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....