Sunday, February 22, 2009

Newham Challenged on Air Quality Data by FTF Lawyers

Air quality in East London is set to further deteriorate - but the London Borough of Newham see this as nothing more than an inconvenience, so didn't really address it or plan how they will deal with it as they allow their friend Richard Gooding and LCA to expand unsustainably.

It's worth noting to those not familiar with the area that Parker Road is right by the Drew Road Primary School and by the new playground (pictured above) just 200 yards away from the airport terminal and next to residential areas. Camel Road has high density housing as does the whole area alongisde the south side of the terminal. It is rather surprising that the governers and headmistress of the school have not indicated any concern about the effect of the airport expanding on their pupils. Unbelievable in fact that they would not be concerned about the effect of growing noise and air pollution on the children. Wonder why that is?

In a letter to the London Borough of Newham Planning Department FTFs legal representative at Friends of the Earth wrote:

"Further to our recent correspondence we write to raise a further issue in respect of this application, concerning air quality. We refer to the table 3.10 at 3-30 of the supplementary addendum to the ETS, which indicates that the area of Camel Road/Parker Street (R2) is already expected to breach the NO2 limit value of 40 micrograms per litre set under the EU’s Council directive 96/62/EC, transposed by the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2007. In addition, it is projected that Camel Road/Hartmann Road (R1) will also breach the limit if the airport is expanded."

You will be aware that regulation 6 of the 2007 Regulations prescribes limit values for various pollutants. NO2 is a Group A pollutant and it is apparent from Table 3.10 of the Addendum to the ES that the limit value will be breached in 2010. In relation to R1 that breach is directly caused by the contributions from the application scheme, and in relation to R2 the increase of the exceedance is made significantly greater by the same contribution.

In these circumstances we do not understand how Table 3.14 of the same document can assert that "The proposed scheme would not contribute to air quality exceedances…" This statement appears to be contradicted by the evidence. We also note that regulation 6(2) states that the limit values "shall be attained by the attainment date…". It would appear to us that the Council would be in breach of this statutory requirement if it were to grant a planning permission which is predicted to have the direct result of breaching the limit value.

Your authority will be well aware of its duties under ss 84 and 85 of the Environment Act 1995 to designate AQMAs and to supplement information in relation to the area in question by reviewing this information. Given that the information provided in the ES indicates that a breach is likely in both Camel Road/ Parker Street and Camel Road/Hartmann Road we are unclear as to the basis on which the local authority intends to approve an application which would deepen an existing breach and make a second breach worse.

Further, the information provided through the Environmental Statement would appear to indicate that your authority should designate both of these locations as being AQMAs and produce action plans to deal with such risk. This is not a matter that appears to have been addressed in the planning officer’s report.

As set out in the air quality guidance in LAQM PG (03), air quality is capable of being a material planning consideration and the impact on ambient air quality is particularly important where the development is proposed within, or adjacent to an AQMA; and where the development or associated traffic is likely to result in predicted levels of air pollutants close to a breach (in this case the development is predicted to lead to a breach- see paragraphs 7.33 to 7.35). The planning officer’s report (paragraphs 8.6.1 to 8.6.7) refers to the mitigation options in the ES but these include matters such as "increasingly stringent legislative controls" which impact on traffic flows and the DLR. These are beyond the control of the airport operator and the local authority and therefore cannot be regarded as mitigation in the strict sense.

We note the commentary at paragraph 3.7.10 of the supplement that the predicted concentrations may be over-predicted. However, the legislation simply requires the existence of a risk of a breach rather than complete certainty. In addition, the aircraft emissions included within the assessment are simply those from the landing and take-off (LTO) cycle. In this regard we would refer you to a recent European Commission study on air quality impacts of non-LTO emissions from aviation. This study, which can be found at
concludes that Nitrogen Oxide emissions from the non-LTO phase contribute to a 1-2% increase in Nitrogen Dioxide in the vicinity of airports (see table 9 and page 52).

This underlines that the expansion of London City Airport is likely to have an adverse impact on air quality and that your authority is required to determine how this will be addressed before granting the planning application.
Isn't it strange how the Newham Planning Department could overlook all those issues? At this rate, Drew Road Primary School children won't be able to run around the block for the effect of pollution, let alone be part of the Olympics. Carry on Newham, allowing the area to be increasingly polluted - and affecting the health and development of children and residents! And all for 120 jobs at London City Airport for Newham residents after 20 years of operation. Real regeneration and benefits for the community - we think NOT.