Thursday, October 29, 2009

Multiple Bird Strike Incident On New York LCY A318 Service

We've raised the issue, and concern about the possibility of birdstrike around London City Airport in the past questioning what makes for greater risk and whether required considerations were being actively put into practice.

However this time the already beleagured British Airways A318 London City Airport to New York Service experienced multiple bird strike on the other side of the Atlantic. Reports indicate that the bird strike was serious enough to force the BA A318 back to JFK. The incident was such that it even forced a cancellation of the flight rotation.

It is hard not to question how multiple bird strike on take off from LCY would be dealt with - and we have always found that to be a serious issue of concern considering that the airport is situated in the middle of the most densely populated area of the country. The airports' proximity to the river, docks, sewage works and waste plants all mean it is in an area with large concentrations of those birds most at risk: gulls, swans, herons and geese. The airport has even admitted in response to a Newham residents complaint about the noise from bird scaring activities that it was due to 'an over concentration of gulls'. Well fancy that, a lot of gulls being by the river! Why not add to that the lapwings that are in groups of 30+ that regularly 'visit' the sky above the airport, the geese, and the swans. Bird scaring activities are active on the runway, but they are not on low level approach and take off.

Airports and airlines might not like to discuss such possibilities, and make claims that there are few incidents - but the fact remains they DO happen and residents have the right to make informed opinions about such matters by being provided with the facts.

The full article beneath is from the Aviation Herald:

Incident: British Airways A318 at New York on Oct 14th 2009, multiple bird strikes

A British Airways Airbus A318-100, registration G-EUNB performing flight BA-4 from New York JFK,NY (USA) to London City,EN (UK), had departed JFK's runway 22R and was climbing to 11000 feet on eastward radar vectors, when the airplane experienced multiple bird strikes. The crew levelled off at 11000 feet and entered a holding for troubleshooting and burning off fuel, then decided to return to JFK, where the airplane landed safely on runway 22L about 60 minutes after departure.The rotation BA-1/2 had to be cancelled on Oct 15th as a result.

You can see the flights' movements here:

Friday, October 23, 2009

Waltham Forest Cllrs Blast 'Arrogance' of Newham Council

A Liberal Democrat motion submitted to Waltham Forest Council demanding action over the lack of consultation on the expansion of London City Airport was last night unanimously supported by ALL parties. This blow has been dealt to London City Airport and Newham Council after an avalanche of complaints was received by Waltham Forest councillors, many from residents who have been newly affected by London City Airport aircraft noise over their homes.

The motion (see beneath) requested a list of items to be addressed and actioned including an investigation into why Waltham Forest was not formally consulted over the expansion of flights at London City Airport by Newham Council. As Newham Council is the planning authority for the airport, it is Newham's responsibility to formally consult on any changes proposed by the airport.

The Liberal Democrats have shown an outstanding committment to their communities on putting this issue on the agenda. As a result, it is most welcome to now see an all party group set up to deal with the injustice that Waltham Forest residents have been dealt by being denied a voice. Cllr Bob Sullivan stated, as quoted in an article in the Waltham Forest Guardian:

“The planning application was granted by Newham Council. Who decided they could impose on us more noise and pollution without consulting us? How arrogant.”

Cllr Qureshi who led on this issue showed his committment on the councils role in cutting carbon emissions, stating:

"This problem will not go away. It is going to stay with us and we need to fight against it.”

Congratulations to the Leyton and Waltham Forest Liberal Democrats, and to Labour and the Conservatives who will now be working on this as a community issue in the all party group for the benefit of the residents. It is refreshing to see a responsible all party council leading by example, putting their residents and the environment on the agenda, and not ignoring the erosion of quality of life, health and environment.

The full details of the original motion submitted are displayed beneath:

A. Expansion of London City Airport

Notice of the above Motion was given in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 13.
Councillor F. Qureshi will move; Councillor R. Sullivan will second
This Council recognises resident concern over the expansion of London City Airport, and believes that the increased number of flights using the airport – and the associated noise nuisance and environmental impact - is detrimental to Waltham Forest residents.

Therefore this Council requests that the Chief Executive:

· Carries out an immediate investigation into what Waltham Forest Council knew about London City Airport expansion and flight path changes, and what action was taken on the Council’s behalf.

· Writes to the Mayor of Newham, condemning the lack of consultation and their decision to allow further expansion of London City Airport, stressing the negative impact this decision has had on residents of Waltham Forest.

· Writes to the Mayor of London asking why he supported the expansion of London City Airport and what consideration was given to the detrimental impact of the expansion on residents of Waltham Forest.

· Write to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and NATS to ask what action they took to consult residents of Waltham Forest on the changes to flight paths and London City expansion.

· Asks the EU commissioner to investigate the expansion of London City Airport and the impact it has had on residents of Waltham Forest and East London.

· Investigates the option of Waltham Forest launching its own legal action against Newham Council over the non-consultation on the expansion of London City Airport.

This Council requests that the Chief Executive reports his findings back to councillors at the earliest opportunity.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

PRESS RELEASE: Legal challenge to London City Airport clears first legal hurdle

Anne-Marie Griffin of Fight the Flights said: “The High Court has today given us costs protection for our legal challenge to Newham’s decision allowing increased flights from London City Airport”.

Without costs protection, Fight the Flights would have been at risk of unlimited costs liability and could not have proceeded with the case. Costs protection is only normally given where the Court recognises the public importance of the case.

“This is a very important case and we now look forward to pursuing the case to the next stage.”


Editor's Notes:

1. Newham council was taken to court on 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. Press release:

2.Fight the Flights is a cross borough residents group which was formed to inform and campaign against the expansion of London City Airport:

Friday, October 09, 2009

FTF at Oxfam's Climate Question Time - Newham

At the Newham Oxfam Climate Question Time: Stephen Timms MP, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, was very keen on aviation growth....whilst making it clear that us mere mortals have so many ways in which we can reduce our
emissions! Strangely for a Financial Secretary to the Treasury , there was NO mention of what BUSINESS could do to help with climate change, the local environment and the required reduction in emissions: that is until that issue was raised in relation to aviation by a member of the audience.

Timms is very keen on allowing the rich (the richly subsidised and pocketing aviation industry in particular) to trade in carbon credits - the European Emissions Trading Scheme. This is the answer to all the climate issues of the world, well that's what he believes. We'd like him to review that after what he heard at Wednesday's meeting.

Apparently the tax that will be collected from the scheme would be of great benefit when government throw a brown paper bag of notes over to areas such as flooded Bangladesh, after the damage from climate change has already occurred of course. Timms referred this to 'environmental mitigation' . Mitigation in Newham - it's put into policy and planning documents but rarely put into practice for the benefit of it's residents.

Personally, we suspect this money wouldn't be any more use at that point, in terms of 'mitigation', than a few sandbags being handed out once everything has already been lost and washed away. It was pointed out that this was simply allowing the rich to pay to pollute the poor, that it was selfish and an irresponsible policy unless the government was willing to halt growing emissions, from the aviation industry for example. Otherwise surely it was a case of continuing to allow the annual 3,000 premature deaths in London and the floods in Bangladesh to further deteriorate, and to throw money at those groups after they suffer, and lives are lost, whilst government and big businesses continued 'business as usual' wasn't it? This surely at the very least is nothing more than patronising, devalues the worth of individuals, and once again values money above all other factors?

Public transport, poverty and car use in Newham was also raised. There's a lot of problems with transport and inequalities in Newham. Timms displaying just how out of touch he is with residents in his borough, claimed that there had been huge transport improvements: DLR (paid for by taxpayers) and Eurostar..and that buses had improved. DLR and Eurostar are a luxury to residents in one of the most socially deprived boroughs in London.

A lady on the bus told us that she couldn't afford/nor was it practical to travel by tube/DLR to her job in EC1.She spends almost 4 hours a day travelling into the city for her minimum wage. It takes so long as the bus often simply doesn't turn up so she has to allow extra time, lots of extra time. Her 4 children and husband are used to her being out 12 hours a day, but are not happy about it and worry about her safety. We've heard from more than one MP say they wouldn't use public transport/or go out alone in the evening because of concern for their personal safety. Unfortunately most residents don't have employers (yes, us the taxpayers) who will pay for them to stay over in hotels, or perhaps pay for them to travel by taxis so they don't have to face those scary, and long commutes over short distances to and from work. It's no wonder so many people struggle to run cars to get around, but they are the very people who government appear to be looking to for reducing emissions whilst big business carries on increasing theirs. These issues clearly all provide barriers to employment, and a way out of poverty and pollution in Newham, but they are certainly not ones that the local politicians seem to grasp.

But don't worry, residents might not be able to afford to get to work in a time efficient way, or have the time to travel to work for 4 hours a day because of family responsibilities...BUT there are more flights for the rich, who don't live in Newham, don't contribute to Newham but whom DO use London City Airport and whom leave rather a lot of pollution behind for the less privileged to breathe.

It was interesting that Timms started his initial answer to all these points that 'the answer is not to shut London City Airport' (trebles all round for that statement in the airport hospitality room for Timms next time he visits). Strangely the audience member who posed the questions had not even made such a suggestion that the airport should close, but instead highlighted the importance of 'balanced decisions, taking all issues into account, but certainly not allowing the airport to expand''. .

But Timms is banking on biofuels for aviation (he failed to mention about the mass de-forestation and food crops declining as a result of the current poorly planned quest for unsustainable biofuels though). Unfortunately you couldn't help but feel that banking might be the operative word, yes governments banking that money all the way to the bank, whilst further damaging our environment, communities and seeing premature deaths continue to rise in London. In fact Newham even knows a bit about biofuels as it's also approved a more than controversial biofuel plant which is alleged will pour yet more harmful emissions and asthma inducing pollutants into the already over polluted air in East London.

Timms, although we are sure he is an exceptionally personable individual is sorely misguided and wrong. He simply misses the issues that are right beneath his nose in his own constituency, let alone globally. Perhaps this was apparent in his inability to answer the questions that were put to him.

Thanks to Oxfam for their great work in encouraging debate in communities and bringing the issues to a local level and also to the two NGO panel members invited by Oxfam: Sabino Miranda of the Climate Change Youth Development Trust and Monjural from the European Action Group on Climate Change in Bangladesh. These groups and individuals are carrying out such valuable grass roots work, building communities and building understanding.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Support Our Heathrow Colleagues This Saturday - Join the Ceilidh!

Have fun and support the fight against Heathrow’s Third Runway. Local campaigners will be holding

A Ceilidh

This Saturday, 10th October, 7 – 11pm

West Drayton Community Centre
Harmondsworth Rd, West Drayton

(beside West Drayton Police Station – nearest station West Drayton. Then 222 bus.

If you have been to a Barn Dance, you’ll enjoy a Ceilidh! But no need to dance! Just come an enjoy the atmosphere and support the campaign.
Entrance £3 (if you can afford it)
More details are on the NoTRAG website

Monday, October 05, 2009

Wanstead Lib Dem Meeting: LCY Growth Flies in the Face Of Climate Obligations

With so many new residents (46,000 additional residents in the new noise contour alone) now being affected by London City Airports operations we felt it would be a good time to post the airports Forecast Annual Air Transport movements. These are available in the airports growth plan which is available in full here. Please click on the image beneath to view the data.

LCY adds a comment to the above figures as follows:

"LCY believes that the theoretical capacity of its runway, operating for the equivalent of about 14 hours a day, five full and two half days a week, would be in the order of 215,000 aircraft movements per year." p18-19 LCY growth plan.

Wanstead & Leyton Lib Dem Meeting
These plans were discussed at the Liberal Democrat Meeting in Leyton last friday in the presence of Wanstead and Leyton Lib Dems and MEP Baroness Sarah Ludford and London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon. FTF and HACAN were asked to speak as guests at the meeting organised by Cllr Qureshi to address the issues of growing aircraft noise and pollution over the borough.

A conservative councillor was also present at the meeting and there was committment between both parties to work together on this growing community issue.

Baroness Sarah Ludford MEP said:

"The doubling of flights at London City flies in the face of EU and UK commitments to combat climate change. In making local people's lives a misery it also threatens to breach European standards on air pollution and noise limits."

"I will continue to oppose Heathrow and London City expansion by taking the fight to Brussels. The EU cares more about Londoners' health than Whitehall, Town Hall or City Hall."

Liberal Democrat London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon stated that:

"Boris Johnson talks about improving the environment for Londoners but his real record is totally different. It is a disgrace that he has given his full support to the doubling of flights out of London City Airport."

"At City Hall I will do everything I can to persuade the Mayor to change his mind on this vital issue."

More details of the meeting can be found here.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

London City Airport Finally Starts Noise Action Plan Consultation

London City Airport has finally commenced the consultation for the noise action plans, well behind that of BAA.

You can take part in the consultation by visiting London City Airport's website here and there's a few words from the airport beneath. Please try to be serious as you read "The airport already has an extensive noise mitigation scheme in place with strict restrictions on operating hours " Yes, we know you've been denied noise mitigation despite living in the noise contour zone, and that the airport failed to take any reliable noise and air readings in over 8 years, but this is serious as this is your chance to contribute to this consultation.

We have read through the consultation and initial comment is that the airport has ignored the aim of the European Noise Directive objective which states that it is "to define a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce on a prioritized basis the harmful effects, including annoyance, due to exposure to environmental noise”.

The airport states in the Noise Action Plan introduction that "it has been drafted to manage the issues of noise arising from London City Airport's operations over the next five years".

However despite this rather poor start, we positively encourage you to have a read through and submit your comments. If you should wish to receive any guidance or assistance with any aspect of responding to this consultation, or explanation of terms, then please do not hesitate to contact:

London City Airport has launched a 16 week public consultation on its draft noise action plan. During the consultation period, local communities, councils and other stakeholders will be invited to comment on the airport’s draft plan. The consultation will commence on 28 September 2009 and conclude on 15 January 2010.

The noise action plan has been drafted to manage the issues of noise arising from London City Airport’s operations over the next five years.

Download Draft Noise Action Plan

Commenting on the launch of the consultation, Richard Gooding OBE, chief executive of London City Airport, said “The airport already has an extensive noise mitigation scheme in place with strict restrictions on operating hours , restricted use of aircraft types and a sound insulation scheme that has the lowest trigger of any airport in the UK. The control measures proposed in the noise action plan will enable the airport to work closer with its neighbouring communities over the next five years.”London City Airport has drafted its noise action plan in response to a directive published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). The directive requires airport operators to prepare draft noise action plans designed to manage noise issues arising from aircraft departing from and arriving at airports. Upon conclusion of the public consultation, London City Airport will collate and consider all responses to the noise action plan. Consultation responses can be submitted electronically - click here.

Alternatively please post your response to:
Kellie Heath
London City Airport
City Aviation House
Royal Docks
E16 2PB

Download/Print Noise Action Plan Questionnaire
Download Summary of Draft Noise Action Plan

Regeneration sinks around London City Airport

London City Airport keeps saying they are good for the local economy and that it attracts investment into the area. Perhaps they can take credit for the failure of the £1.5bn Silvertown Quays regeneration. Europe's largest Aquarium project (Biota!) is sinking! It has been given a 90 day notice by the London Development Agency.

Newham Council has approved expansion even though the brand new Building 1000 remained empty for 5 years, failing to attract a single corporate client. In the end Newham Council bought this building at cost of £100m (or so). And another 3 similar buildings were never built! So in all the airport allegedly appears to have cost £400m for the Royal Docks business park plus £1.5bn for Silvertown Quays.

The following is from the Evening Standard, but some other media sources are being more optimistic saying that Silvertown Quay Ltd would find an investor within the deadline. But the project has been dithering since 2002.... It they could not get off the ground during the boom, can they succeed during such a time?

Just how much say did Mayor Boris Johnson have in this?

Plans for a £1.5 billion development in east London which was set to include Europe's largest aquarium were in tatters today after the owners of the site pulled the plug on the deal.

The scheme for the land adjacent to London City Airport was meant to feature a sandy beach as well as 5,000 homes. But landowner London Development Agency has withdrawn from an agreement with its partners, the Silvertown Quays consortium, after the plans failed to progress in seven years.

Planning permission was given for the 68-acre site in April 2007 but the scheme, designed by
Sir Terry Farrell, fell victim to the property slump.

Contributed by a Newham resident.

Friday, October 02, 2009

TONIGHT! FTF & HACAN Talk at Leyton & Wanstead Lib Dems THIS Friday

Fight the Flights with it's alliance partner HACAN will be attending a Leyton and Wanstead Lib Dem meeting to give a talk on the effects of London City Airport and other flight expansion over East London on:

Friday 2nd October, 7pm

Quaker Meeting Hall, Bush Road, E11

All Welcome
Nearest tube: Leytonstone

If you require any further information please contact the Lib Dems , or ourselves if it is campaign related.
London City Airport and the CAA were asked by the Lib Dems to attend the meeting, but sadly both declined this opportunity to talk to you, the residents who have to live with the decisions they make and the impact of their operations.