Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Are NATS Misleading Boris Over London City Airport Flight Path Changes?

Months ago, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson was asked by FTF to pledge his support for a public review into the flight path changes which the CAA and NATS had already implemented, but which the CAA are carrying out a 'private review' of. The Mayor did indeed pledge his support for a public review.

We asked Boris to ensure that this private review would be a public review. Boris replied on 14 May, however the response indicates that he may have been misled or perhaps there has simply been an misunderstanding regarding the situation with the CAA's 'private review'.

The Mayor responded:

National Air Traffic Services (NATS) announced in October 2009 that it will be undertaking a new consultation, on behalf of the CAA, on revised proposals for aircraft routes and airspace management in the area of South East England, referred to as Terminal Control North. This follows the consultation undertaken in 2008.

My officers have spoken to the stakeholder relations team at NATS. However, at this stage I have no further information regarding the scope of the proposals, as NATS does not expect the consultation to start before September at the earliest, due to the need to undertake further analysis.  NATS will be consulting the local authorities affected by the proposals, and I have given a commitment that I will work with the London Boroughs and the London Assembly to ensure that these proposals are widely and robustly considered. I will also work with NATS to ensure that these proposals are more widely publicised.

Well that all sounds great. However the key point that we asked the Mayor to ensure was that the CURRENT private review which the CAA are already carrying out on the London City Airport flight path changes was made public. This point has failed to be addressed and instead it appears that NATS may have misled the Mayor by indicating that a re-consultation is going to happen in September.  So now the Mayor believes that NATS are going to reconsult on the LCY flight path changes which were implemented in 2009. 

They are not and FTF have been told this by the Director of Airspace Policy at the CAA. So why has NATS misinformed the Mayor in this way?.

NATS are indeed to re-consult on the other flight paths from airports in the South East which were included in the original TCN document, as we have written before, but not the LCA flight path which was implemented last year, and which has caused no end of disturbance and upset to thousands of East London households.

So despite Boris's pledge, we haven't seen any evidence in the response to confirm that the CAA have been asked to carry out a public review rather than a private one, and we now also see the Mayor being misled into believing that the very flight path which has been so controversial is to be reconsulted upon - when it is not. 

Why not contact the Mayor and ask him to fulfil the pledge he made to a packed Ilford auditorium at the Mayor's Environmental Question Time? You can email him: mayor@london.gov.uk