Monday, August 31, 2009
Climate Campers headed out into London after several days of learning about climate change and taking action at the Blackheath Camp. Activists launched a flash mob at London City Airport at 12 noon.
Up to 100 Campers protested against the recently approved 50% expansion of the airport. Local residents were outraged this July as Newham Council, supported by Mayor Boris Johnson, agreed to allow an extra 50,000 plane journeys from the airport, bringing City's annual
flight total to 120,000.(2)
Climate Camper Steve Pullum of Fight the Flights Havering said: ‘We were there to protest against corporations driving the climate change agenda. They have pushed through the expansion of London City Airport against the wishes of the local community. This December the same big businesses will be flying from here to promote false solutions, like carbon trading, at the UN Climate Conference at Copenhagen. We can’t afford to let businesses drive us into
‘London City Airport and Newham Council have cooperated to misinform and deceive the residents of East London. The expansion means improving transport for the rich at the cost of further worsening air quality and noise pollution in the area, and eroding the health and wellbeing of local communities.’
"With the help of Friends of the Earth Rights and Justice Unit, Fight the flights have begun the legal challenge process leading to Judicial Review in order to try and overturn Newham's climate wrecking decision""
The aviation industry is the fastest growing CO2 emissions source in
the UK. Nearly 30 airport expansion projects are planned in the UK at the
moment. The Government plans to offset these emissions through the EU
Carbon Trading scheme, which will put the burden on developing countries
instead of actually lowering emissions.
So much for 'community policing' it seems that now the police are happy to stalk residents, but not actually speak to, or stop or search them.
The flash mob held at London City Airport today was a peaceful and successful event. An airport official was approached by a campaigner and it was explained the flash mob would be there for around an hour, peacefully, and that they hoped that this was ok. This was accepted, and despite a large police presence, the police did not interfere with this peaceful chance to express concerns about the expansion of flights, and the effect on the local environment and climate change as well as locals health and well being.
At the end of the Flash Mob rally, FTF thanked the campaigners for their support and the police for their patience.
However it seemed that the Police had rather more interest in some residents than others, and decided they would stalk them, to Drew Road Primary School, to London City Airport DLR, on the DLR to Woolwich Arsenal, and then out of the DLR to Woolwich Arsenal mainline rail station.
When asked why they were following, they claimed their vehicle had been taken. Strange that.
As law abiding citizens we found their stalking tactics pretty disgusting. It perhaps would have been preferable to have been stopped and searched. But they clearly didn't need to stop and search, as there was no reason to. But there was no reason to stalk residents either. So now we know what some of the £15,000 daily police security costs that the London taxpayer pays for London City Airport goes towards: stalking women residents.
Policemen stalking women for no reason is not acceptable, it is intimidating and a form of harassment. FTF will be asking the MET for comment on this issue, and raising this with their respective MPs.
The MET missed a trick though: in our opinion the criminals are in the offices inside the airport, busy trying to hide 8 years of planning law breaches. Any chance of the MET applying the law to them?
We share common ground in the concerns of residents quality of life around the continued expansion of London City Airport.
Please read a blog from Cllr Farooq Qureshi Liberal Democrat Councillor for Forest ward.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It is really quite surprising that the planning officer fails to realise that propeller planes are quieter than jets and as a result supports the increase in jets, the very item that causes his borough misery. Has Mr Willey simply copied a LCY press release we wonder?
It's worth pointing out that jets are category a, and if you look at the LCY noise categorisation report, there they are at the top of the tree of noise nuisance for the communities. A is the noisiest of planes to operate at LCY, b being, well quieter! But don't worry, Mr Willey continues to report that the jets are quieter....of course, that's why the noise contour has expanded to include an estimated additional 47,000 residents isn't it!?
Here's some of the issues raised to the deputy leader of Greenwich Council in May, which they have failed to be addressed.
Following on from our meeting discussing the London City Airport expansion, and the lack of factual information available to LB Greenwich at the time of making a decision at the planning committee, the following information and points are for your and the planning departments consideration.
The planning officers report, by Mr Neil Willey:
1. The officer stated that the bigger jets that are going to be used are quieter than the propeller planes. This is factually incorrect, and can be seen in the noise categorisation report attached. Propeller planes are approximately 10db's quieter than the jets which operate at the airport and they are duly categorised as a 'b' in the report, confirming that they are indeed quieter. Please see page 7 of the 2007-2008 annual categorisation report to see this.
2. Asserted that monitoring of noise levels should continue: The officer appeared not to be aware that no actual reliable noise readings had been consistently taken by London City Airport since 2000. The noise contours upon which he was given, and that he made his recommendations upon were estimated on data from 2000 (when the airport was operating very differently to now) and supplemented by technical data from aircraft manufacturers handbooks.
Therefore it is felt that the officer was not aware of the current full impact of noise and pollution on the community now, let alone in the future with the expansion of 50% more planes.
3. There was no statement of how many homes were in the Public Safety Zone in West Thamesmead. This does not appear to have been considered. Neither was it noticed that the PSZ map provided by RPS the airports consultants, failed to use the DfT methodology. This has the effect of making the map a minimum of 20-40% smaller than the correct methodology would produce.
4.There was no indication that 99% of properties in the areas most affected would NOT be entitled to noise mitigation.
5. There was no reference to the fact that no consistent and reliable air readings had been taken for 8 years - and therefore the full impact on residents could not be considered.
In a freedom of information request Greenwich planning department were asked the following:
Were the noise contours based on actual noise data?- Mr Willey the Greenwich Planning Officer answered no.
Had a PSZ map based on DfT methodology had been available? Mr Willey answered no.
Therefore Mr Willey recommend that the committee did not object, and his opinion was based on flawed and missing data. Accurate information was crucial to the consideration of the application. The Noise categorisation report 2005-2006 clearly admits that no actual reliable noise readings were taken for 8 years.
In addition the 2007-2008 report attached indicates that London City Airport has been exceeding it's 76,000 noise factored movements steadily since 2006. This is around the time that many of us first became bothered by the aircraft, and of course this was not helped by Newham approving a variation to the amount of planes that could go out on any weekday and NOT consulting us. The LCACC's graph indicates that noise factored movements have been as high as 91,000 and this is further supported in the 07/08 categorisation document.
One of the reasons stated for supporting the expansion was 'jobs' and yet there was no evidence available on how many Greenwich residents worked at the airport, though I cannot see any evidence of how many jobs were currently active when Mr Willey made his report. A report on the jobs is attached, this took almost a year to get access to. It is clear that London City Airport's claims of job creation are to be dealt with great caution, especially in absence of any evidence of the claims, and that they mix the directly employed workers with so called 'created' jobs. [we have since found out that just 66 jobs have been created for Greenwich in over 20 years, 66 jobs for 47,000 additional residents to be affected by excessive noise levels, and be forced to live in a crash zone - that puts it into perspective.]
Another issue which was not considered by the officer was the effect of increased aviation noise and emissions on human health. Jet fuel contains many additives which are harmful to human health. There are clear connections between respiratory disorders, asthma, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure and leukemia. In addition studies by Queen Mary's University and other well respected research institutions all indicate that aircraft noise affects children's development. This is particularly important in Greenwich, as the flight path affects schools in Thamesmead, and thousands of homes throughout the area up to the Bexley border. [We have since found that that no Health Impact Study was produced for Greenwich and Greenwich Council failed to address this, or indeed even notice. So much for having a planning officer who thoroughly goes through the documents and raises material concerns].
It is clear that items that should have been key to making an informed decision on this application, and how the expansion will affect the residents in Greenwich were not available.
Monday, August 24, 2009
London City Airport has admitted that it over-estimated the number of jobs which would be created by the proposed expansion of the airport by 50%. In a letter to local MP Stephen Timms, seen by the pressure group Fight the Flights, Newham Council reveals that the Airport now acknowledges that there will only be 480 new jobs.
Newham Council recently gave London City Airport permission to increase the number of flights using the airport by 50%.
Press Release dated: 24 August 2009
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
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Please do come along and tell Greenwich Council the flaws and weaknesses in London City Airports planning application and how it impacts on your lives and communities. They are there, and willing to listen, please take this opportunity to express your concerns.
Planning BoardWednesday, 26th August, 2009 6.30 pm
Venue: Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW.
More details, such as how to register to speak are here.
To see further information on the planning meeting, including the agenda and attendees, follow the link: http://committees.greenwich.gov.uk/ieAgenda.aspx?A=1196
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
Campaigning artist Jacqueline Bradshaw-Price, who runs a fine arts and restoration studio at Old Ford, used her 60 minutes of fame to highlight the issue of airport expansion.
“Someone in the crowd suggested I move,” Jacqueline told the East London Advertiser when she got down afterwards.
“But why should I move? If I went elsewhere, the person moving in after me would have the same noise problem all over again.”
Jacqueline is taking Newham Council to the Ombudsman over City Airport being allowed to expand to double the flights.
Not all the spectators were taking her campaign seriously.
“A few drunks turned up and asked if I was taking my clothes off,” Jacqueline added. “I said ‘certainly not!’ and they drifted off quickly.”
The campaign is a passion with Jacqueline, but she also found time to sketch a fewpeople in the crowd before the ‘cherry picker’ came to pick her off at midnight.FULL ARTICLE HERE
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “There was even a full moon beaming down.”
The move comes after Newham Council agreed to allow an extra 50,000 plane journeys from the airport, bringing its annual flight total to 120,000.
Residents have inundated the Guardian in the past few weeks worried about noise and pollution from extra planes and changed flightpaths from Heathrow and City airport, which is less than five miles from the borough.
Lib Dem activist Kate Garrett said her group would work with apolitical campaign group Fight the Flights to leaflet residents in Wanstead and Leyton, and were hoping to organise a public meeting in the borough next month.
She said: "It seems, from listening to Fight the Flights, that there is a good case for fighting this expansion due to the procedural failings of Newham Council when granting its permission."
Conservative MP Lee Scott and Labour MP Harry Cohen have both also previously expressed concern over the issue.
A spokeswoman for Newham Council said: “Following an extensive consultation process, which included a significant amount of input from members of the public, we are confident that this decision is in the best interest of the communities of Newham."
A spokeswoman for City Airport said the allowance of extra flights by the council showed “the airport's importance in the community, its significant contribution to the local economy and the regeneration and investment that the airport has attracted to east London."
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
The push for high speed trains to stop the nonsense of the ridiculous and harmful expansion of short haul flights can only be good. Not only that, it will deliver sustainable jobs in the infrastructure required, and the running of the services. And the down side? Well it's hard to see any.
One of our residents tells us they lived by a busy railway line for over 20 years - but that it by no way compared to London City Airport jets, or the general disruptive noise that expanding aviation inflicts on communities.Harmful emissions? Well trains have a few, but they are nowhere near the levels that aviation omit, nor do they require anywhere near the amounts of energy that aircraft require to operate in a world that's oil is just not going to last. A high speed rail network compareable to France's TGV is clearly the answer.
So while London City Airport and other airports and airlines who rely on damaging short haul flights to line their pockets say boo hoo, and throw their toys out of the pram to this news: we say thank you Lord Adonis - you have recognised what others have failed to see for too long.
Article in todays Guardian online:
Government unveils high-speed rail plan to ground short flights
Replacing plane journeys with ultra-fast train services 'manifestly in the public interest', transport secretary says
Dan Milmo and Julian Glover guardian.co.uk,
Tuesday 4 August 2009 19.22 BST Article history
Andrew Adonis: High-speed rail travel is possible in the UK Link to this video.
The government has made the demise of domestic air travel an explicit policy target for the first time by aiming to replace short-haul flights with a new 250mph high-speed rail network.
The transport secretary, Lord Adonis, said switching 46 million domestic air passengers a year to a multibillion-pound north-south rail line was "manifestly in the public interest". Marking a government shift against aviation, Adonis added that rail journeys should be preferred to plane trips.
"For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail. But we would have to have, of course, the high-speed network before we can do it," he said.
In an interview with the Guardian to launch a three-day special report on high-speed rail, Adonis revealed that plans for a new generation of ultra-fast train services are well advanced. They include:
• The publication by the end of the year of a route from London to Birmingham, including the framework to extend the line northward to Scotland.
• Building cross-party support for the network, which could see a line to the West Midlands built by 2020.
• Running high-speed trains on the existing network, which could reduce journey times from London to Scotland to three and a half hours.
• Possibly funding the £7bn London-to-Birmingham line with a public-private partnership.
Adonis said domestic and European flights to and from the UK, which carry 169 million passengers on 1.9m trips a year, should be "progressively replaced" by a high-speed rail network that will relieve congestion on existing lines and shorten train journey times across the UK.
Flights to north-west Europe are the most realistic target, after airline sources warned that further-flung destinations such as Madrid or Prague are still expected to be dominated by air travel. Short-haul flights are the most popular journey in British aviation, accounting for seven out of 10 flights. But train travel is also popular in the UK –the British public already make 1.3bn passenger rail journeys each year – so Adonis hopes it will make a serious dent in the use of short-haul air travel.
"I would like to see short-haul aviation – not just domestic aviation, but short-haul aviation – progressively replaced by rail, including high-speed rail," Adonis said. "If we want to see [this] progressive replacement … then we have got to have a high-speed rail system that links our major conurbations and makes them far more accessible to Europe, too."
The government has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80% by 2050, prompting ministers to push for use of electric cars and more investment in cycle routes. Against that backdrop, Adonis said rail should take priority over air travel.
Last night the British Air Transport Association (Bata), whose members include British Airways, Flybe and BMI – all carriers with domestic operations – said the government would not be able to eliminate flights within the UK altogether.
Roger Wiltshire, Bata secretary general, said there were still flights from the UK to Paris and Brussels despite the high-speed Eurostar service. "There are high-speed networks in France, Germany and Japan but they still have domestic air routes between their major cities. It does not have to be a question of one or the other."
Adonis's comments were welcomed by campaigners who, earlier this year, berated the government for backing a third runway at Heathrow. Richard Hebditch, campaigns director at the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "It does not make sense to be flying short distances if there is a direct rail alternative. This clearly marks a major shift away from previous government policy and the government now needs to revisit its decision on Heathrow."
However, Adonis said a high-speed rail scheme would not undermine an aviation policy that calls for new runways at Stansted and Heathrow over the next decade.
"If you look at projections for long-haul air demand the third runway just on long- haul demand alone is justified," he said. According to government estimates, air passenger numbers will nearly double to 465 million a year by 2030.
A high-speed line will have to be the UK's main infrastructure project if it is to go ahead. "If we make it a national priority, then it is affordable. If we don't, then it is not. It's as simple as that," Adonis said. He has established a company to draw up plans, to be submitted to the Department for Transport later this year.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Tubes to the ready. Subsidies for the cost of the product protection- up to £5.5 million annually are expected to be offered by our revered government to continue to appease the aviation industry and make residents think they might actually be taking their concerns seriously for once.