Residents across east and south east London who live beneath the flight paths of London City and Heathrow Airports were given 6 days of respite during the no flight ban due to the Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption.
Although residents were sympathetic to those who were stranded as a result of flight ban, locals were able to enjoy their homes and environment, some for the first time in over 20 years.
A Tower Hamlets resident commented: "I couldn't believe the difference in our area. People were actually sitting outside in their gardens and windows were flung open. It felt like a different place and reminded me who it was before we had the City jets in the skies" Another resident in Redbridge commented: “No departing flights from City Airport at low altitude, no early morning arrivals bound for Heathrow and NO jet roar! Sheer bliss ”.
Another said: “We could actually hear bird song here in Hornchurch and it was so refreshing to look up at the uncontaminated skies above our house for the blissful few days when the aircraft noise stopped”. A Newham resident said: "Whilst sympathising with the stranded passengers worldwide, because of the flight restrictions, I do have to say that the few day's peace and quite was a tonic. It brings home just how much we are subjected to the stress of London City Airport in its normal running mode". In Greenwich “ it's the first time we've not been woken by Heathrow flights at 4.40am and London City Flights at 6.40am – we could even have all our windows open which is rare”.
Residents across the boroughs have been monitoring noise levels as part of a project set up by Fight the Flights in alliance with University College London. The results, to be released in the coming week, will compare the difference in noise levels between the flight ban and normal flight activity over east & south east London.
Anne-Marie Griffin, Chair of Fight the Flights said “we would like to set a challenge for politicians from all parties to act on the unacceptable noise levels from current aircraft activities and find ways to better manage and reduce them. The European Noise Directive underpins this and should assist politicians in acting positively on this issue”.
Notes for Editors:
(1). The European Noise Directive 2002/49/EX states (Article 1, Objectives) ‘The aim of the directive shall be to define a common approach intended to avoid, prevent or reduce on a prioritised basis the harmful effects, including annoyance, due to the exposure of environmental noise’
(2) The number of jets using City Airport has risen, jets from the airport are individually noisier than the propellor planes which have previously made up a greater proportion of flights.
London City Airport Air Transport Movements – % of Jets flown. Kindly provided by the Civil Aviation Authority
2009 63 (Jan-Sept)
(3) Estimated population who will live in the noise contours of London City Airport with and without expansion:
(4). 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 http://fighttheflights.com/. FTF founded in 2007, is a non party political residents group covering all areas affected by London City Airport operations
(5).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 27/04/10