Tuesday, March 10, 2009

West Thamesmead Residents Monitored by Police Helicopter

Two Thamesmead residents have just reported to us that they have been monitored by a Police Helicopter after taking photographs (such as the one above) in a residential development, in which they live, by the river at West Thamesmead
The helicopter was spotted by the residents around 10 minutes into them taking photographs of the public safety zone area, planes passing and the noise contour areas in Gallions Reach Urban Residential Village, West Thamesmead, Greenwich. The photos were being taken as part of a project to highlight how ignored the area has been by Newham, Greenwich and Hazel Blears, and how it will be blighted by further expansion, and yet 99% will not be entitled to any noise mitigation whatsoever.

The area has now finally been revealed by London City Airport to be affected by 57db and 60db average noise levels - this is prior to the 50% increase in flights. The area is also going to be blanketed by the crash zone - putting 100s of homes in the area where the Department for Transport regard the risk to human life from an aviation incident higher than other areas. Yes, this is the area in which John Prescott visited and hailed it as a beacon example of the new Thames Gateway housing just 3 years ago. The Department for Communities and Local Government used to have the area listed on their website, until it courted negative press, and suddenly all reference was removed.

The residents ascended a man made hill called 'Gallions Hill' which has a panoramic view of South East London. It was as they took in the view from the top of the hill that the Police helicopter arrived above them, hovering.

Now we are not aware that it is an offence for residents to walk, nor take photographs of their local area - or IS IT? Are residents in West Thamesmead to assume that they have lost their freedom to walk and take photographs in the area in which they live?

Nice to see that the Met are spending their resources so wisely in such difficult economic times. We wonder can we assume the cost of sending out the helicopter to monitor local residents in their own neighbourhood is added to the 5 million security bill that City Airport have passed to London Taxpayers over the past 2 years? Or will it be an additional cost?

As it happens the rain saw off the residents, but they also tell us that once they had arrived back home, within about 20 minutes a Police car was seen cruising up the riverside access drive.

We'll be uploading a short video of the Police helicopter shortly, and linking the most recently available noise contours.