Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Redbridge Tackle London City Airport On Effects and Opposes ALL Further Expansion

Roger Hampson
Chief Executive
Direct line 020 8708 2100
Fax 020 8478 2356
Town Hall, PO Box 2, High Road
Ilford, Essex. IG1 1DD

Kellie Heath
Consultation Administrator
London City Airport
City Aviation House
Royal Docks
E16 2PB

Our ref
Your ref
Date 12th January 2010
Dear Ms Heath,

London City Airport Draft Noise Action Plan

Thank you for consulting the London Borough of Redbridge on the draft Noise Action Plan. This letter is the Council’s response to the document and with a broader scope it addresses the matters of airport expansion and recent changes to flight paths as they affect this Borough.
You may be aware that recent changes to flight paths in this part of London and Newham Council’s approval to a planning application to increase the number of aircraft movements in and out of City Airport has been subject of considerable concern amongst residents within Redbridge. As a result, this issue was raised at Full Council on 19th November 2009 when the following Motion was agreed:

"This Council recognises residents' concern over (a) the expansion of London City Airport, and (b) flight path changes relating to "stacking" for London Heathrow Airport, believes the increased number of flights using these airports - and the associated noise nuisance and environmental impact - is detrimental to Redbridge residents.

This Council further notes:-
(i) the failure of the London Borough of Newham to consult it in connection with the planning application for the expansion of London City Airport.
(ii) the representations made through London Councils Transport and Environment Committee in response to the consultation by National Air Traffic Services (NATS) on Terminal Control North (TCN) concerning proposed changes to aircraft movement over London and London Councils response to that consultation dated 12 June 2008 raising concerns about the Government’s policy on airport expansion and the likely noise, air quality and safety concerns of concentrating flight paths, particularly over densely populated areas;
(iii) the Civil Aviation Authority’s notice to NATS dated 20 February 2009 requiring NATS to implement the proposals for TCN notwithstanding the opposition expressed through the public consultation;
(iv) the report presented to the Planning and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee on 24 June 2009 considering the potential impact on the London Borough of Redbridge of a possible third runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow Airport.

This Council opposes further expansion or changes to flight paths or the mode of operation of airports (including without limitation any extension to the hours of operation of airports whether temporary or permanent) which would result in an increase in aircraft noise suffered by residents of this Borough.”

As a consequence of the above I was asked to write to the Civil Aviation Authority and the National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) to ask what action has been taken to consult residents of Redbridge on the changes to flight paths, particularly from London City Airport.
I was also asked to write to the London Borough of Newham condemning the failure to consult this Council and its decision to allow further expansion of London City Airport, stressing the negative impact this decision will have, in addition to the NATS TCN proposals on the residents of Redbridge.

Additionally, Members instructed that I write to you in response to the consultation on the draft Noise Action Plan 2009-2014 stating that this council is opposed to any further expansion of London City Airport, changes to its mode of operation, hours of operation, flight paths or any increase in the number of flights which would result in any increase in aircraft noise suffered by residents of this Borough.

In this respect it is considered that the Noise Action Plan, in its current form, does not go far enough in determining the noise impact of aircraft movement across the Borough's north of Newham, particularly Redbridge. As such, any mitigation measures to limit the impact of aircraft noise have not been considered.

The serious detrimental affect on the residents of Redbridge resulting from CAA/NATS changes to the departure patterns from LCA is clearly shown by the number of complaints received by Redbridge and LCA regarding aircraft noise. The implementation of the approved planning application will have an even greater impact on Redbridge and this must be considered in the Noise Action Plan.

Minutes of the LCA Consultative Committee on 6th October 2009 record that 9 complaints were received by LCA from Redbridge residents between July and September 2009, some of which specifically refer to changes in flight paths. It appears that these complaints were preceded by a number of years up to June 2009 in which LCA did not receive any complaints from people living in this Borough. Also noted in the Minutes is the report of a noticeable increase in the number of noise complaints from residents living to the north of the Airport and that they might be attributable to the changes in the Standard Instrument Departures flown by aircraft leaving the Airport which had been implemented recently by the CAA and NATS.

It is noted from section 8.0 of the Noise Action Plan that there is an s.106 Agreement between LCA and LB Newham for the reporting of environmental noise complaints. We can refer to LCACC minutes for dates and brief descriptions of complaints. However, while complaints continue to be received from Redbridge residents we request that LCA also send this Council additional information on a quarterly basis regarding the investigation, assessment and resolution, if any, of those complaints.

The Noise Action Plan provides no information specific to Redbridge about the noise from aircraft in flight beyond the fact that the Borough is outside the 54/55dB contours and we have no other data that would help an understanding of the recent changes in terms of noise levels. The NATS consultation documents broadly described the changes affecting airspace over Redbridge but did not provide noise contours. In view of the increase in interest and concern about aircraft noise affecting this Borough we request that LCA and your consultant produce modelled noise maps of Redbridge showing Laeq,16h contours at 3dB intervals for the following times and conditions:

1 - just before implementation of the NATS changes at the then current level of aircraft movements
2 - after implementation at the current level of movements, and
3 - after implementation at the maximum permitted level of movements.

If such maps can be provided we would expect them to be based on the current and predicted mixes of aircraft types, SEL/height data, and the typical horizontal distribution of actual flight paths, taking into account their relative spread around or concentration on the route centre lines; NATS stated in Part I, 2.2 of their consultation documents that jets were often unable to follow the then current route.

I would thank you in advance for your co-operation in this matter and look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Letter provided by courtesy of Redbridge Council through an FOI request.