Sunday, March 28, 2010

Call for Donations - Legal Challenge Fund. We're almost there.

Fight the Flights is now left with a relatively small amount of funding to raise to complete it's funding for the legal challenge.  We are so near, but we need that final push to complete the amount.

FTF is not in receipt of any Legal Aid, and all monies raised so far have come from generous residents and residents groups in the areas affected.

We are now in the final stages of fundraising and we need your help.

Every £1 counts - please consider donating to our legal challenge fund by using the paypal facility, or alternatively you can send cheques to the POBox number. All details on methods of donating are to the right of this page.

Alternatively you could consider making a pledge: pledging to make a donation of a certain amount, and that this would only be called upon if required at the end of the legal challenge.

If you wish to discuss making a donation please contact us.

Under the Flight Path - How noisy is it for you?

Are you affected by London City Airport aircraft noise? Do you live in Redbridge, Barking & Dagenham, or Bexley?

Residents in boroughs across East London are already collecting noise data but we are calling for more residents in the boroughs listed above to take part. 

If you are able to commit to taking noise readings in your area for a minimum of 10 days but preferably for up to 3 weeks, we will loan you the noise meter and show you how to take the readings and record the data. 

Interested? Find out more:

Email us your contact details -

Saturday, March 27, 2010

GLA: London City Airport - Mayor's Worst Planning Decision Award

In a week that you probably thought it just couldn't get any worse for aviation expansion, and more encouraging for anti expansion campaigners, well it did.

Will Boris Johnson,Mayor of London reconsider his position on the expansion? We'll just have to wait to see.

Extract of the News from Darren Johnson

Ground control to Mayor Johnson: your worst planning decision award for 2010

25 MARCH 2010

Abstract: Expansion of flights at City Airport was 2009’s most damaging planning decision in London, according to Darren Johnson.

Doubling the number of flights through City Airport has won Boris Johnson the coveted 2010 “worst planning decision” award. London Assembly member Darren Johnson makes the award each year for the planning decision he considers to be the most damaging, in parallel to the Mayor’s London Planning Awards. The trophy is an inscribed breeze-block.

Darren Johnson commented:

“Despite his bluster about sweetening the air the Mayor has waved through a massive expansion in noisy polluting flights that will blight much of the capital. Local residents are fighting a legal challenge, neighbouring boroughs never got a say and environmental groups have made an overwhelming case against it.

“If the Mayor pushed businesses to follow his own staff in managing travel demand he could have stopped this expansion in its tracks.”


Notes to editors

Darren Johnson is available for comment.

Each planning case passed the Mayor’s desk, and decisions were made by the Mayor or subsequently by the local planning authority in 2009. Details of each of the short listed schemes can be found at the following links.

London City Airport

Ian Wingrove, Press Officer for the London Assembly Green Group: 020 7983 4424

High Court Ruling throws expansion plans at London City airport into question

Greenpeace press release:

PLANS to expand London City airport were thrown into serious doubt today when a High Court Judge said that the Government’s 2003 aviation policy didn’t fully take into account the effects of climate change.

In a damning ruling handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice today, Lord Justice Carnwath said that the Government’s 2003 Aviation White Paper – the basis for expansion at Heathrow airport and dozens of other airports around the country, including London City – needs to be re-thought in the light of climate change and the UK’s climate change laws. This effectively means that the white paper must now be radically over-hauled so that it is in line with the Climate Change Act 2008.

Climate Campaigner Anna Jones said “Today’s ruling exposes a Government airport expansion policy that is out of control. This country needs a better railway system not new runways. The Government cannot continue to ignore the impact of aviation on climate change. They should shelve all airport expansion plans now; every increase in capacity makes our problems worse.”

The judgement was delivered in response to a Judicial Review brought by Greenpeace and 12 other groups, including local councils, residents groups and other leading green groups. They argued that the consultation process which led to the decision to allow a 3rd runway at Heathrow to be built was fundamentally flawed and that the decision to expand Heathrow is at odds with the UK’s overall climate change targets.

The Climate Change Committee – an independent watchdog created by the act – recently advised the Government that around half of the planned airport expansion in the UK would have to be scrapped if the Government’s own aviation emissions target is to be met and that therefore it needed to review its 2003 aviation expansion policy.

For more info contact the Greenpeace press office on 0207 865 8255

Friday, March 26, 2010

FTF Congratulates Heathrow Campaigners on Victory

It was the day that campaigners had been waiting for, the day when the facts were supported by the law, and justice was given fairly and squarely. The governments plan for a third runway at Heathrow is indeed in tatters, but the effect will not be limited to Heathrow, the ruling will impact on all airport expansion and force the government and planning authorities to consider the wider issue of climate change, and no doubt we will be seeing some work around the aviation white paper in the near future. 

FTF would like to congratulate all of the residents, campaigners and NGOs who have shown determination and commitment in their campaign against the third runway.  Without their tireless efforts residents quality of life and the impact on the environment would  have literally run away.

Press Release from the coaltion group:


Councils, green groups and residents celebrate victory and call on Government to scrap third runway

The Government’s Heathrow policy is in tatters this morning after the High Court ruled that ministers' decision to give a green light to the proposed third runway does not hold any weight. The judge dismissed the Government’s claims to the contrary as ‘untenable in law and common sense’.

If the Government wants to pursue its plans for Heathrow expansion it must now go back to square one and reconsider the entire case for the runway.

The implications of today’s ruling are profound, not just for Heathrow but for airport expansion plans across the UK. Lord Justice Carnwath ruled that the 2003 Air Transport White Paper – the foundation of expansion plans across the country - is obsolete because it is inconsistent with the Climate Change Act 2008.

The judge expressed real concern over the “hardship caused to the local community by uncertainty” over the third runway. The coalition which brought the successful legal challenge is now calling on the Government to end the uncertainty and scrap the runway plans once and for all.

The judge ruled that:

  • If the Government decides to push ahead with the runway project it must now review the climate change implications of Heathrow expansion, the economic case for a third runway, and the issue of how additional passengers would get to a bigger airport.

  • The Government’s entire aviation policy must now be reviewed to take into account the implications of the 2008 Climate Change Act. The judge found that “the claimants’ submissions add up, in my view, to a powerful demonstration of the potential significance of developments in climate change policy since the 2003 Air Transport White Paper. They are clearly matters which will need to be taken into account under the new Airports National Policy Statement.”(1)

  • On the economic case for Heathrow expansion he would be ‘surprised’ if the recent tripling of the estimated cost to society of emitting carbon did not have ‘a significant effect’ on the economic case for the runway. The judge also said that “it makes no sense to treat the economic case as settled in 2003.”

  • On the issue of surface access he said the claimants’ case – that there is no credible plan in place to transport millions of extra passengers to an expanded Heathrow - was ‘justified’. Significantly, he noted that the Government was “unable to provide a convincing answer” in court when it was pressed about over-crowding on the Piccadilly underground line that would result from construction of a third runway.

The judge is now inviting the Government to sign a legally binding undertaking that it will not base future aviation policy solely on its 2003 white paper. A further court hearing is expected to take place next month to examine the Government's response to the judge's request. At the same hearing the coalition will seek costs and fully expects to recover those costs from the Government.

Cllr Ray Puddifoot speaking on behalf of the local councils said: “This is a spectacular victory for our residents. The Government had been trying to close down debate on the true economic impact of a third runway by presenting it as a done deal.

 “Today’s ruling has blown that position apart. The Government just did not want to have to take on board the real consequences of new climate change laws. The judge made it clear the figures just did not add up.

 “If after this ministers are still intent on pressing ahead with expansion they will have to go back to the beginning and justify the whole economic case in public. Knowing what we now know about rising carbon costs this is an argument they cannot win.

 “The third runway is effectively dead because it cannot survive the proper economic and environmental scrutiny which the Government tried to avoid. As local councils we call on the Prime Minister to do to the decent thing and bury this discredited policy.”

Geraldine Nicholson, Chair of NoTRAG, said: 

As local residents, we now demand that the Government drops all plans for a 3rd runway and sixth terminal at Heathrow so that we can cast off the 8 years of blight and start to rejuvenate our communities.”

Greenpeace executive director John Sauven said:

This ruling leaves the Government’s Heathrow decision in tatters. Ministers will now have to go back to the drawing board and conduct a broad consultation on key issues where their case is extremely weak. The third runway was already on life support, but with this ruling it’s hard to even find a pulse. This shows that David Cameron and Nick Clegg backed the right horse when they pledged to scrap the third runway, and it makes any Conservative U-turn after the election all but politically impossible.

David Nussbaum, CEO of WWF-UK, said:

"We are delighted with today’s judgement. It deals a body blow to the third runway, but more than that it makes it clear that the Government's whole policy of airport expansion must be reviewed in order to bring it into line with the Climate Change Act."

"Today's landmark ruling has implications that could resonate far wider than the aviation sector. For a judge to tell the Government that it cannot build huge pieces of carbon-intensive infrastructure without considering the long-term consequences is a resounding win in the fight to tackle climate change. It is also a further indication of the need for the UK to make a swift transition to a low carbon economy. WWF would now urge the Government to focus on green investment, encouraging alternative ways of connecting with people wherever possible, such as high speed rail and videoconferencing, rather than relying on carbon-heavy methods such as flying.”

Shaun Spiers, Chief Executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: "The Government said there could be no argument about the need for a third runway. This was undemocratic and it was wrong.

"We were forced to bring this legal case to give people the right to challenge the expansion of Heathrow. The High Court has now made clear that a fundamental review of aviation policy is needed. This not just a victory for people living around Heathrow or around other airports, it is a victory for everyone who wants a tranquil countryside and a democratic planning system."

HACAN Chair John Stewart said:

This is an utterly damning verdict for the Government.  It not only raises very serious concerns about a third runway at Heathrow, it also calls into question the Government’s entire aviation policy.  This really could be the final nail in the coffin for a third runway.”

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Head of Sustainable Development, said:

 “Right from the start, we have argued that building a third runway at a time when we are battling to reduce our carbon emissions made no sense.

 “Climate change threatens many species with extinction and we are already seeing its impacts with catastrophic declines in seabird numbers in parts of the North Sea.

 “Concerns about climate change are at the heart of today’s judgement. The clear message from the High Court is that Government must now take those concerns into account.”



For the London councils: Steve Mayner 020 8871 7524 / 07860 481 368/ Emma Marsh 01895 556 064 and 07780913334

For Greenpeace: Ben Stewart - 07801 212 967

For WWF: Jo Sargent - 01483 412375/ 07867 697519

For local residents: John Stewart – 07957 385 650/Geraldine Nicholson – 07710 523369

For Campaign to Protect Rural England: Ralph Smyth – 020 7981 2825/ Dan McLean 07739 332 796 (out of hours)

For RSPB: John Clare on 01767 680551


  1. National Policy Statements (NPSs) are a key part of the new planning system that was established by the Planning Act 2008. They are strategic planning documents will set out the  national  need for major infrastructure developments  such as power stations, ports, airports, roads  and transmission lines. When an application is submitted for such a development above a certain threshold, there will be a presumption in favour of granting permission. The Government has said it intends to publish a draft Airports NPS next year.

  1. Six local authorities in West London (Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor & Maidenhead) are claimants to the challenge, alongside   the local residents group (NoTRAG) and the national campaigning group against airport expansion HACAN. WWF-UK, Campaign to Protect Rural England and Greenpeace are also claimants. Transport for London is an independent party supporting the claim. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is an expert witness. The challenge is also supported by Kensington and Chelsea and the Mayor of London. The local authorities are all members of the 2M Group which comprises 24 local councils opposed to Heathrow expansion with a combined population of 5 million.

  1. The legal challenge was launched in April 2009 and the case was heard in the High Court at a rolled-up hearing on the 23rd – 25th  February 2010.

  1. In February 2007, Greenpeace won a Judicial Review against the Government’s energy review which backed a new generation of nuclear power stations. As a result the government was forced to re-run the public consultation.

  1. If a third runway at Heathrow airport were to be built, the airport would become the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide in the UK. Unrestrained airport expansion would make it impossible for the UK to play its part in tackling climate change. The Government has committed the UK to cuts of at least 80% in CO2 emissions by 2050. Research from the respected Tyndall Centre shows that if the industry is allowed to expand as predicted, aviation emissions alone would make it impossible to meet this target.

  1. Aviation has a number of high-altitude impacts that increase its total warming effect on the climate. The Committee on Climate Change has recently suggested that aviation has a Global Warming Potential of around two, meaning that its total warming effect is twice that of its CO2 emissions alone.

  1.  In December 2009, the Committee on Climate Change published a report with recommendations of how the Government target to reduce aviation emissions to 2005 levels by 2050 could be met. The Committee recommended that aviation growth needs to be limited to around half of that planned in the White Paper, but warned that the target may need to be further tightened in the future.

  1. All the claimants are represented by Harrison Grant (solicitors) instructing Nigel Pleming QC of 39 Essex Street, Nathalie Lieven QC and David Forsdick of Landmark Chambers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

First East London Aircraft Noise Forum - Great Minds Share Ways Forward

Yesterday, at the House of Commons, the first 'East London Aircraft Noise Forum' was held.

The forum was hosted by Lee Scott MP, Ilford North and organised by Fight the Flights in alliance with HACAN. The forum's focus is to discuss and plan positive ways in which elected officials can work together on the issue of aircraft noise and how it impacts on their constituents. Ideas were shared on issues regarding the problem of increasing aircraft noise and changing flight paths over east London from London City Airport and also Heathrow flights.

The forum plans to meet on a regular basis in the future, by invitation to elected officials only.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The GLA want your feedback on how London City Airport Affects You

Are the extra flights at London City Airport affecting you? The Environment Committee is investigating the environmental impacts of expansion at the airport and wants to hear from you.

The investigation will look at environmental impacts like noise, emissions and air quality, and whether the current environmental safeguards and controls are adequate. The Committee is keen to hear how the extra flights are impacting on local people.

A public meeting will be held at City Hall on 10th June 2010 when the Committee hopes to hear people’s views on the expansion of the airport and the environmental controls currently in place. In the meantime, please complete our survey below.

In July 2009 Newham Council gave permission to increase the number of flights from 91,000 to 120,000 per year. Expansion was made conditional on tougher environmental controls for air quality and noise levels, which were to be monitored by borough staff. Residents across Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Greenwich, Hackney, Havering, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest are likely to be affected by an increase in flights.

Tell us your views

Please tell us your views by completing our short survey.

Alternatively you can email your views to David Bellman