Fight The Flights (FTF) is a residents group made up of residents from across the boroughs affected by London City Airports operations in east/south east London and beyond. We were founded specifically to give a voice to objectors to the 50% increase in flight expansion at London City Airport. FTF is now almost two years old.
FTF was set up in direct response to many residents finding that they had not been consulted about the expansion plans of London City Airport by the London Borough of Newham. Many found out about the plans by accident, just days before the original planning deadline in October 2007. This was despite many of them living in the areas that are most affected by the airports' current and future operations: in the noise contour and crash zone.
FTF has worked hard lobbying the London Borough of Newham (the planning authority for London City Airport) during this period, producing evidence which indicated that a 50% increase in flights, in the most densely populated area of the UK, and one of the most socially deprived, was harmful to the health and welfare of residents and to the environment. We have also lobbied: MP's, Ministers, Councillors, The Mayor of London, GLA, LDA, the secretary of state, local councils, and non governmental organisations such as the RSPB. We have also been to the Houses of Parliament and City Hall for meetings to discuss the issues. Since October 2007 we have been actively working with Friends of the Earth and have received legal advice and guidance from them on the planning application and support in growing our campaign. We also work with other individuals and residents groups such as the Heathrow Association for Control of Air Noise (HACAN), John Stewart, voted by the Independent as the UK's top environmental campaigner and Stop Stansted Expansion (SSE) along with others.
Fight The Flights concerns are for the community and the environment. We are gravely concerned that the London Borough of Newham have allowed London City Airport to neglect it's legal obligations in regard to noise and air monitoring during 2000-2008, failing to consistently measure either during this period. The planning application was based on a considerable amount of 'estimated' data from the airport due to this, and which the council have accepted over the concerns of residents, who are increasingly complaining about noise levels and odours from fuel burn by their homes. Newham also has the highest rates of mortality in under 30s with asthma in the country which adds further concern on how such brazen expansion will continue to impact on human health. It is estimated that pollution from airports travels approximately 20 miles downwind of the runway.
Newham Council voted to approve the 50% flight expansion, taking the current annual air traffic movements up to 120,000 a year. On challenge from Friends of the Earths' Rights and Justice Centre the council were asked to review the air quality data, and justify the lack of a race equality impact study. The council met again on Wednesday 8 July 2009 to consider the further issues raised, and have once again approved the expansion despite data showing that air pollution levels are already exceeding the EU Limits. LB Newham have also stated that there is no requirement for a race equality impact study, despite the airport being in the most ethnically diverse borough in the country.
Airport consultants have advised that the pollution levels can be mitigated by encouraging more LCY users to change their transport methods to and from the airport. We do not believe that this would result in the shift required to reduce air pollution levels to beneath the levels set by the EU's council directive and the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2007.
Even after the introduction of the DLR service to the airport over 3 years ago statistics show that around 56% of passengers still travel to and from the airport by vehicle, be that taxi, private hire, or private car.
Newham Council continue to justify their decision by the job creation claims of London City Airport. However the airport has failed to deliver on job creation promises before. In 1998 they estimated 4,275 jobs by 2005. However after over 20 years of operation the airport still only directly employs just over 120 Newham residents, and has breached the planning conditions in not meeting employment targets set over the past 10 years. Newham Council continue to ignore this, along with the airport operating over 20,000 more flights in year ending 2008 than allowed in their planning approval. Newham have taken no action to enforce the planning conditions despite residents repeatedly requesting that they do so.
Most of all, FTF wants the communities to be treated fairly, and they have not. We cannot meet climate change targets by allowing unfettered flight expansion, nor can we improve, or even maintain the quality of life or health of the residents in these areas if the London Borough of Newham is listening to business facts rather than environmental and health facts.
Since the most recent planning officers report, and the decision by Newham to continue to support the expansion we have received legal advice. We have been advised that there is a very strong case for a judicial review.
We are asking for your assistance to help us put social justice, the environment and the health and welfare of the communities at the heart of this planning decision. FTF residents all work, but are not able to afford to fund a legal case themselves and are campaigning in the second most socially deprived borough in London, which severely limits funding directly from residents.
We are seeking funding for the legal costs of a judicial review from organisations or individuals who have an interest in protecting our environment and of promoting social justice, and the health and safety of some of the most deprived areas in the country. If you wish to donate an amount, small or large please use our PayPal service, or alternatively you can use our PO Box number if you wish to send a cheque. If you would like to find out more about the campaign and our work please contact us.
London City Airport expansion has been the 'forgotten' expansion despite it now being regarded as a major airport, and despite our best efforts. We believe it is one of the most harmful expansions in the country, due to it's location in the most densely populated area of the country. Please help us to access fairness and justice for the people who are in the most affected areas, but whom have been denied a voice.
Fight the Flights