, as are its huge property portfolio and private equity investments including one in London’s City Airport".

No need to make predictions on this one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Newham Planning Meeting 8th October 6pm

Newham have confirmed that the London City Airport application to increase flights will be heard on:

8th October, 6pm at Newham Town Hall, Barking Road, East Ham London E6.

The case officer, has recommended to Approve the Application (no surprise there, where did they put that rubber stamp from 12 months ago, perhaps it sailed away on a private yacht?)
If you wish to make a representation at the meeting you should contact:

Joy George or Shirley Fortune in Member Services in writing by 12 midday on the monday prior to the meeting. Town Hall, East Ham, London, E6 2RP. You can call for further information or advice: 020 8430 3401 or fax, 020 8430 3052

You do not need to furnish member services with the content of your representation prior to your presentation on the day. We're sure H&K and LCA can be 'creative' enough to spin a few responses on the day even without a tip off from LB Newham on the content of the representations to be made.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Formidable FTF Is Awarded A Grant

We are very pleased to be able to report that Fight the Flights has been awarded a grant by the Manuka Club .

This will enable us to continue our work even more effectively within the communities affected by the proposed expansion of flights at London City Airport. FTF gives, and relies upon, the dedication and genorousity of residents with their time and skills. Our work is unpaid, but committed to the betterment of communities, on issues of quality of life, health and the environment which will be threatened by further flight expansion.

FTF has been working hard for almost a year to ensure that residents are aware of the application by London City Airport to expand, but also that the information they receive is accurate and the full implications of the proposed expansion are understood.

We have specifically been working with and advising residents on what action they can take, and providing advice and support aswell as being actively involved across the boroughs. We have raised a variety of issues around the planning application which would have otherwise have been ignored by LCA and Newham. In addition we have uncovered 7 years of London City Airports negligence to meet many of the conditions that were set out at the last planning approval, particulary of their failure to record reliable noise and air data. We, elected officials, and residents are now calling for a public inquiry.

FTF has connected community groups, residents groups and individuals to one another and has worked with them, and for them, to ensure that London City Airport and the London Borough of Newham's very unsatisfactory and unfair consultation/application process has been scrutinised and bought out into the open.

The Manuka grant will go towards printing, meeting room costs and other items which will assist the campaign in the communities. Our thanks go to the Manuka Club for recognising the contribution of the residents across East and South East London.

Fight The Flights Reaches The Homes that Newham and LCA Can't

Residents across the boroughs have been out in force posting thousands of leaflets to homes, alerting residents to the application by London City Airport to expand flights by 50% this year and another 50% in the future.

The high quality leaflets, designed by a local resident and graphic designer have already made a huge impact and are alerting many households to the major application for the first time. This is after claims by Newham and LCA that they carried out an 'extensive consultation'.

But then with Newham and LCA's appalling track record of behaviour and enforcement over the past 7 years, it's apparent that neither can do anything reliably, or accurately.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Contested Evidence

The Governments own independent watchdog: The Sustainable Development Commission has called for an independent review of aviation policy. In a paper released in September 2008 the watchdog has examined the disputes and gaps in information which are leading to conflict:It sets out some of the opposing views of a wide range of stakeholders concerned about aviation, and makes the case for an independent review of policy and a true national debate before major decisions can be made on the future of air travel in the UK.http://www.sd-commission.org.uk/pages/aviation.html

So another government body is raising flaws in aviation policy which of course the aviation industry are happy to exploit. It seems the pressure is on and growing. Just how much more will it take to tip the Government off that they are backing a dead donkey in terms of public opinion?

Planning Meeting - Hold The Date!

We have received indication that the London City Airport application to expand flights looks set to go to the 8th October evening planning meeting at Newham Council.

This date has not yet been confirmed by Newham Council, but we would advise you to tentatively hold the evening of 8th October in your diary if you wish to attend.

As we know from past experience Newham Council like to give as little notice as possible to residents who wish to attend the meeting - usually 5 working days so we are not expecting the date to be confirmed by them until the first week in October.

We will endeavour to post any updates or confirmations as soon as we have them.

City Airport and AIG: Uncertain Times

After a tip off from an anonymous source some months alleging that redundancies were already occuring at London City Airport, it appears the current staff base continues to be anxious about who they will be working for in the future. We asked Rupa Haria, PR assistant at London City Airport to confirm or deny the alledged redundancies over 2 months ago - but to date we have had no response. Cllr Christine Bowden, Deputy Mayor of Newham was also asked by residents in Newham to look into the issue of redundancies at London City Airport - but once again no response has been received to date.

In an article in the Telegraph entitled "London City airport jobs in the air as AIG battles for survival" written before the US federal reserve came to the rescue of the ailing AIG, a major shareholder in LCA it raised possible consequences for London City Airport.

What is of greatest concern is that City Airport consistently use jobs for the carrot and stick approach with Newham Council and other government contacts - this is despite their utter failings in providing the type of job growth that was promised over 7 years ago. If redundancies have occurred already - isn't the stick and carrot of job creation just yet another smokescreen of disingenous claims being made by London City Airport? Shouldn't they be concentrating instead on retaining the staff they have and avoiding the alleged redundancies that have already taken place? Perhaps that is a utopian thought when in reality the business only cares for profit making for it's shareholders.
And here's more food for thought: such moves as installing self 'check in' stations don't increase jobs or the need for additional staff - they reduce the need for staff. Yet more hypocrisy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

London City Airport & Newham: How do you trim down a Public Safety Zone?

By ignoring the model that the Department of Transport provides to calculate it of course!

The public safety zone* maps (see definition of PSZ below) which LCA submitted to the London Borough of Newham appear not to have been drawn up using the required model provided by the Department of Transport. This gives the effect of making the public safety zone areas smaller than they should be and covering less households, and also perhaps, schools and other sensitive places - such as prospective bridges. Is this simply yet another attempt to bury the bad news so they can get those extra flights out - at any cost??

We can't think why they would ignore the DfT model to draw up the Public Safety Zones with the result in making them smaller? Even stranger that LB Newham didn't enforce that DfTs model was used in the process of the PSZ mapping by the consultants employed by LCA.

But it's not strange at all...it is just the continuing saga of LCA and Newham's disingenous behaviour throughout the whole of the consultation and application to expand LCA flights to 120,000 this year and another 50% next year, taking them up to 176,000 per year.

*What is a 'Public Safety Zone'? It is an area which is a long triangular shape at each end of any runway which is deemed at more risk of being affected by an air traffic incident upon take off or landing. The triangular shape widens and lengthens in accordance to the type, and number, of planes operating out of the airport.

Guidelines are set by the Department of Transport in how this area should be calculated and mapped out and where homes, traffic etc should not occupy the area at all, or in small numbers. New buildings are not allowed to be built in the PSZ unless planning approval was given before the PSZ was identified, current homes of which residents will find themselves being covered by the PSZ map are simply told to live with the risk. Despite the guidelines being set by the DfT it is the responsibility of the local council to apply them.

PSZ Enquiries: Department for Transport: 020 7944 8300 - Airports Section.
Document: free to download.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

LDA and Developers - Building Homes Under the Flight Path?

Who wins, who loses with new homes being built under flight paths and by the side of London City Airport? Government, developers or residents? We don't think most will have difficulty in guessing the right answer.

The London Development Agency - LDA's Thames Gateway is an area which is blighted by the increasing use of jets and proposed expansion of flights, but this is just the tip of the iceberg: there's the Lea Valley, the Olympic site (the powers to be haven't mentioned the effect of LCA flights on this area), Poplar, Isle of Dogs, London Riverside, Silvertown Quays. All will be affected when they are developed. LDA need to consider their position on how they expect residents to live along an increasingly noisy airport or beneath it's flightpath - and one that wants to get a lot noisier. After all, LDA are the freeholders of the land which LCA operates on - so they could do rather a lot.

Here's some of the key players in the current and future 'residential regeneration' of the areas affected beneath the flight paths of London City Airport:

Barratts - Elektron "....a brand new rail link will whisk you to London City Airport in just fifteen minutes, virtually door to door" . But you may feel like you are rather nearer than 15 minutes away from the airport by the levels of the noise from the planes as they take off overhead.

Tilfen - Tamesis Point Occupying one of 13 locations identified as an opportunity area in the Mayor's draft plan for London, Tamesis Point will see the creation of over 2,000 new homes along a mile of the Thames River.Within an outstanding location, this landmark scheme will be dominated by a north-south orientated axis with a series of grand public spaces and formal gardens.The development will take its influences from Georgian London, while the masterplan is designed to deliver fresh, contemporary architecture with landmark buildings and community and leisure facilities befitting the location. Will they tell prospective residents that the site is partially covered by the public safety zone and they will be in the new noise contours? That it is immediately beneath the low level flight path? The one thing that 'Georgian London' didn't have was 87db+ over the roofs of their homes every 90 seconds!

Silvertown Quays
Living and breathing spaces
Silvertown Quays will be an exciting mix of new residential districts providing private and social housing with new public spaces, landscaping and a rejuvenated dock area. It will be the location for some 5,000 attractive new homes in a variety of designs and sizes - fashioned by a range of innovative architects. Many will have stunning views over the Royal Docks and the Thames. All homes will provide modern living space. There will be access to a private garden, roof terrace or balcony, or there will be shared spaces in semi-private gardens.
Sustainable communities
"The creation of a sustainable community is the goal at Silvertown Quays, it will be focused on the UK Government's policy to encourage the regeneration of brownfield sites for the benefit of local communities. It will be a safe environment for both young and old. There will be new public open spaces, a primary school, health centre and community facilities."
Will they tell future residents that is it beneath a flight path, at the end of the runway, just at the tip of the 1 in 10,000 crash zone, that the current noise levels measure 87db+ per flight are and increasing? A safe environment? Suitable to build a school on and expect residents to spend time outside, let alone live there? As for using a balcony - having windows open won't be too much of an option, let alone sitting on a balcony!

It's about time that the decision makers started to see the bigger picture, and start working on evidence based policy making. What they are currently doing is not working - residents are not happy in the regeneration areas and who can blame them? Vortexes, high and increasing levels of jet noise, and air pollution - it's not exactly what any neighbourhood needs.

Airports expanding in densely built residential areas does not work, and to continue to new build in those areas only continues to deny residents any quality of life, misleads them, affects their health and their pockets. People make communities and they should come first.

Those dreams and plans of much needed homes are just all falling down....

Friday, September 05, 2008

Aviation Gifts to Local Councillors - Part 2 - Royal Docks

One almost slipped the net...but we are pleased to present an additional councillor, from Royal Docks, Newham: Cllr McAlmont, who has also been at the receiving end of 'hospitality' from LCA. Strangely Cllr McAlmont has not made any representation on behalf of his residents in the Royal Docks in respect to the proposed 50% expansion in flights. Strange that!

Cllr McAlmont: (when he was deputy Mayor!)
16/05/2006 - Dinner; Name of Donor: Richard Gooding, City Airport

That's definately the way to do it!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Aviation Gifts To Local Councillors - That's the way to do it!!

Times are hard.....

Cllr Ayesha Chowdhury
24/06/2008 - Visit to Dublin Airport (travel and refreshments): Name of donor; London City Airport Consultative Group
Cllr Richard Crawford
27/05/2008 - Goody Bag With Book And 2 Tickets To Car Show At Excel; Name of Donor: London City Airport;

Cllr Patricia Holland - Newham Planning Board
27/05/2008 - Complimentary Gift Bag; Name of Donor: Event sponsored by various airlines to commemorate the completion of new aircraft stands at City Airport, Royal Docks, E16
24/06/2008 - Visit to Dublin Airport (travel and refreshments): Name of donor; London City Airport Consultative Committee.
Cllr Ron Manley - Chair of Newham Planning Board
27/05/2008 - Complimentary Gift Bag; Name of Donor: Event sponsored by various airlines to commemorate the completion of new aircraft stands at City Airport, Royal Docks, E16 LCA Consultative Committee
Cllr Paul Schafer
27/05/2008 - Complimentary Gift Bag; Name of Donor: Event sponsored by various airlines to commemorate the completion of new aircraft stands at City Airport, Royal Docks, E16
Sir Robin Wales
12/09/2006 - Richard Gooding 40th Anniversary (Aviation Industry); Name of donor: Richard Gooding Yacht (Richard Gooding, CEO of London City Airport)
19/09/2007 - Hospitality received drinks and dinner; Name of donor: Newham Homes Board (Richard Gooding is Chair of Newham homes, board members include: Cllr Shafer, Cllr Manley who also just happened to get some freebies from LCACC! ).

Councillor's Manley, Holland and Schafer need to correct their entries, Cllr Crawford states the goody bag was from LCA, whilst they claim 'various airlines', which is it?? They should also complain about the missing items from their goody bags: book and 2 tickets to Excel, or did Cllr Crawford receive a different type of goody bag? You can only wonder at what freebies do in the world of local politics, they clearly affect the accurate recollection of contents and donors!

A Case of The Kellaways

Back in April 2008, Newham residents were told by Stephen Timm's MP and Councillor Alec Kellaway(also member of the London City Airport Consultative Committee) the following:

"Alec said extra employment would be a deciding factor but not at any cost, & what we need is anything that can counter this". For example, when the LCA are not abiding by its operating procedures, Extra noise levels, from noisier flights, especially the noisy private jets (numbers of these are supposed to be limited), flights out of hours, & so called emergency flights (they are only allowed to claim a cetain amount). They claim to be a good neighbour, with good liaisons with locals, & doing lots for the community, does anyone have any evidence of this?"

Well, as you all know, London City Airport have behaved appallingly towards residents and they have completely ignored many of the conditions in the Section 106 which have resulted to the detriment to residents. The fact that residents who have lived in an area for over 40 years have to ask others what the airport has been doing for the community says it all - nothing.

So Cllr Kellaway and Stephen Timms MP were passed this information - after all that is what they requested from the residents. What is more, Newham have even admitted the failings of the their own ability to enforce, and of their 'frustration' with London City Airport to follow the legally set conditions upon which they are required to operate.So what are they going to do with the evidence? Or was this simply an excercise they hoped residents would fail in?

Councillor Kellaway was clearly suffering from amnesia when speaking to the residents or was he just being rather two faced and hypocrital with them about 'the airport should not expand at any cost' . Why do we say this?

Of the three wards nearest to the airport, NOT ONE councillor has made a represenation on behalf of their constituents in regard to the London City Airport expansion application: THAT IS OF COURSE EXCEPT COUNCILLOR KELLAWAY - IN A PRIVATE CAPACITY HE SUBMITTED A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF THE EXPANSION (this can be viewed at Newham Planning).

So we cannot help but question why Councillor Kellaway would want to be so disingenous to his constituents and send them on evidence finding missions when all along he had not told them that he had sent a letter of support to Newham?

Here's a few freebies that Cllr Kellaway has received from the LCACC and LCA:

03/07/2007 - London City Airport Consultative Committee, 10th Anniversary Reception. Name of Donor: London City Airport Consultative Committee (Masterplan time!)
12/07/2007 - London City Airport Consultative Committee Annual Familiarisation Trip to Edinburgh incorp. coach trip, and lunch; Name of Donor: London City Airport Consultative Committee. (Application time!)
27/05/2008 - Complimentary Gift Bag; Name of Donor: Reception on boat by City Airport to celebrate 20 years of operation, City Airport, Royal Docks, E16

And a full list of councillors who have not been bothered to do what they are paid to do, represent the residents.
  • Canning Town South (Councillors Craig, Ademolake and Stafford)
  • Custom House (Councillors Butler, Holland and McCauley)
  • Beckton (Councillors Bowden, Chaudhury
  • Royal Docks: (Councillors McAlmont, Murphy and Tucker)
And they wonder why residents have no faith in them.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Noise Mapping - Do Something Unique, Be Part of the Project!

London21 in conjunction with University College London (UCL) are running a community noise mapping project. You can view the current map of the project here. In a few weeks time noise readings will appear directly on the map.

This project is unique in that it collects not only noise levels, but also residents experience of that noise. It has the potential to affect planning and future use of land and property. London21 will lend you a noise monitor and give you full support in taking noise measurements in your local area. The project is due to run until December 2008. The noise collection is not focussed specifically on airport noise - but any noise which affects you where you live.

See a linked film on the project by UCL which shows the effects of London City Airport Flights on noise levels and interviews local residents on itunes U: "Mapping for Sustainable Communities"

If you are interested in being part of this groundbreaking, and exciting project please contact: Louise Francis, Mapping and Development Project Officer, louise.francis@london21.org.

More Background Information:

Mayor of London Committed To Reducing Emissions

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has been clear in his commitment to the environment and reducing carbon emissions in his latest statements. We are really pleased to hear that he is putting the health and welfare of Londoners on the agenda, and taking into account the effect of pollution on a wider scale.

The Mayor states a "commitment to a 60 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025, ten high-technology 'Low Carbon Zones' across London by 2012 to deliver ‘greener’, low carbon solutions and deliver reduced energy bills, £6 million to clean up and improve London’s rundown green spaces, and 10,000 new street trees"." He is also promoting low polluting travel including cycling, walking, hybrid buses and taxis, hydrogen buses and electric cars".

However, we are not sure how he intends to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions when he is supporting a 50% increase in flights from London City Airport (though he did state that more would be hard to justify)? The Mayor is against expansion at Heathrow, but supports expansion at London City Airport. Isn't this a clear conflict in his policies?

Just last week the Mayor of London visited the Thames Barrier to launch 'London's Climate Change Strategy'. The barrier is so near to the communities that will be blighted by LCA flight expansion - and those that are the most likely to be flooded - as they sit outside the Thames Barrier. The report talks about how London is protected by tidal surges by the barrier - however vast areas of east and south London outside the barrier are not protected. They also just happen to be the areas that the government are building new homes on,many of which are, and will be blighted by any more flights from LCA.

We can only wait to see if the Mayor of London re-considers the full impact of any expansion at London City Airport particularly in view of the flawed and missing noise and air quality data in the application. He could really show his committment to a 'greener' London by putting the health, welfare and quality of lives of 100,000s of London residents in South and East London first by objecting to LCA expansion and requesting a call in of the application.

The Mayor's Full report on Climate Change Adaption Strategy can be viewed here.
To see if your home is at risk from flooding check here.

Newham Waits For NATS Report

The NATS report on the Thames Gateway Bridge and safety, which has held up the decision on LCAs expansion is still in progress. No Newham Planning hearing of the application can go ahead until the Mayor of London's office has received the report. In the meantime the Government Office for London is continuing to receive large amounts of evidence from residents in support of a call in of the application.

We will post any news on this as soon as we receive it.