Monday, January 31, 2011

Greenwich Council Planning - PSZ? 'I know nothing'

During the Christmas holiday, the team here at FTF were made aware of the Notification of the change to the London City Airport Public Safety Zone. This change was on the cards as each time London City Airport demands more flights and bigger planes the public safety zone enlarges to take account of increased risk in the nearest landing and taking off areas at each end of the runway.

The Civil Aviation Authority are now responsible for the administration of the Public Safety Zone. The Department for Transport write the circular on the PSZ, and the local authority in which the PSZ sits is the authority responsible for ensuring that the numbers of people in the PSZ is ideally reduced over the years, and that no new buildings or structures are allowed to be built which would increase the numbers of people in the area. But considering that Greenwich and Newham Councils have just approved around an estimated 2,500 people an hour travelling on a cable car which goes straight through the PSZ, and that Greenwich Council claimed that the none of the cable car travelled through the PSZ then it makes you wonder if they are simply incompetent or like to water down the interpretation of the safety rules when it suits them. The councils and Transport for London may wish to consider the Cavalese Cable Car disaster in 1998 to focus their minds on why it might not be a good idea to put a cable car through the Public Safety Zone of London City Airport.

So the indication is that Greenwich has little regard to the PSZ, it certainly didn't worry about it when it supported expansion and by doing so immediately put thousands of properties in Greenwich in the noise contour, and double figures of homes in the crash zone. So how were residents in those areas to know that they were going to find themselves in those areas? Unless residents read through page upon page of the planning application for expansion or had found us nobody indicated to them how they would be affected. None were told to expect to have their windows sealed up and ventilation installed, none were told in advance that their properties were going to be in the PSZ crash zone. That is a scandal in itself.

However the administration of the PSZ is in good hands with the Civil Aviation Authority, but no matter how much work the CAA do, it cannot do the work of the local council.

In mid December the CAA called Greenwich Council Planning's head Steve Pallet and advised them of the notification of change to the PSZ and requested that there be an area where residents could look at the PSZ map in the council office, in addition 35 letters were sent out by the CAA to the dwellings that now fall into the PSZ. We are advised that Steve Pallet of Greenwich confirmed that there was an area where the map could be viewed from. Greenwich were advised that the items were being posted to them and they were duly posted on 20th December 2010.

FTF were made aware of the PSZ notification on 4 January, and noticed that Greenwich Council were listed in the document as having the map to view and this being within a set consultation/notification period. On 5 January FTF called Greenwich Council Planning to arrange to view the map and were advised that they knew nothing about it, that the planning officer was away on holiday for the week and that only he would be able to deal with it. FTF was told to call back a week later but decided to email Steve Pallet the link to the document and highlight that the map should be available during the whole of the consultation period, not just when his planning officer returned from holiday. Greenwich Council's Steve Pallet made no attempt to respond to the email.

By Thursday 27 January FTF were concerned that Greenwich had made no contact in response to the email or phone call so we made contact with the Civil Aviation Authority and then Greenwich Council once again.

Greenwich Council claim to have never received the information in the post, claiming it may have been lost in the weather conditions. FTF raised concerns with the CAA that residents may not have received notifications and had not had access to the PSZ map and asked if they would consider extending the consultation/notification period. The CAA responded by leading by example and confirmed they had re-posted not only the documents to Greenwich Council but also to all the 35 dwellings affected and had extended the notification period, essentially starting the whole process from scratch.

In our opinion the Civil Aviation Authority went the extra mile to ensure this notification was flagged up to the planning department in mid December. Few organisations would call ahead of actually sending the paperwork through and ensuring that the map would be available to view. We'd like to thank Kate at the CAA for being so responsive to our communication and efficient in dealing with the issue as unlike Greenwich Council, concerns were raised, addressed and the practicals were all completed in just one day.

What concerns us is that Steve Pallet was asked about the availability of the PSZ map on 5 January 2011, and now that we know he was called by the CAA in mid December you would have thought that his department would have checked to see if the documents had arrived, and if not followed up with the CAA. But no, Steve sat on the email and no action was taken at all until FTF once again chased the document on 27 January. In 3 weeks Greenwich Council had made no attempt not only to contact FTF but also to call the CAA to enquire about the PSZ information that Steve Pallet had been told was to be with him in days after the phone call of 20 December 2010. If we hadn't of chased this, Greenwich clearly would have made no effort to contact the CAA to enquire the whereabouts, and in fact never did. It was the CAA who made the contact. Residents in the Greenwich PSZ could have found themselves yet again let down by Greenwich Planning.

The council have been consistently sloppy and careless over anything to do with London City Airport which affects land/properties/residents in Greenwich from day one, they had to be chased to respond to the original airport planning application for expansion (when a resident called 2 days before the deadline the planning officer said the consultation pack was on the floor and he hadn't looked at it, never mind that no residents in Greenwich at that time had been consulted directly. FTF were solely responsible for ensuring that each household in the Thamesmead Moorings area (the area in the crash and noise zone) of Greenwich received a consultation letter on the expansion from Newham Council. We also had to chase Greenwich on responding to the airports noise action plan.

Could Greenwich Council systematically fail the residents in the most affected areas from London City Airport any more than they have done for the past 3 years? We think not.

The Notification of Change to the London City Airport Public Safety Zone notification period now runs until 14 March and is open to comments which are to be submitted to the CAA. The PSZ map affecting West Thamesmead, SE28 is now on display at Greenwich Council Planning Department, Crown Building, 48 Woolwich New Road, Woolwich, SE18 6HO.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thamesmead will suffer after London City Airport expansion

Thousands of residents will suffer an extra 40,000 planes flying overhead every year after the High Court upheld a decision for the expansion of City Airport.

Campaigners in Thamesmead, which is directly under the flightpath to the airport in London Docklands, say it will mean a huge increase in noise and pollution now the plans have been given the go-ahead.

Pressure group Fight the Flights lost its judicial review against Newham council’s decision to approve the expansion plans. Now the group’s director, Anne Marie Griffin, of Melbury Road, Thamesmead, said it is considering appealing again.

She said: “This will increase flights to 120,000 per year from the current 80,000. It means noise will double. There are now 35 homes in West Thamesmead which are in the airport’s crash zone, meaning that if nothing was there already, it would not be allowed to be built for public safety reasons.

“A lot of people in this area do not have the option of moving as it is not an affluent area and a lot are in social housing or have just got on to the property ladder. They are stuck. It is going to be terrible.

“We are looking at having a flight overhead every 90 seconds. The numbers of jumbo jets from the airport is increasing so the noise is already getting worse.”

The campaigner, who set up the protest group with her husband Barry Griffin, said properties could also be damaged by the vibrations from the vortex left after the plane crosses the Thames, which is similar to a tornado.

Another resident Charles Saxby, of Hazlitt Court, Thamesmead, said that he is often woken from the sounds of planes to and from the airport.

He said: “Newham council without consultation have given the OK to an increase in flights to and from City Airport. I can see myself running around in the middle of the night with my handheld extinguisher pulling people out of a plane that has crashed on its way to City Airport. I hear planes from City airport well before they are overhead.”

The decision by the High Court last Thursday comes a week after London Mayor Boris Johnson renewed his call for a £40billion airport to be built in the Thames Estuary, an idea he first aired in 2008.

A report published last Tuesday and overseen by Transport for London deputy chairman Daniel Moylan said the UK economy would suffer and London would lose jobs to its European competitors unless a new airport was built in the South East.

Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce said the High Court’s decision was not good news for Thamesmead’s residents, adding: “Their lives are already blighted by living under the flight path of City Airport. My concern is that any increase in flights would lead to increased noise and pollution. Also it does not seem right to me that a decision has been made by one authority who may benefit from that decision without due consultation with the residents of representatives of Thamesmead, who are the people who have to live with the noise, pollution and risk of having low flying aircraft above their heads day after day.”

A spokesperson for the airport refused to comment on how the expansion would affect Thamesmead residents but did provide the following statement: “We are delighted with the decision to uphold the planning approval granted by the London Borough of Newham in July 2009 to increase the annual number of flight movements at London City Airport to 120,000.

“This is great news for London City Airport and Newham and will allow us, and our partner airlines, to continue our key role in supporting the local, regional and national economies and providing new local employment and training opportunities. The decision also enables us to continue supporting the much needed regeneration and investment which London City Airport has helped bring to east London over the past 23 years.”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

European Aviation CO2 emissions figures for 2010 - UK and Heathrow are WAY ahead of EU countries or airports

RDC Aviation

EU Aviation Emissions Report. Quarter 4 2010

Contains much more data. Below are some key figures.

CO2 Estimates By Country – December 2010

European Aviation emissions - Tonnes CO2


December 2010

Rolling 12 months (all 2010)

United Kingdom

3,534,971 (26%)



2,462,258 (18%)



2,049,766 (15%)


Spain and Canary Islands

1,320,057 (10%)



1,090,748 (8%)



985,905 (7%)



287,316 (2%)


CO2 emissions by Airport

Tonnes of CO2


December 2010

Rolling 12 months (all of 2010)

London - Heathrow

1,356,374 (16.4%)


Paris - Charles De Gaulle

816,199 (9.9%)



789,988 (9.6%)


Amsterdam - Schiphol






Rome - Fiumicino






London - Gatwick



Paris - Orly



Milan - Malpensa






Total - All Airports



"The tables and charts depict estimated CO2 output from scheduled commercial aviation at an
origin or destination within the scope of ETS. The data has been generated using methodology for
calculating fuel burn and conversion factors as directed by the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate
Change and ratified using proprietary RDC Aviation Ltd systems. Schedule feeds are taken from

Source Airport Watch

Friday, January 21, 2011

10% Decline in Flight Demand At London City Airport And The Taxpaying Scapegoats

Think it's noisy now? London City Airport shamelessly breached its planning agreement 4 years ago, (and Newham took no action at all) by allowing almost 20,000 more flights to use the airport than allowed - taking them up to around 90,000 air traffic movements that year. That year was a nightmare, and for many it was the tipping point from not being bothered too much by LCY operations at all, to being very bothered about the increasing noise levels. Now the Civil Aviation Authority statistics show that in 2010 the air traffic movements (atms) have plummeted back down to 59,919 offering a respite of sorts - but one that is purely as a result of lack of demand and which will change as quick as demand for flights changes.

If you think current noise levels are a problem at 59,919 atms then just imagine what it will be like at 120,000 atms per year and the impact on the daily lives of 100,000's of East Londoner's. Back in 2008, John Austin the then Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead made his concerns well known regarding the proposal to increase flights from 79,616 to 120,000 per annum:

“Many of my constituents are naturally concerned about increased levels of noise and atmospheric pollution if the planning application were granted. If permission is granted for an additional 40, 384 flights per annum over 260 week days, the airport will be allowed to operate an additional 155 flights per day".

So an 155 extra flights a day on top of the past allowance. If you are already affected things can sadly only get worse, and if you notice them but are not unduly bothered at the moment then be prepared as a 100% increase in flights each day will without a doubt further deteriorate already ridiculous noise levels and air pollution in the capital. We already know that noise levels in East London are comparable to those experienced in Kew due to noise research carried out, we also know that there is an ever building accumulative noise level of both London City and Heathrow jets overhead.

Surprisingly, Boris Johnson wants to make this worse for you too: he supports expansion at all airports apart from Heathrow, and in addition to continued expansion and more runways around the south east Boris Johnson wants a floating airport on the Thames Estuary. His plan isn't to replace other airport expansion, but to simply add to the capacity in the skies above us. These are the skies that both NATS and the CAA have already indicated that there is not enough space in. So what's changed? The aviation lobby, personal interests, politicians? Clearly the demand for flights is not there to support expansion plans despite their pulled out of the hat claims. LCY may keep spinning the PR of new flight routes, but they are not advertising how many flight routes have been dropped due to being unsuccessful and a lack of demand.

New flight routes being launched and then dropped at LCY within months does not indicate there is a demand from the public at all- Newquay to London City Airport was a great example. But of course at the time it was feted as having HUGE demand! Of course, that's why it's now completely disappeared off the timetable with many of the others. It's simply greed, and they can afford to be greedy: Aviation pays NO VAT and guess what: City Jet's new Boss on the block Christine Oumieres was reported on the Evening Standard website (sadly for some bizarre reason the item appears to have been pulled off the website yesterday - search for 'City Jet Tax' under the news category on Google and you'll find the listing):

"CityJet boss tells Government to look elsewhere for taxation targets‎"The boss of short-haul specialist carrier CityJet today fired a warning to the Government over making airlines a "tax scapegoat". ...

One resident commented:

"What a (bad) joke - no VAT or duty on fuel, no VAT on servicing, spares..... and they still can't make money? As the old soldier has it: "if you can't take a joke you shouldn't have joined". It can't be blamed on APD since "all those City types" whose vitally important travel is the airport's raison d'etre are able to claim back their travel costs as business expenses. So perhaps CityJet aren't charging enough".

Obviously airports like LCY refusing to pay their security costs to around the tune of £5million a year and letting London Taxpayers pay it for them, and ZERO VAT is just not enough for this aviation industry. I think we ALL know who the taxpaying scapegoats are here - and they are the taxpaying residents of London and beyond (especially those that don't even use the airport!).

2010 Total Air Transport movements for the whole year (CAA)

LONDON CITY 59919 -10.4

HEATHROW 449283 -2.4

GATWICK 233567 -4.8

STANSTED 143069 -8.3

Thursday, January 20, 2011

City Airport’s expansion is a green light to increased misery for many more Londoners – Caroline Pidgeon

CONTACT: Mark Morris, Senior Press Officer GLA Liberal Democrats, 020 7983 4336/ 07917214788

Immediate release: 20 January 2011

Caroline Pidgeon, Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group, commenting on today’s Judicial Review decision upholding Newham Council’s decision to significantly expand London City Airport said:

"Many people in east and south east London are already facing serious problems with noise and disturbance from air flights. Today's decision provides the green light to increased misery for many more Londoners.

“I remain convinced that greater scrutiny should have been given to the initial planning decision by Newham Council. Questions also remain as to why Greenwich Council never objected to the planning decision despite the serious impact that the airport is already having on so many of its residents.

"Most significantly this decision sends out the message that the economic benefits of aviation are still being exaggerated while its environmental harm is largely overlooked."



Friends of the Earth press release :

Embargo: For immediate release, Thursday, 20 January 2011

Contact: Neil Verlander, Friends of the Earth press office, 0207 566 1649

Anne-Marie Griffin, Chair of Fight the Flights: Tel: 07984 300558

Local people and green campaigners reacted with disappointment today after a High Court judge refused to overturn Newham Council’s decision to expand London City Airport. Campaigners are now considering an appeal.

Residents, represented by Friends of the Earth’s Rights and Justice Centre, took the council to court in November last year after it decided to allow a 50 per cent increase in flights. The community representatives argued that Newham Council failed to consider changes to Government policy on climate change and did not properly consult boroughs and residents in the surrounding area.

Reacting to the decision, Chair of local campaign group Fight the Flights Anne-Marie Griffin said:

“We are desperately disappointed by this judgement.

“London City Airport already causes major disturbance and pollution for people living locally – the disappointment we feel at this outcome will be shared by thousands of residents across East London who are severely affected by London City Airport’s operations but were not consulted about expansion.

“Without clear guidelines to local councils on aviation expansion, the emissions targets set have no hope of being met.

“Fight the Flights is currently taking legal advice as to whether to appeal.”

Friends of the Earth’s London Campaigner Jenny Bates said:

“Airport expansion will have a terrible impact on local people’s quality of life, as well as increase air pollution breaches and undermine efforts to tackle climate change.

“Many of the destinations served by London City Airport could easily be reached by fast rail travel.

“If this Government wants to keep its pledge to be the greenest ever it must develop a transport strategy which encourages people to use greener forms of transport over climate-wrecking flights.”


Notes to editors:

1. The High Court hearing took place on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 November 2010 at the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand in London.

2. Newham Council's decision to expand London City Airport by 50 per cent will increase flights from the airport from 73,000 to 120,000 a year. The decision was made in October 2008, after which Friends of the Earth's Rights and Justice Centre submitted a number of letters on behalf of Fight The Flights to Newham council in protest, raising the issues of climate change, air quality and race equality.

3. On 15 January 2009 the Government announced its intention to reduce aviation emissions to below 2005 levels by 2050. Newham Council issued a formal grant of planning permission at a meeting on 8 July 2009 without taking into account the Government's target in their decision-making.

4. Fight the Flights:

5. Friends of the Earth's Rights and Justice Centre provides access to legal advice and representation to people wishing to use the law to protect their communities and the environment. The Centre operates a free legal advice line for members of the public on 0808 801 0405 (open between 6.30-8.30 pm on alternate Wednesdays).

6. Friends of the Earth believes the environment is for everyone. We want a healthy planet and a good quality of life for all those who live on it. We inspire people to act together for a thriving environment. More than 90 per cent of our income comes from individuals so we rely on donations to continue our vital work. For further information visit

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

The Public Safety Zone (Crash Zone) is getting bigger - will it cover your home?

The Civil Aviation Authority has submitted a proposal to revise the public safety zone (PSZ) at London City Airport. The proposal can be seen here and most importantly maps are included so that you will be able to see if your property is currently or will soon be in the PSZ crash zone. Organisations and residents who will be affected are invited to respond. The closing date for submissions is the 2nd February.

More information about what a PSZ is can be found here. Long term followers of ours will be aware that we have raised multiple concerns about the PSZ and consultation procedures in the past, here, here, here and we are yet again dissapointed that it appears that the very people this change will affect have not been consulted and will be completely unaware of this proposal. Greenwich Council appear to have made no effort at all to ensure that the areas affected are kept informed by those responsible.

As a general view of the PSZ map the only residential properties covered by the PSZ are in:

West Thamesmead, Greenwich, SE28 therefore if you live in this area this is of particular importance to you.

No properties appear to be covered by the PSZ in Newham.

If you wish to respond to the CAA proposals and require assistance to do so please email: and we will do all we can to assist.