Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Roger Evans Blogs An Apology

It is important that we share the blog and link beneath with you.

Fair play to Roger for doing this, it took some courage to do after having made such strong comments about us previously on his blog. Emails were exchanged between Roger and FTF, and we do not intend to publish those as they are based on trust and confidentiality.

Roger has indeed emailed Anne-Marie of FTF, and a meeting is being arranged between the group and Roger. We hope that this will lead to a more positive working relationship in the future, even if it does end up being a case of agreeing to disagree, but we are optimistic and good willed.

Roger Evans - City Hall Blog
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Was Wrong - And I Apologise

Since the weekend, I have received a large number of comments taking me to task for my remarks on Sunday. Anne-Marie Griffin from Fight The Flights has also contacted me by email. Behind the anger were some shocking stories from people who had to live close to the airport for years. I see now that coming on top of everything they have endured, my infamous 'Taliban' comment must have seemed like the last straw.It was a throwaway line, intended to liven up my report of Peoples' Question Time in March, but to some it looked unbelievably callous. I think I understand now, so:I am very sorry for the hurt that my ill considered words caused to local residents, including the people who made official complaints. It was unintentional but I realise that is no excuse. I also deeply regret the time it has taken for me to grasp the reality of this situation. I was wrong and I hope they can accept my apology.

In 20 years of political experience I have never reached a view based on pique - despite my reactions on Sunday afternoon. By training I am a scientist and a lawyer, and I'm usually too dispassionate, if anything. Some comments suggested I am in the pocket of the airport, but that is not the case.I have sought to keep my options open on this issue because I'm not sure if my constituents are winners or losers overall. There are those who work at the airport, rely on it for business, or use it to travel, and the view of economic development advisors is that it provides a boost for East London.

I want to protect peoples' livelihoods particularly in a recession.On the other hand, there are residents who are disturbed by noise and who have a right to a calm environment. So far the complaints in my postbag are few, but they have the potential to increase and I have noticed more overflying recently. It is a delicate balance to strike, with far reaching consequences.So I have asked Anne-Marie if she would be willing to meet me to put her case and share her experiences.

To ensure balance I will also be seeking a meeting with the airport management. And I would be interested in other views too - your comments are invited.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

London City Airport Consultative Committee: Undemocratic, intimidating and bully boy tactics

Reports of 'closed meetings'

residents who attend meetings and ask questions referred to as 'troublemakers' by Dennis James (the representative for Custom House and Canning Town Community Forum) and whom stated 'we want to keep these troublemakers out'

suggestion by committee that changing the constitution will be the way to stop residents with awkward questions attending, and the intention to stop anybody other than committee reps attending the meetings.

committee chair, John Adshead shouting at resident to 'get out of meeting' as it was a 'closed meeting' despite the resident attendee having been shown in by staff.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Flight Path Talk Was Blocked

Today's Report on the Romford Recorder
HAVERING Council has been accused of deliberately stifling criticism of controversial flightpaths over the borough.

Residents at the Hornchurch Area Committee meeting held at Langtons Junior School last Tuesday, April 7, were furious that the council twice delayed debate on proposals for increased aircraft flights over Hornchurch.

Under a proposal made by the National Air Transport Service, two flight paths from London City Airport would be re-directed over Hornchurch.

Coupled with the airport's plan to increase flights by 50-per-cent, this could spell a daily increase of 40 flights per day crossing the borough.

Yet when Havering Council had the chance to voice an opinion on these proposals, which many residents fear will create added noise and pollution, it did not respond to consultations, or invite residents to comment, the meeting heard.

Labour Leader Cllr Keith Darvill planned to raise a critical motion on the administration's inaction at a full council meeting in early February. But he never got the chance as the meeting was cut short because of snow.

He was stopped from raising the issue at the last council meeting in March, when yet again, it ran out of time.

Cllr Darvill will now have to wait until the end of July - six months after he first planned to raise the issue.

Hornchurch residents slammed the delay at the area committee meeting, with one saying: "I was at that council meeting and it's pretty obvious that the administration deliberately tried to fiddle it so that this hasn't been heard.

"They don't want to debate it, they just want a vote where they can steamroll it."

Cllr John Mylod said: "It was up for debate on two accounts and it was talked out. Instead, they dealt with silly things they probably shouldn't have."

Cllr Keith Darvill said he wanted the motion to be debated, rather than simply voted on. He said: "There was a delay on debate because of a long discussion on members' allowances, and then the Ombudsman report on Mark Cannon."

Leader of the Council, Cllr Michael White said later: "I have become increasingly aware of residents' concerns about the planned changes to flight paths and we will contribute to the NATs consultation on the flight paths."

"All motions are placed on the agenda after general business, voting, reports, questions and other business are debated. Unfortunately we didn't get time to debate this motion but it is listed as the first motion for the next time and I look forward to the debate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

London City Airport Jobs: False Hopes, Cruel Hoax

The disingenuous London City Airport continues to be revealed as purposely feeding the communities with inaccurate and misleading information in a bid to quell objections. And what for? To get what they want: a load of money at the expense of residents suffering from ill health, and decreased educational attainment all from increasing pollution levels.
We all know the biggest stick and carrot an airport can wave at gullible and ill informed councils is the promise of job creation. Oh and isn't that emotive in a borough that has high unemployment levels even when the rest of the country levels had been relatively low!

You see, the poorly skilled elected officials at the London Borough of Newham chose to overlook the previous multitude of broken promises from London City Airport on many issues, including on the job creation front. LB Newham are however rather quick to help LCA on making out that there are more jobs for Newham residents than there actually are - that is how desparate Sir Robin Wales is to not let down his mate and alleged fellow funny hand shaker! You can read about the lies and broken promises about jobs here and here.

But using jobs as bait in a bid to get harmful aviation expansion approved is not unique to London City Airport. We cordially invite you to read an excellent piece of work recently written by Brendon Sewell: Airport Jobs: False Hopes, Cruel Hoax.

It doesn't have London City Airports data but that is probably because job statistics from the airport, although legally required under the Section 106 by the LB Newham are like trying to access a document under the official secrets act. A recent FOI request to Newham was rejected because apparently the airport only has this data. We don't think so! We know Newham have this data, but simply don't want to release it because it yet again proves the point that the airport has indeed given false hopes over the years, which have indeed ended up as cruel hoaxes to local residents.

if you are a resident who believes the likes of that ignoramous Stephen Timms MP and is confident in just how much locals have benefited from 'direct employment' at the airport (not from the guy who grinds the flour, that makes the bread, that ends up in Bewleys bread but whom lives 200 miles away for instance!)as a result of its expansion, we invite you to ask LB Newham for the annual statistics and breakdown of employees by borough, salary ranges, and contract types? It wont make for comfortable reading for you at all.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Buchanon Wheels Off: Toad On The Road

Charles Buchanan has disappeared from London City Airport. Why should you be interested you ask? Well for those of you who went to the shambles of the Planning Meeting at LB Newham will remember him as the smug toad who sat crossed armed laughing and smiling at protesters and residents. Such was the anger he instilled that people actually shouted at the speaker to ask him to stop his smug, smarmy little smirks.

Richard Gooding of course wouldn't have the bottle to stand up and face real people so Charlie was the canary they sent down the mine. Now that the face of expansion at the council and airport disappears it still leaves us with the disastrous consequences. We have seen communications from Charlie only weeks ago still trying to persuade people about the benefits of expansion. Well according to his Linkedin profile he's still there. Maybe his one connection will actually believe that. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/4/820/990

Charlie over his tenure seemed more adept at collecting titles rather than actually doing anything productive - Director of Business Development , Strategy Director and Strategy and Communications Director. His handling of objections to the airport were disasterous. The masterplan (nothing master about it at all) looks like it's to be consigned to history with everyone from Boris Johnson to the Green Party saying that it would be hard to justify anymore expansion or calling for the airport to be closed. Every single candidate in the recent Royal Docks by-election were against expansion.

Year to date the airport business is down 9.6% while Charlies little baby - The Jet Centre - is down a spectacular 35%!

One has to wonder what has happened - has Charles Buchanon been sacked? No press release from the airport and as they only announce good news - this obviously isn't! Perhaps Charlie had more of those open conversations on the DLR about the plans of London City Airport, and their cosy relationship with LB Newham?

But here at FTF we have to salute Buchanan - such was peoples ire after watching his actions at the planning meeting, here at FTF we were inundated by upset people offering help and assistance helping us go from strength to strength. Over the weekend make sure you raise a glass "to A Right Charlie!" or was that "a 'smarmy Charlie?!"