Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Friends of the Earth press release

Newham council is being taken to court today [28 September 2009] by local residents over its decision to allow a 50 per cent increase in flights at London City Airport without considering changes to Government policy on climate change or consulting local people.

Fight The Flights, a community group represented by lawyers at Friends of the Earth’s Rights & Justice Centre, says that before approving the airport’s expansion in July this year, the council should have considered the Government’s intention to reduce aviation emissions to below 2005 levels by 2050 – part of its effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act.

Fight The Flights said Newham council had also failed to consult neighbouring boroughs such as Waltham Forest, even though they will be significantly affected as a result of changes to flight paths since July.

Fight The Flights’ Anne-Marie Griffin said:

“Increasing flights at London City Airport is completely wrong – it will bump up carbon emissions and add to the misery of local people who are already suffering from poor air quality and noise disturbance. There are much better ways to bring jobs to this area.

“We appeal to members of the public who care about the environment and about our community to help us fight this decision by donating to help fund our legal challenge.”

Friends of the Earth’s Head of Legal Phil Michaels said:

“The decision to expand London City Airport is ludicrous and should be reversed – to tackle climate change we urgently need to curb flights, not increase them.

“This legal challenge aims to give both the planet and local people a voice in this sort of decision.

“Councils have a vital role to play in delivering the emissions cuts science tells us are needed – instead of supporting airport expansion Mayor Boris Johnson should be helping London boroughs boost their local economies in ways that will benefit both people and the environment.

“If the Government is serious about tackling climate change it must drop all its plans to expand British airports and concentrate on making low-carbon alternatives to flying – such as fast rail services and teleconferencing – an attractive and affordable option.”

Newham’s decision to expand the airport will increase flights from the airport from 73,000 to 120,000 a year. Fight The Flights is appealing to the public to help fund its legal challenge against the council by pledging donations via post and its website. The group will also be protesting at London City Airport tomorrow [29 September 2009], as the first of British Airways’ new twice-daily transatlantic business flights leave LCA for New York – also criticised by Friends of the Earth on climate grounds.


Notes to Editors

1. The decision to increase flights at London City Airport by 50 per cent was initially made in October 2008. Friends of the Earth’s Rights and Justice Centre submitted a number of letters to Newham council in protest, raising the issues of climate change, air quality and race equality. On 15 January 2009 the Government announced its intention to reduce aviation emissions to below 2005 levels by 2050. Newham council decided to proceed with expansion anyway, reconfirming their decision at a planning meeting on 8 July 2009 and issuing formal grant of approval. The council responded to Friends of the Earth’s letters in a report, saying despite the various issues raised, they would still proceed with expansion.

Fight The Flights has a blog at To raise funds for the legal challenge they are asking members of the public to donate money. Cheques and correspondence should be sent to Fight The Flights Coalition, PO Box 64858, London SE28 9AQ. To pay by Paypal and for more information see Details of the group’s demonstration tomorrow against British Airways new business flights can be found at

Friends of the Earth’s reaction to the new twice daily 32-seater business flights from London City Airport to New York is available at

Friends of the Earth’s Rights & Justice Centre provides access to legal advice and representation to people wishing to use the law to protect their communities and the environment. The Centre operates a free legal advice line for members of the public on 0808 801 0405 (open between 6.30-8.30 pm on Wednesday and 11-2pm on Thursday). Further information at

Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. For further information visit