Friday, November 19, 2010

The Human Cost of London City Airports Expansion

Over the past three years of the Fight the Flights campaign we have seen a steady increase in residents getting in contact with us. Over the past 18 months this has risen dramatically. What they all indicate is the problem of London City Airport (LCY) flight noise, and the accumulative effect of flight noise from both London City Airport and Heathrow, and how far the problem spreads out across East and South East London.  We appreciate that London City Airport doesn't like to hear this fact (they have the advantage of not having to listen, unlike most residents under their flight path) but they have contributed significantly to bringing West London noise levels to East and South East London.

We have also noticed that the emails from residents have steadily become more and more unhappy, for many at the realisation that they are not entitled to any noise insulation despite having been given that impression by comments made by London City Airport and the planning authority, Newham Council, in the past. Others have been massively affected by the change of flight paths by the Civil Aviation Authority. Newham has readily passed the buck on this, as do London City Airport on this issue. But if London City Airport flight paths had to be changed due to jets not being able to use the same departure routes as the old propellor planes, who asked to use the jets, and who approved their use, and the additional flights in the past?  Relevent points to consider.

Residents aren't buying the pass the buck scenario any longer as their private lives in their homes and communities have become increasingly invaded by the activities of London City Airport and of course also Heathrow. Bearing in mind that flights are currently down around 25,000 per annum on what they were 2 years ago, when Newham Council allowed London City Airport to breach it's flight limits by around 20,000, then you will appreciate that things are only going to get worse when flight numbers increase again.  This is why it is essential that residents continue to speak out, write/email their local councillors, MPs, MEPs, GLA member, Civil Aviation Authority, local papers and complain to Newham Council, the planning authority for London City Airport, by email or letter. We appreciate that this takes time, but it is the only way that politicians will understand the breadth of the problem and take steps towards assisting you.

Residents are always welcome to contact FTF for help and advice and we will always do our best to assist or put you in contact with someone who can help. Please be patient if we take time to respond though, which can occasionally happen due to our workload. What is important is that if you have only began to notice aircraft noise and are disturbed by it recently then you understand that you are not alone. It is not unreasonable and residents are certainly not a nuisance if they complain. It is your right to complain if you are being negatively effected and we believe it is your right to expect to be listened to and for your concerns to be acted upon.  There are 100,000s of residents who are experiencing the same right across London, you are most certainly not alone.  

We'd also ask you to consider donating to FTF using the paypal facility on the website. FTF runs financially on next to nothing, but we do need to pay for things such as website domain costs and the odd ream of paper. Donations however small are very much appreciated! You can donate on Paypal HERE

In the meantime we'd like to share just a few of the comments we've received from residents which we feel indicate the impact of the dreadful blight of newer but bigger noisier jets at London City airport, increased LCY flight numbers over the years, the flight path changes and in addition Heathrow flights. These are the hidden stories of lives blighted by an airport that got too big for it's own good and was allowed to runaway with expansion over the years:

"I have lived [by London City Airport] for 58 years and since the introduction of the new jets the noise is insufferable. In the inseption of the STOLPORT the airport installed double glazing to all properties front and back. But since the introduction of these new Jets the double glazing is not fit for purpose and the airport should upgrade to sound proof from the noise is there anything that you can do for the residents in [my road]". Resident of Newham.

"I live locally near Royal Victoria. I share your view against City Airport expansion and the flight noise. I have written to Newham council complaining about the noise but so far the response is not meaningful (mayor has not come back at of today). What i was told that they categorise the plane by its noise emission so they can have less jet planes compared to more propeller planes (i really don't think Newham council keeps any record of how many jet planes fly out of the city airport every day). You are doing a great job for the local community. Keep up the effort!!!!" Resident of Newham.

"I have lived in this borough [Newham] for nearly fifty years, I have seen a lot of changes but this one is the worse, I cannot sleep at nights in the morning five o'clock on the dot they start to go every seconds another all through the day one can't hear the television if one is on the phone, you cannot hear a word. I have spoken my landlord asking if they would install double glazing, they are too many planes, we need to do something about this annoyance." Resident of Newham.

"The noise pollution from flights in this area is unbearable. Every morning we are woken up by flights. We cannot go into the garden because airplanes are rattling overhead every 60 seconds. On the weekend relaxing at home is impossible because we sit with teeth on edge, waiting for the next jet to zoom overhead. I used to work from home but have been hounded out of the house by the noise and now have to go to local libraries or cafes to get some respite from the planes. So to recap: LCY stops us from being able to sleep. It stops us from being able to sit in our garden It stops us from being able to relax at home. And it stops me from being able to work at home. LCY stops us from being able to almost everything we should be able to do in our own home. Our choices? Spend £25,000 insulating the house (which we don't have). Or sell the house. Or have a miserable existence in our own home. To say that those are "choices" is nonsense." Resident of Tower Hamlets.

"I am still absolutely fed up with being disturbed by aircraft noise. I am woken up most mornings by aircraft noise at just after 06.00. From then on the flights are more or less continuous through the day- howling, roaring and whining. There are hundreds and hundreds of flights passing over my house every day. This is a relatively recent problem so there must have been a radical change in fight paths. WHY WAS THERE NO CONSULTATION?" Resident of Redbridge.

"When I moved to W Forest 10 years ago and to this address 5 yrs ago the only thing we heard was the ocassional vehicle and the birds! We thought we had found that peace until one day I think last year I was sitting in my back garden and heard several plane noises overhead. I really thought it unusual and it must be a one off. Then I notice it happened for a few more days and went on my computer to see if I could find any news about it.  I cannot believe that such an important change could be allowed without consulting with residents and have to think that this is because it affects poorer London boroughs in East London". Resident of Waltham Forest

"I live in Redbridge and although I appreciate that the noise I have to endure is minimal compared to those poor people living in the shadow of City Airport, it is really getting on my nerves, especially when low flying airplanes rumble through my double glazing after midnight! Oh.. there goes another one, as I'm typing". Resident of Redbridge

"In the last six months I have noticed inreased levels of air traffic in my area. Sometimes I can count three separate planes in the sky and the noise is becoming almost constant. I am very worried that additional flights will be granted into City Airport". Resident of Southwark 

"The volcanic ash crisis brought some relief from the noise, and reminded us all of how things used to be before they imposed this on us. Just this week the flights have been continuous after coming home from work, getting noisier and noisier which is almost unbearable". Resident of Havering.

"For several weeks now we have been noticing aircraft noise and believe it is an increase of flights going into City Airport. We live in Swanley  just on the edge of Dartford Borough. Obviously the noise here is not as bad as closer to the airport but does, I believe, show the extent of the problem. Before this year we have never noticed the planes, and have only noticed them more now, now that the weather is warmer and we have the windows and doors open. Additionally there are definitely more flights. If we sit in the garden at times we can hardly talk to each other".  Resident of Sevenoaks District Council