Friday, February 26, 2010

Havering Council's u-turn on London City Airport plan welcomed

CAMPAIGNERS have welcomed a belated U-turn by Havering Council to oppose the expansion of City Airport.

Council leader Michael White has now firmly stated the borough's objection to the plan for air traffic to increase by around 50 per-cent.

He wrote: "This council opposes any expansion of the airport. It also opposes any changes to the mode of operation of the airport, its hours of operation, flight paths or increases in aircraft noise."

The London Assembly has also asked Mayor Boris Johnson for an urgent review.

Assembly member Murad Qureshi, who put forward a motion on Wednesday, said there is deep concern about the 'nuisance' an increase from 80,000 to 120,000 flights per year would cause residents.

Steve Pullum, of pressure group Fight the Flights, was pleased at the reaction to Newham's "flawed" Noise Action Plan.

Mr Pullum said Havering had previously sat on a decision, offered no consultation and deferred to Newham with the caveat of policing the noise - which, he said, "they clearly haven't done.

"Gatwick, Stanstead and Heathrow are managed by the Civil Aviation Authority. Small airports are managed by the borough that contains them, in London City Airport's case Newham, which has had to submit a Noise Action Plan."

"But Newham has had to admit that it didn't record any accurate noise data for eight years because their equipment wasn't working. If you were cynical, you would have to say they made it up."

Newham's poor handling of its responsibilities has seen potential support for the project evaporate. Its officials failed to write to affected boroughs, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, prompting both to unanimously oppose the plan.

Economic promises and job creation teasers, initially appealing to Havering, have also proven unfounded.

Labour leader Keith Darvill said: "The economic benefits have been exaggerated. Other boroughs are being much more rigorous now. Newham is in it for the jobs, but other boroughs are saying hold on a minute this is going to affect us.

"There is no proof that a single job would be created here."

The proposal now hangs on a High Court judicial review expected this summer where campaigners hope to strike a decisive blow claiming Newham failed to properly consult and use up to date climate change science in its plans.

From The Romford Recorder LINK HERE....

Thursday, February 25, 2010

City Jet Boss Wants Weekend Flight Restrictions Lifted at City Airport

As reported in the Wharf:

London City Airports biggest airline has called for an end to the restrictions on weekend flights.
Cityjets CE Geoffrey O Brien White said the rules were damaging to the economy of East London.

He said "We need to increase our flights to the airport , paticulary at weekends. I would like to see restrictions at weekends removed.

We've got to realise we're in the middle of a recession , companies are going out of business and there is a demand for flights here with places like The O2 and Excel around the corner.
Weekends would be a different market with people going to leisure events and things like soccer matches.Coming to London is a big attraction".

The weekend restrictions are in place under Section 106 rules attached to planning agreements with Newham Council. Currently the airport is closed to air traffic between 12.30pm on saturdays to 12.30 pm on sundays to allow residents relief from noise. Up to 100 flights are allowed on saturday morning and 200 on sunday afternoon.However the airport is not allowed exceed 280 over the whole weekend.

However , Mr O Brien White whose airline has 600 flights a week from london city , said improvements in aviation technology should see that changed.
He said " The aircraft there now are paticularly quiet. None of the other airports we use have rules like these.Even if its just a small number of flights at weekends , it would be a great improvement"

However a spokesman for London City played down the chances for it pushing for a relaxation of the limits. She Said "The restrictions are in place due to an agreement with Newham council.We have no plans to seek any changes"

FTF Comment

We predicted over 2 years ago that huge areas of East London would find themselves increasingly suffering because of the increased use of jets and of more flights - many of which are Cityjet ( a subsidiary of Air France KLM Group) operated. The larger jets using the airport are considerably NOISIER than the propellor planes which had previously made up the majority of flights until the past few years. The jets that City Jet and other airline companies use from London City Airport are the operations from LCY which create the most noise pollution across East London.

FTF has also expressed concerns regarding the opening hours of City Airport changing - and it has been indicated by the airport not so long ago that if the demand was there to open at the weekends that they would consider this.

Residents will not welcome the comments by City Jet and we suspect that most East London Boroughs and politicians won't either. Geoffrey O'Brien White shows the characteristics which the GLA members referred to when referring to the attitude of BAA towards the residents in West London.

Perhaps Mr O'Brien White should consider it is because residents live just a few hundred yards from the airport, and the fact that it is in the most densely populated area in the UK is why no other airport has the same restrictions on flight times? His comments simply further confirm that big business simply does not care for East London communities health and well being and will drive their quest for profits at the cost of anything, or anybody.

It is also worth us pointing out that the hours of operation at the weekend were wrongly quoted in the newspaper.

Flights stop at 13:00 on saturdays and commence at 12:30 on Sunday a 23hr and 30 minute flight free time. It is worth noting that despite this 'break' that flights operate out of London City Airport 7 days a week.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Greater London Authority Vote Unanimously for Mayor to Review London City Airport Expansion

A motion, proposed by Murad Qureshi AM requesting the Mayor of London to review the decision by Newham Council to support a 50% increase in flights at London City Airport, was unanimously supported by a cross party majority at the Greater London Authority today. The motion raised concerns that noise and flight path changes across many East London Boroughs would worsen the quality of lives of 100,000s of residents, many of which already suffer considerably as a result of aircraft noise and air pollution.

Murad Qureshi stated: "While we accept that City Airport has an important role to play in London’s transport infrastructure, and makes a significant contribution to the economy of East London, it cannot be allowed to expand at a rate which threatens the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Londoners.”

Anne-Marie Griffin, Chair of Fight the Flights said “ this is a welcome acknowledgment and commitment from the Greater London Authority members to the many swathes of residents who had simply become the forgotten victims of Newham's continued support of London City Airports expansion. Current flight numbers are down 14% on 2008 levels and this only indicates that things are set to get worse than they currently are, with expansion to 120,000 flights and an continued increase in the use of jets out of the airport”

“We welcome their support in highlighting to the Mayor the impact of flight expansion on east Londoners. We simply feel the Mayor has failed to see the real impact and that east Londoners are not only overflown by London City Flights but also Heathrow flights. We have always believed that if he had been aware he would not have offered his support to the airports growth in this most densely populated area of the country in the first place”

Notes for Editors:

(1)..FTF launched a legal challenge in September 2009 to Newhams decision to grant approval to flight expansion. There are three aspects to Fight the Flights claim. In summary they are (1) that Newham failed to have regard to the Government’s policy on climate change and aviation; (2) that Newham failed to consult relevant neighbouring local authorities; and (3) Newham failed to consult the residents of those boroughs. A copy of the legal grounds are available on request / or on our website at FTF founded in 2007, is a non party political residents group covering all areas affected by London City Airport operations.

(2) Havering, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Redbridge have all objected to the expansion of London City Airport. Just two boroughs in East London support LCY expansion: Newham and Greenwich.

(3).FTF works with not only the community and NGO‘s, but also lobby’s decision makers.

For more information:

FTF Spokesperson: 07984 300558

Press Release dated 24/02/10

Urgent review needed on decision to increase London City Airport flights

The London Assembly today called on the Mayor to conduct an urgent review of the decision by Newham Council to give permission for a fifty percent increase in flights at City Airport.

In a unanimously agreed motion the Assembly points out the growing concern that increased flight numbers, and changing flight paths, will add to existing nuisance from overflights experienced by residents in Greenwich, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Hackney and Havering.

Assembly Members acknowledged the airport’s economic role, but stressed that this must be balanced against the problems it causes.

Murad Qureshi AM, who proposed today’s motion, said:

“While we accept that City Airport has an important role to play in London’s transport infrastructure, and makes a significant contribution to the economy of East London, it cannot be allowed to expand at a rate which threatens the quality of life of hundreds of thousands of Londoners. As well as the increased numbers of flights, the type of aircraft used and their flight paths have an impact on the residents living far beyond the boundaries of the airports home borough. This is clearly a strategic issues that the Mayor can and should offer leadership on.”

The full text of the motion reads as follows:

"This Assembly calls upon the Mayor to acknowledge the growing concern, particularly in adjoining Boroughs, with Newham Council's decision as a planning authority to agree the application for increased flights at City Airport (from 80,000 to 120,000 movements a year). This concern is also related to recently altered flight paths.

“The increased number of flights that would result from this permission would add to the existing nuisance from overflights experienced by residents across several London boroughs, notably Greenwich, Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Barking & Dagenham, Bexley, Hackney and Havering. We also note that concerns are being expressed that recently altered flight paths, which we understand are subject to review by the Civil Aviation Authority, have exacerbated the problems caused.

“While the airport clearly performs an economic role, this must be balanced against the problems it causes. We therefore believe that a review of this expansion and the flight paths is needed and that this is a matter for the Mayor's oversight and leadership. We therefore request that the Mayor, with appropriate Assembly scrutiny, urgently initiates a review and offers leadership on this matter."

Press release from GLA

From Hello-Docklands

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heathrow Legal Challenge Underway

We would like to wish all our fellow colleagues, campaigners, residents and NGOs the very best of luck in their legal challenge against a third runway at Heathrow which starts today at the High Court in London.

Lawyers are to argue that the consultation process was flawed. The Department for Transport is defending it's position.

Havering Council join London City Airport opposition


In a welcome policy turnaround Havering Council have backed local campaign group SW-Essex Fight the Flights, in opposing expansion at London City Airport (LCA) and flight path changes pushed through by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).(1)

Council Leader Michael White, in a letter commenting on the airport's Noise Action Plan, wrote, "...this Council opposes any expansion of the Airport. It also opposes any changes to the mode of operation of the Airport, its hours of operation, flight-paths to/from it or increases in aircraft noise". (2)

However, in a scandulously undemocratic decision, the CAA have in fact, already re-directed LCA flight-paths over parts of Havering and Redbridge from 7th May 2009, an edict which will not be reviewed for a year. Local residents fear that review will be carried out in private. MP's and Local Authorities across East London have been inundated with complaints from residents since the introduction of the new flight-path (3).

Reacting to the change, Steve Pullum, FTF SW-Essex Coordinator and local Havering resident who lives under the new flight path, said:

It is great news that we have finally won the backing of Havering Council and we hope they call on the CAA to hold an open public review as residents were not properly consulted before the new flight-path was introduced. Now is the time for a proper consultation".(4)

He added:
"We would also welcome Havering's support for our Judicial Review of Newham Council's permission to expand LCA, as residents give a resounding "No!" to the increased noise and environmental impact. Newham have ignored both the views of local people and the science of climate change. The fact is that we need to stop airport expansion if we’re to have any hope of reducing CO2 emissions in this country and the Judicial Review hearing will give us an opportunity to try to do so.” (5)


SW-Essex FTF Co-ordinator-Steve Pullum: 07708 794665

FTF Coalition Spokesperson: 07984 300558

Notes to the Editor:
1. Havering now join other London Borough Councils: Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Tower Hamlets, Bexley and Barking & Dagenham in opposing the expansion of London City Airport .
2. London City Airport were given permission by Newham Council in 2009 to expand flights from 76,000 to 120,000 per year . An increase of around 50%.
3. Hornchurch MP, James Brokenshire successfully obtained an adjournment debate on 15th December 2009 and tabled a series of Parliamentary Questions.
4. The Civil Aviation Authority signed off flight-path changes for London City Airport routes in May 2009 after removing the LCA proposals from the Terminal Control North Consultation process (which is being re-scheduled for other non-LCA flight-paths) without notification to those affected or stakeholders. The permission letter can be viewed at:
5. Fight the Flights launched a legal challenge in September 2009 on Newham's decision to grant approval to LCA expansion. There are three aspects toFTF's claim. In summary they are that (a) Newham failed to have regard to the Government’s policy on climate change and aviation; (b) Newham failed to consult relevant neighbouring local authorities; and (c) Newham failed to consult the residents of those boroughs. A copy of the legal grounds and decision are available on request/or on

6.The Fight The Flights Coalition, founded in 2007, is a non party political, residents group covering all areas affected by London City Airport operations; lobbying decision makers, working within the community and with NGO‘s.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Boris ‘must back London City Airport protest—forget Thames Estuary’

By Mike Brooke
CALLS are being made on Boris Johnson to scrap further research into his controversial Thames Estuary airport idea.

Cash for the research should be ploughed instead into helping East London protesters prepare their case against expansion of City Airport ahead of the judicial review, say Opposition London Assembly members.

The research is included in the Mayor’s ‘mean and lean’ £14 billion London budget which he just managed to push through last Wednesday,
February 11, on a minority 11-to-13 vote without amendment because opponents failed to get a two-thirds majority.

Tory Boris’s Green Party namesake Darren Johnson and others lost a proposed amendment calling on the Mayor to cancel further
Estuary airport research and allocate the funds to the City Airport ‘No Expansion’ campaign.

“The residents should be supported to ensure their case is properly heard,” he demanded. “I am calling on the Mayor to give the money to help their legal costs.

“London cannot handle any more flights. The only solution is to limit demand for air travel—cutting domestic flying is an easy place to start.”

He is challenging the Mayor for not including guidance to reduce short-haul aviation in travel planning information to businesses, even though staff on London’s police, fire and transport authorities and at City Hall itself have reduced their UK flights by 75 per cent.

Boris’s Estuary airports feasibility study now takes off, after his London budget was passed.

Full Story In The East End Advertiser


Monday 15 February 2010

Contact: Marie Reynolds, Friends of the Earth press office, 0207 566 1649

Commenting on British Airways' plans to build Europe's first sustainable jet- fuel plant and use biofuel from waste biomass to power part of its fleet from 2014,

Friends of the Earth's biofuels campaigner Kenneth Richter said:

"Biofuels for cars were meant to be a way of using waste cooking oil, but we ended up trashing rainforests to grow the crops, leading to more - not less - carbon dioxide.

"Fuelling planes with biofuels could cause more of the same problems. It seems BA is already backtracking on its claim that it would only use food waste to fuel these planes."


Notes to Editors

1. 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. Over 90 per cent of our income comes from individuals so we rely on donations to continue our vital work. For further information visit


Commenting on British Airways proposal for a jet-fuel plant

Friends of the Earth’s London campaigner Jenny Bates said:

“The Mayor shouldn’t be helping to create demand for waste by supporting this plant – he should be maximising recycling and sending any unavoidable food waste for anaerobic digestion to create truly green energy.

“There are also concerns over how the plant will affect East Londoners, who already suffer disproportionately from traffic problems and air pollution and noise from London City airport.”