Friday, February 25, 2011

London City Airports (Public Safety Zone) & The Thames Olympic Cable Car

London City Airport and it's Chief Executive Richard Gooding were today criticised for it's 'corporate conspiracy of silence' around its Public Safety Zone impact Boris Johnson's Cable Car application.

The Cable Car is a joint application between Transport for London and the London Development Agency from whom London City Airport have received £millions in taxpayer subsidies. [1]

TfL claim London City Airport raised no 'crash zone' objection and assured them that there was no issue relating to the Cable Car going through the Public Safety Zone. Richard de Cani told planning committees that London City Airport had no problem with the Cable car going through the safety zone.

London City Airport have refused to confirm this to be true and has refused to respond to questions relating to the crash zone. Did London City Airport tell TfL , as TfL claim , that there was no issue relating to the Cable Car and the Public Safety Zone? Did London City airport raise the crash zone as an issue at all?

London City Airport did raise an objection on safeguarding yet have studiously avoided any mention or comment about the Public Safety Zone
a far cry from their objection to Crossrail developing in the same zone. In a petition against Crossrail to the House of Lords they stated

"The worksite proposed as part of the Crossrail proposals at the Connaught bridge falls within the Public Safety Zone at the western end of the Airport. This is contrary to the objective of the Public Safety Zone which is to minimise the number of people working or congregating within the Zone" [2]

Newham Council have a safeguarding policy relating to London City Airports crash zone but since the application the Supplementary Planning Guidance has been found to be incomplete and the key DfT Circular Guidance section 18 on Transport Infrastructure has been completely omitted while maps are modelled on pre-expansion planning approval. [3] [4]

Alan Haughton said

"London City Airport's silence is deafening. Richard Gooding must now make his position clear. Has London City Airport told TfL that it's ok to build the Cable Car through it's Crash zone?"


Spokesperson - 0790 515 6922

(1) TfL Cable Car application update

(2) Crossrail / House Of Lords London City Airport objection

(3) Newham Council Supplementary Guidance for London City Airport

(4)DfT Public Safety Zone Circular

Monday, February 21, 2011

Boris Johnson's Cable Car funding plunges into crisis

Tower Hamlets Residents Group Press Release:

Boris Johnson's Cable Car funding plunges into crisis.

- Newham Councils Clive Dutton declares Cable Car fully funded.
- TfL deny private funding in place.
- Boris Johnson's Cable Car private funding promise in pieces.

A Campaign against Boris Johnson building a Cable Car through London City Airport's crash zone have uncovered that funding claims are completely unfounded.

Clive Dutton , Newham Councils Director for Regeneration last week told an influential group of planning strategists at the NLA that the Cable Car was fully funded.

Not so say Transport for London who just issued us with this reply,

"Funding arrangements for the scheme are still being finalised,although we anticipate that third party contributions, fare revenues and sponsorship will be key elements"

This is a far cry from TfL and the Mayors original claims of it being private sector funded. Fare revenue and sponsorship will not generate cash till after completion so where will the funding to build the project is still a mystery.

TfL's own Cable Car Consultation document stated that:

"TfL will not be paying to build this project. Instead, the project will be privately funded and discussions are taking place with interested third parties"

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has also stated

"The aim is to fund the construction of the scheme entirely from private finance"

The Mayor has already moved £1.2 million of taxpayer funded London Development Agency money into the scheme.

Resident Alan Haughton said

"We have gone from Cash Crisis to Crash Crisis. What should have been a simple, environmental way to cross the Thames has played out like an episode of The Office. Bad management, building through an airports crash zone , costs going from £25 million to £40 million and still no funding. Now if Boris Johnson could just perfect a David Brent style dance routine we may have found our opening act for the London Olympics"


Contact - 0790 515 6922

(1) NLA - http://www. event.php?id=227&name=nla_on_ location_investing_in_newham

(2) Cable Car Consultation Document http://www.architectsjournal. 5/PRINT%20FINAL.pdf

(3)BBC Funding report mindthegap/2010/12/12m_cable_ car_may_not_be_ready.html

(4) £1.2 million authorisation. runs-london/mayor/mayoral- decisions/md727

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NOT GUILTY Of Annoying The Airport By Complaining About Aircraft Noise

Press Release From GACC

An elderly lady was recently arrested, at the instigation of Gatwick Airport, for lodging too many complaints with the airport noise complaints line. She was charged with the criminal offence of using a telephone to cause annoyance or anxiety – although she only spoke to an airport answerphone set up to receive noise complaints.

Ann Jones of East Grinstead has been found NOT GUILTY. As Ann told the court: “It was not me annoying the airport: it was their aircraft which were annoying me.”

GACC chairman Brendon Sewill commented: “It is a disgrace that this case was ever brought. It has wasted a great deal of police time, court time and public money, and has added to the suffering of an elderly lady.

Ann Jones had adopted the tactic of ringing the airport answerphone each time she heard a plane. Although unusual, the court decided that this was not illegal. As Ann said: “What is the point of having a complaints service if one can’t use it to complain?”

The court heard that each of her calls was prompted by a specific aircraft (she did not call during periods when aircraft were routed elsewhere) and often drew attention to the fact that she had been woken by aircraft as early as 5.30 am.

“Many of our members are frustrated” Brendon Sewill told the court “by only getting an answerphone, never a real person.” The court also heard that the airport staff were under instructions not to discuss Mrs Jones’ complaints with her nor to make any response, and that Mrs Jones last had a response from the airport in 2006 and was naturally frustrated and angered by the airport’s refusal to respond.

“We hope that Gatwick Airport will now find better ways of handling complaints from people distressed by aircraft noise,” said Brendon Sewill. “Misuse of the legal system to intimidate complainants is unacceptable"

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For Immediate Release

Boris Johnsons Cable Car application decends into chaos

- Application withdrawn from Mayors Office

- TfL instruct NATS to do emergency safety assessment

- Newham Declare Cable Car fully funded and work to begin shortly

Boris Johnson's desire to see a Cable Car from Newham to Greenwich across the Thames has decended into farce.

The Cable Car application is through the London City Airport Public Safety Zone , also referred to as a "crash zone".

The application has now been withdrawn from the Mayors Office pending a safety assessment.

Objections sent to Newham and Greenwich Councils at the planning stages have now been sent to the Mayor regarding the potential disregard of the DfT PSZ Circular.

Greenwich Council have confirmed that they were asked to recall the application in a bid to extend the Mayor's 14 Stage 2 decision powers. GLA Planning have stated that it will be up to Newham Council to whether the application must be reheard.

TfL have instructed NATS to assess the risks of a Cable Car through the London City Airport Crash Zone in whats appears to be a complete reversal.

Transport For London's Richard de Cani stated at Newham Planning that

"The public safety zone issues relating to the London City Airport were not material considerations for the Cable Car. "

The NATS emergency safety report appears to completley contradict de Cani's claims.

He also claimed that London City Airport were specifically consulted on the Crash Zone. London City Airport have failed to respond to repeated queries asking to substantiate this claim.

Meanwhile Clive Dutton, Newham Councils Executive Director for Regeneration, Planning and Property stated at the NLA Conferance that the Cable Car is fully funded , has planning permission and will begin work soon. TfL have refused to comment on the funding situation.

Resident Alan Haughton said

"Boris Johnson's desire to see a Cable Car across the Thames for 2012 is an Olympic sized mess. The planning application has ignored key safety guidelines and objections. Newham Council supported the London City Airport expansion and were fully aware of the increased Public Safety Zone. Newham Council want two bites of the same cherry regardless of the potential human cost"

Nobody from Newham Planning was available for comment.


Spokesperson - 0790 515 6922

DFT Circular
TFL Cable Car project
De Cani quote - Newham Planning Minutes
Newham Planning application


Monday, February 14, 2011

Major study finds sleep deprivation increases stroke and heart disease risk


For immediate use

Email campaign launched to ban night flights at Heathrow

The week after a major new study linked chronic sleep shortage to increased risk of heart disease and strokes, HACAN has launched an email campaign to persuade MPs to back its call for a ban on night flights at Heathrow before 6am. Residents can email their MP and MEPs via the HACAN website:

The new study, released last week by Warwick University , is one of the biggest-ever into the effects of sleep deprivation. It is based on the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people across eight countries. Chronic short sleep produce hormones and chemicals in the body, which increases the risk of developing heart disease, strokes and other conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, according to Dr Michelle Miller of the University of Warwick.

She and Professor Francesco Cappuccio, who co-authored the report published in the European Heart Journal, followed up evidence spanning seven to 25 years from more than 470,000 participants across eight countries, including Japan , the US , Sweden and the UK .

Professor Francesco Cappuccio said: "If you sleep less than six hours per night and have disturbed sleep you stand a 48% greater chance of developing or dying from heart disease and a 15% greater chance of developing or dying from a stroke."

HACAN Chair John Stewart, “The evidence is overwhelming. Sleep disturbance damages our health. We are calling on people to back our email campaign to end night flights at Heathrow before 6am”.

Last month HACAN published a study from consultants CE Delft which found that sleep disturbance at Heathrow was costing the country so much money in terms of poor health, early death and low productivity at work that it would almost certainly help the economy if flights were banned before 6am.

The current agreement with airlines on night flights at Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick comes to an end in Autumn 2012. The Government is expected to start consulting on a new agreement later this year.


For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

Press Release dated 14/2/11

This Saturday: Grounded – A session on the future alternatives to airport expansion

Progressive London Conference

This year, for the first time at a Progressive London conference, the future of aviation and the demands for airport expansion will come under the spotlight when leading campaigners and activist speak at a session on the future of aviation on Saturday 19th February at the TUC.

Among the speakers will be Anne –Marie Griffin, Chair of Fight the Flights who have led the campaign against the expansion of City Airport, John Stewart from the successful campaign HACAN who led the fight against a third Heathrow runway, and London Assembly Member Murad Qureshi.

The session on aviation links in with other discussions during the day, including sessions on the environment and transport.

With over twenty sessions and 50 speakers, the third annual Progressive London conference on the 19th February at the TUC is at the centre of the debate for finding the alternatives – of showing that there is an alternative.
Progressive London Conference - This Saturday

19th February 2011,
Congress House, Great Russell St, London WC1H

Register now!
£10 (individuals) £6 (unwaged)

Friday, February 11, 2011

London City Airport Ground Staff Look to Set Strike Over Conditions

We are well aware that there have been issues with staff conditions and contracts at London City Airport over the past year. Disgruntled staff have been contacting us during the time and we know that they have also been in contact with Stephen Timms MP over the issue. They are very very angry at what they call 'appalling treatment' they have been at the receiving end of. It appears that the issue is now coming to a head, as reported by the GMB press release beneath. The problems just never end for LCY:

Ballot London City Airport

Friday 11th February 2011


If GMB members vote in favour of strike action this will have an impact on all CityJet, Air France and KLM flights arriving and departing from LondonCityAirportin March

The GMB Central Executive Council (CEC) which meets on Tuesday 15th February 2011 will be asked to give permission for an official strike ballot for ground staff at London City Airport. The staff are employed by an agency Aviation Resources and provide checking-in and dispatch services for the airlines CityJet, Air France and KLM flights. The dispute is about pay, treatment and terms & conditions of employment.

CityJet has refused to sanction a pay rise given the level of inflation since 2008. The employer Aviation Resources, is wholly reliant on each airline for the pay and conditions of employment of the staff they supply. CityJet management is also accused of bullying tactics. A typical example is where CityJet told a new mother on her first day back to work following the birth of her baby boy that her ‘grooming needed attention’ as she had ‘put on weight’. The airline is insisting she remove her nose stud, which is integral to her religious beliefs. She is now off work having been sent home whilst the CityJet Manager who gave the orders remains at work.

In addition, CityJet has also demanded changes in terms and conditions of employment. CityJet has insisted that the part-time mothers loose their flexible rosters that they have had over past years and go on to general rosters. These will impact badly on their childcare arrangements and ability to work at the airport.

GMB members have already voted by 97% for industrial action in a consultative ballot of all the members working on the CityJet contract at London City Airport. GMB has offered to go to mediation at ACAS and is awaiting a response from the members’ employer Aviation Resources.

Stephanie Attwood, GMB Organiser said: “CityJet’s behaviour is from another era, running roughshod over people’s rights and dignity with no regard to race, religious or family commitments. It is only a matter of time before the balloon goes up.

The GMB CEC will be told that CityJet is the problem. CityJet itself has refused to negotiate with GMB and compounds this by refusing to allow Aviation Resources to have meaningful discussions with GMB. Unfortunately, the other airlines could get caught in the crossfire and I urge them to seek to influence CityJet to put things right as soon as possible.

If the GMB CEC gives permission for an official strike ballot and if GMB members vote in favour of strike action, this will have an impact on all CityJet, Air France and KLMflights arriving and departing from London City Airport in March.”


Contact: Stephanie Attwood, GMB Organiser on 07793 211525 of GMB Press Office: Rose Conroy on 07974 251823 or Steve Pryle on 07921 289880.

Noted to Editors: CityJet, Air France and KLM are all part of the same group.

Whilst you pay more VAT: No VAT is charged on aviation fuel or flights from airports within the EU.

It seems all money that aviation (London City Airport) take from the London Taxpayer, as per yesterday's posts here and here, is simply not enough! For an airport and industry that likes to make wild claims about how much they contribute, they certainly seem keen to take a lot from you the taxpayer. The Channel Islands also seems to be a favourite place of London City Airport for registering business too. Strange that.

Few people are aware that aviation pays no VAT on aviation fuel and flights. We can only welcome the news in The Guardian that 'TakeVAT' is highlighting the issue of how much these and other tax breaks are costing the tax paying public. We can only hope that TakeVAT builds and builds.

Take VAT plans action against companies avoiding the 20% tax

Protest group inspired by UK Uncut activists to stage first action against groups avoiding VAT
It was formed less than six months ago, but the success of UK Uncut's non-violent, direct actions is inspiring similar protest movements. One of these, Take VAT, stages its first actions on Saturday.

Take VAT, which describes itself as a "UK Uncut-esque" action group, was formed last month to raise awareness of companies that avoid paying VAT.

These range from companies such as HMV and Tesco, which use a VAT loophole to sell CDs and DVDs VAT-free from the Channel Islands, to airlines. No VAT is charged on aviation fuel or flights from airports within the EU.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hedge Fund Owned London City Airport Make More Unbalanced Claims

Since the the 18th November we keep hearing about a report that the City of London Corporation have paid York Aviation to carry out. Interestingly, the media have referred to it on various occasions since, but low and behold, none of them had seen the report when we questioned them. So all the spin and claims were without any reference to evidence for the past few months.

Today we see more over exaggerated claims from the airport about their self claimed contribution to London.

"As well as direct economic benefits, it has also levered investment in public transport, in particular the DLR extension to Woolwich Arsenal"

Really, they invested so much in the DLR? Transport from London and the Transport Select Committee didn't seem to think their contribution was so great as we wrote in a blog item in November 2008:

At the Select Committee on Transport 9 May 2007, yet again it appears that London City Airport c/o Richard Gooding has been shirking it full financial responsiblities. The moths must really build up in LCAs gold coin purse. Before reading the following, keep in mind that LCA consistently tells residents in Newham that LCA is responsible for the regeneration, particularly in the Royal Docks. They have indeed even claimed that it was down to them that the DLR came to town, always inferring that they have invested so much finance into the area and into the DLR - seems they didn't invest as much as they'd like you to think:

Q595 Chairman: How do you think dedicated services ought to be funded from airports as public transport?

Mr de Cani: The DLR extension has been funded primarily through Transport for London so it is publicly funded. However, there are small contributions through planning gain agreements, section 106 agreements. London City Airport has made a small contribution to the extension of the order of about £2 million. That compares to a capital cost of about 140 million. We would have liked it if they had made a bigger contribution and we tried to do that but the railway is serving a whole range of other objectives and contributing to the regeneration of east London so this extension was not just about the airport. We think they got a good deal.

Chairman: I am sure they did.

So they 'levered' in £2 million out of £140 million towards the DLR. So that adds up to just over a 1.4% contribution, the rest picked up by....surprise, surprise the London taxpayer! Still, going on how difficult it is to get money out of London City Airport (see reference to security costs) then we can imagine it really did have to be 'levered'.

As for LCY being the main regenerator of the area, it is arguably Exel that is the driving force bringing in £1.6b annually (just a little more than the claimed £500m by the airport!), without the noise and air pollution and whom have won awards for their wormery. The best you'll get for 'green initiatives' at LCY, is a photo of a paper shredder, as proudly displayed in their application for expansion.

Richard Gooding was quoted as saying: “Whilst we have to do everything we possibly can to mitigate environmental impacts, we run into the trap of ignoring the benefits,”

Well there's one thing that London City Airport haven't done and that's ignore the benefits, the business welfare benefits on offer to them: particularly those from the London tax payers purse through all the millions of pounds of subsidies from the London Development Agency. But don't forget the £5.5m+ a year security bill which they simply refuse to pay because they think you, the London tax payer, should pay it for them. Yes, the London tax payer is paying for a private hedge fund owned airport!

So when your council cuts your services, closes down your libraries, reduces your policing due to the economic environment at the moment: question whether London City Airport are being told to sling their hook and pay their own £5.5 million security bill, repay the £24 million security costs they've had over the past 5 years or so, and repay all the tax payer funded monies they have been given by the LDA over it's lifetime? Apparently we're all in this together, aren't we? So if your communities funding is being cut, why would tax payers money continue to be given to a privately owned airport?

Richard Gooding is correct in referring to an 'unbalance': there is clearly a very big imbalance between the amount of London taxpayers money which has funded the airport and how little is given back to Londoners. It's ironic and strange, for an airport that claims it is 'integral' and a key source of regeneration that after 25 years that Newham is still one of the most socially deprived boroughs in the country.

It must have been really helpful for that lowest tax band increase on the lowest earners to help subsidise private businesses like London City Airport. Never mind where the money comes from or at what cost eh?

Private Hedge Fund Owned London City Airport Given Millions Of London Taxpayers Money

£50,000 to develop a website, £1.6million towards the construction of an additional apron...oh and £5m+ a year to pay for airport security.

In a recent Freedom of Information request to the London Development Agency it was revealed that between 2004 -2011 London City Airport received: £1,256,629.00 of London taxpayers money from the LDA alone.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of how London taxpayer public monies are 'given' to a joint private hedge fund owned airport: London City Airport.

Clearly, we are not all in it together at all. Shocking!


London Development Agency:

Greater London Authority:

Len Duval, GLA Member Lab, asked a question in City Hall in 2007 about LCY's unwillingness to even contribute towards it's own security costs - LCY continue to let London taxpayers pay 100% of their security costs.

Question number 0043/2007
Meeting date 10/10/2007
Question by Len Duvall

I am not asking you to comment on the planning application; it is more about the commercial engagement with London City Airport . Are you aware that London City Airport provides no cost towards the security of its perimeters and, in a sense, that we and part of the GLA family are subsidising them? Before you enter into commercial agreements with London City Airport or give any undertaking that security, the primacy of security around our airports and users of airports comes first and therefore that they should not be subsidised by London taxpayers, they should make a contribution like other airports; even Heathrow are cooperating in that. There seems to be a real problem with London City Airport ; they do not seem to want to even engage in a conversation about costs and they are quite adamant they are not going to pay it. Do you see that as being a part of a discussion that you may wish to have to them before you exercise any commercial deal?

Answer by Manny Lewis, LDA
Given that you have raised it, Len , absolutely, in terms of the Metropolitan Police Service position. I am not familiar with those security issues; you have alerted us to those. We need to follow those up both with the Metropolitan Police Service as well as with TfL and we will certainly now factor that in.


Article taken from the Newham Recorder but which has now been removed from the Recorder's webpage:

THE Metropolitan Police Service has spent £24 million policing London City Airport in Silvertown over the past five years, it has emerged.

The figure came to light after London Assembly Green Party member Jenny Jones tabled a question on the cost. Mayor of London Boris Johnson's written response detailed the money spent on policing in each of the last five financial years.

In 2004/05 it was £2 million, £5.5 million in 2005/06, £5.3 million in 2006/07, £5.5 million in 2007/08 and £5.6 million for the current financial year.


Parliamentary Questions:

Neill, R - Airports use of Regional Development Agency funding
Robert Neill (Conservative Communities and Local Government Minister): To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what payments each regional development agency has made to airports in the last 12 months; and for what purposes such payments were made in each case.

Pat McFadden (Business, Innovation and Skills Minister): The following table shows RDA payments to airports in the last 12 months.

Payments to airports in the hundreds of Thousands

This relates to preliminary costs in respect of the project to extend the main runway at Birmingham International airport.

This was a payment made as part of a £1.6 million Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant to London City airport. The grant was a contribution to a wider £39.8 million project to construct additional apron over the north-west corner of the George V Dock, increasing stand space and providing an extra runway link.

This is comprised of: (a) four payments to Newcastle International airport to finance route development support to Copenhagen , Bergen and Krakow, as well as the cost of hiring a meeting room; (b) three payments to Durham Tees Valley airport for route development support to Warsaw as well as gap funding for economic development at the adjacent business park.


AWM – Advantage West Midlands; LDA – London Development Agency; ONE – One North East; EEDA – East of England Development Agency; EMDA – East Midlands Development Agency; NWDA – North West Development Agency; SEEDA – South East of England Development Agency; SWRDA – South West Regional Development Agency; YF – Yorkshire Forward.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

'Air Talk'

A short film about air and relatedness in an atmosphere of noise.

Evening Standard Cover Boris/TFL Cable Car/ London City Airport Crash Zone Saga

Boris Johnson's London cable car 'will cross airport crash zone'

Pippa Crerar, City Hall Editor

Boris Johnson's plan for a cable car across the Thames was in doubt today after it emerged the route will cross a "crash zone" around London City Airport.

Residents have raised serious safety concerns and called for a delay until an investigation takes place.

They say the cable car will pass through the extended public safety zone that would come into force following an increase in flights of up to 50 per cent. It means up to 340 people at any one time could be at risk if a plane crash-landed or overshot the runway. The cable car, approved by Greenwich and Newham councils and the Thames Gateway Development corporation, would carry up to 2,500 passengers an hour between North Greenwich and Royal Docks. Continued on the Evening Standard here

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Transport for London, London City Airport and The Cable Car

Pictured above: CAA revised London City Airport PSZ Map

We've been closely following the story of the cable car crossing from North Greenwich to the Royal Docks in Newham and the issue around the Public Safety Zone (PSZ/crash zone). Many of you will know we are fairly familiar with matters of the PSZ and have written about it many times before which can be seen here, here, here and here.

Transport For London (and interested parties) want a cable car to cross the Thames, from the South to the North and land at the West end of the Royal Docks, Newham. There's just one problem though: the cable car goes right through the current PSZ of London City Airport. Low flying planes on landing and take off, a cable, cable houses, and an estimated 5000 travellers an hour, all at the end of London City Airport's runway. It's a bit like putting an electric fan heater in the far corner of a bathroom and hoping that it doesn't get splashed with water (please don't take anything electrical in the bathroom, it is a hazard to life). If an incident were to happen where the cable was broken, it appears the whole cable car system would be affected. We do not want to see anything like the Cavalese Cable Car Incident happen in London.

It appears however that the authorities wish to down play, or actually ignore the PSZ policy which is written by the DfT. Richard de Cani , Director of Strategy and Policy at Transport for London, who submitted the planning application, even went so far to state in the Newham Council Planning Meeting minutes that:

"The public safety zone issues relating to the London City Airport were not material considerations for the Cable Car. "

So that's alright then!

What concerns us is that TFL choose to ignore something as important as your safety when the DfT have clearly put a policy in place for all airports to protect and reduce the risk to persons in the areas each end of runways. TFL did however suddenly find an interest in the PSZ as they spent a considerable amount of time and days on this blog during the week of the planning meetings.

The DfT circular on the PSZ policy is quite clear: no new developments are to be built in PSZ areas and the people present in the PSZ should be reduced over time. There is a clause for low intensity transport, but 5000 passengers an hour dangling in cable cars from a cable that goes right across the PSZ and flight path of London City Airport flights is not 'low intensity'. The PSZ has grown as the planes have got bigger and more flights are allowed, so the size of the PSZ is simply a further blight on the use of land in East London for regeneration, but it seems that some authorities want to have their cake and eat it, especially if the risk is someone elses. Who better than the unsuspecting public?

Even London City Airport themselves raised the concern of Crossrail using an area of land within the PSZ in the Royal Docks and objected in their petition to the House of Lords:

"The worksite proposed as part of the Crossrail proposals at the Connaught Bridge falls within the Public Safety Zone at the western end of the airport. This is contrary to the objective of the Public Safety Zone which is to minimise the number of people working or congregating within the Zone.Aircraft operations at London City Airport cannot be modified to accommodate the extent of activity in this area. Should such activity be deemed to be unsafe by the Civil Aviation Authority , restrictions may be imposed on the aerodrome licence , which would severely curtail or prevent commercial operations......."

We are told that Transport for London's Richard DiCani was alegedly clasping an out of date PSZ map as his justification for not needing to consider the PSZ at one of the planning meetings. However considering the ATWP is quite clear that any planning authority considering applications around an airport should always take into account the full masterplan, and that the Civil Aviation Authority had released a new PSZ map in mid December to both Greenwich and Newham Councils (which is a notification, not consultation, there is a distinct difference between the two) which clearly indicated that the cable car was to travel through the PSZ.

The extent of the PSZ (albeit different to the most recently published map) had also been indicated in predictive maps in the London City Airport expansion application, so there is really little excuse for the PSZ and the associated risks not to have been fully considered as required by the DfT circular and policy.

What is even more surprising is that it is very hard to find where the PSZ has been properly addressed at all in the Cable Car application process and three authorities went ahead and approved it 2 weeks ago. It is that which appears to have raised enough concerns from Friends of the Earth and a local Tower Hamlets resident to challenge this approval, both of whom we are assured fully support a cable car, but not at the expense of the safety of those on the ground and passengers.

The latest development in this sorry saga is the release of a wake turbulence report from London City Airport (more to follow on this in the coming days!). The cable car not only sits in the PSZ, it also sits in the wake turbulence path as modelled by Halcrow. At the Greenwich Planning meeting it was stated that "the applicant has been advised by London City Airport that wake turbulence will not be a significant issue". Considering the reports indicate that there have been two incidents of wake turbulence damage recorded (considerable damage to a roof of a building in one) and it appears these have been so since the introduction of larger jets, it seems that the focus should be on the word 'significant'. Wake turbulence is heard 3-4 times a week at the end of the runway, and cannot be ruled out as not a risk to the cable car system at all - hence the use of the word 'significant' no doubt! We suspect that most passengers in the cable car would not wish to be caught up in a wake turbulence vortex, not unless they were expecting a white knuckle ride across the Thames.

To illustrate the impact of wake turbulence on the ground, let alone to a cable car, this may assist: "In the late 1970s I was driving north on I-5, passing the end of SAN Lindbergh Field. A Delta L-1011 was just touching down on 27 and I noticed that a palm tree in the median of the freeway was flailing wildly. A moment later the vortex hit me. It almost rolled my VW bus over." More documentation of just how serious it can be read here and here.

We will be posting a lot more on wake turbulence, what it is and what residents experience in a wake turbulence attack in the coming days.

Now objections have been submitted to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and he has been requested to call the application in on safety grounds. Boris is going to have to deal with just one of the consequences of his support for London City Airport expansion now, how untimely that it should come so soon!

We are just struck by how the PSZ suddenly became less important and one that apparently local authorities can afford not to fully consider to protect the safety of individuals around airports.

Monday, February 07, 2011

HACAN PRESS RELEASE: Deluge of complaints on night flights

Campaign group HACAN has been deluged by complaints about night flights following the publication of its report two weeks ago (1). The group has today released a digest of some of the emails they received from people outlining how they are disturbed by night flights (2). The emails came from as far afield as Greenwich and North East London.

HACAN Chair John Stewart said, “We have been inundated by emails and phone calls since we published our report on night flights. Of course not everybody is woken up by night flights, but for those people who are, there is no escape from the noise. For them, night flights gave become a regular nightmare. The first plane coming over at 4.30 am is their alarm clock.”

HACAN is calling on the Government to ban flights before 6am. The current agreement with the airlines runs out in October 2012 (3).

Last month’s report published by HACAN showed that a ban would be likely to save the country money. The report, from the respected Dutch economists CE Delft, found that a ban on night flights before 6am could benefit the national economy by as much as £860 million over a 10 year period. The big savings would be in the monetary costs associated with sleep deprivation. Because of the huge number of people living under the Heathrow night flight path, these savings could be expected to outweigh any loss of income to the aviation industry.


Notes for Editors:

1. The report, which looked at the economic impact of a ban on night flights at Heathrow, was launched in the House of Commons at a meeting hosted by Zac Goldsmith MP on 27th February. The report is on the HACAN website:

2. The digest is attached.

3. Every 5/6 years the Department for Transport enters into an agreement with the airlines using the country’s three ‘designated’ airports – Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick – on the number of flights permitted during the ‘night quota’ period (from 11.30pm – 6am). At present at Heathrow 16 flights are allowed (averaged over the year). They are all landings. There are no scheduled departures, though some are allowed in emergency situations. The first landing aircraft arrives around 4.30 am. In the full night period (11pm – 7am) there are over 80 flights.

For further information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641; 07957385650

Press Release dated 7/2/11

Thursday, February 03, 2011

FTF's Formal Response to the CAA's Consultation of Future Airspace Strategy

RE: Formal response to the CAA consultation on Future Airspace Strategy (FAS) 2011 – 2030


  1. Fight the Flights (FTF) is a residents group which was initially formed in 2007 to campaign against the expansion of London City Airport whilst considering the environmental and public health effects of the operations of the airport in this most densely populated area of the country. FTF now also performs a watchdog role upon the operations of London City Airport and the management of planning conditions by Newham Council aswell as political lobbying. FTF provides information, advice and support to residents in any area affected by London City Airport flights and has formed an alliance with HACAN due to the accumulative effect of both Heathrow and London City Airport flights over a vast area of south and east London.

  1. We welcome the invitation to positively contribute to this consultation and look forward to continuing positive dialogue with the CAA in the future. We are particularly pleased to see that the environment has been highlighted as one of three drivers of new policy and a willingness of the CAA to look at things 'radically'. We also welcome a focus on reducing noise. These are all points that could have a positive impact in improving the quality of life and health of residents in east and south London and across the UK as a whole with associated gains beyond in regard to reducing emissions and the impact of aviation's contribution to global climate change.

  1. We would like to raise our concern that at this first stage the consultation appears to be solely aimed at the aviation industry. We feel that it is imperative that communities and NGOs are included and have accessibility to contributing to such a consultation in the very first stages. This essentially promotes a balanced starting point, with all interests being dealt with equally at the same time. We appreciate that the consultation material is technical, but it should not be assumed that such data cannot be grasped by those outside of the aviation industry. However we do feel that it would be best practice to always present the data and text in a way that is generally felt would be accessible to the widest audience possible. This should also take into account equal opportunities on a wide scale and be shaped accordingly. We appreciate this offers challenges in itself but we feel a consultation that is inclusive and accessible adds value in the long term and enables positive dialogue to be built whilst acknowledging equal opportunities.

Further Research Required

  1. FTF welcomes the new strategy offering a chance to review flight paths and the acknowledgment and commitment that ‘.... careful analysis is required to understand the issues .... [such as] concentration versus dispersion of aircraft routes across the ground.’

  1. Research is needed to assess the disturbance caused to people by dispersing flights over what are currently lightly/not flown over areas against the disturbance caused by the concentration of flights. The impact of both methods needs to be fully understood if the best case scenario is to be secured. We would not advocate a move that removes the problem of noise from one locality only to drop it upon another area which would simply move the problem to another set of people. We do however support an approach in which the impacts of the options on communities are fully researched and decisions made upon independent and objective analysis, providing a basis for fairness and transparency.

  1. Research is needed into the way aircraft noise is measured. Leq is outdated and simply does not reflect the noise levels that communities experience: we would like to see this replaced by Lden and in doing so, see the measurement fall in line with the EU. The ANASE report reflected much more accurately the noise that residents and communities actually experience and we feel strongly that the previous government made an error of judgment in they way that it de-valued and discarded the findings. Since the introduction of the Embraers: E170 and E190 at London City Airport it appears that low frequency noise is a particular problem and appears to be prevalent in these newer aircraft. Since a sizable proportion of noise of landing aircraft is caused by the airframe, low pitch noise may be a significant, but under-recorded, element in noise complaints

London City Airport Flight Paths

  1. In the past year we have seen considerable disruption and annoyance from residents who have found themselves newly affected or beneath a more intensified flight path as a result of the SIDS changes at London City Airport. The impact and changes have been discussed with the CAA over the past year in written exchanges and meetings. The impact of these changes have been further compounded by the constant heavy volume of Heathrow flights crossing east and south London in readiness to join the CDA to Heathrow.

  1. The height of aircraft on take off from London City Airport is held down in order to pass beneath Heathrow flight routes. Keeping LCY flights at this lower level, whilst also making a sharp turn upon taking off into the West has the effect of compounding aircraft noise over a concentrated path, but wide area of east London. We welcome the suggestion in the draft strategy that in a redesign of air space an endeavor will be made to remove such restrictions.

  1. Although there are claims in the wider realm outside of this consultation regarding aircraft noise having reduced over the last decade this is not what the communities, both those local and some considerable distance away reflect. At London City Airport this has been due to massive increases in flight numbers, and also in the size of aircraft, and most particularly in noisier profile jets replacing quieter profile propeller planes. It is worth us pointing out that it has been the ever increasing amount of jets at London City Airport that forced the SIDs change in 2009 and which have also had an all round effect of causing more disruptive noise events throughout the day. This is of course in addition to the constant stream of Heathrow traffic above the layer of London City Airport aircraft. It is the ceiling of Heathrow planes and the forced lower level flight of LCYs that further concentrates aviation noise levels over south and east London.

  1. In recent years the problem of disturbance to people living under the Heathrow and London City Airport approach path has been getting worse, partly because of the increase in the number of aircraft movements from both London City Airport and Heathrow. Aircraft are larger and Air Traffic Control is instructing aircraft to join the straight ILS path further out (for Heathrow), and improvements in navigational equipment mean that for the final approach all aircraft now follow a narrow track. People living directly under the flight path up to 30 miles east of Heathrow airport suffer a continuous stream of aircraft overhead and above the stream of London City Airport aircraft that operate at a lower level.

  1. The decision to instruct most Heathrow aircraft to join the ILS glideslope further out has brought disturbance to new areas further east. Other areas previously overflown have benefited, but for those people adversely affected the situation has become intolerable. They feel it is totally unfair that they should be made to suffer the whole burden. Residents find that the more noise events (i.e. individual aircraft flyover) there are, the more disruptive they find it. Frequent lower levels of noise are considered worse than the occasional higher noise: constant noise brings the feeling that there is no escape from it, and for some this leads to desperation. This is indicated in the complaints that residents make to our group and other bodies. Many have found themselves becoming actively involved in lobbying and campaigning for the first time in their lives as a result of the increase in aircraft noise and disruption to their lives.

Concentration or dispersal?

  1. There is strong support from residents in some areas for a curved final approach on Heathrow ILS paths, this should be introduced in order to enable aircraft to join the glide slope nearer the airport and thus reduce the problem of concentration in those areas.

  1. The draft Strategy recognises that any new flight paths would need consultation. There is a case to be made that it would be fair to share the misery of noise from curved flight paths joining the ILS, however the impact on residents should be fully considered and any decision should be based on the assumption of fairness. Any area faced with increased aircraft overhead will wish to be fully consulted and feel that the impact upon them has been fully considered and compared with alternatives. We cannot highlight enough the need for inclusiveness and transparency in the consultation and decision making process.

Continuous Descent Approach

  1. A considerable amount of noise is generated from Heathrow aircraft banking over east and south London to join the ILS. We were advised by the CAA that pilots are told (in regard of best practice) to glide the aircraft when joining the ILS, however it is clear that this is rarely carried out. We have been informed that there is considerable variation between the airlines training of pilots to minimize noise. However there is no regulation, nor recording of the noise of aircraft joining the ILS and therefore the issue fails to be addressed. Without identifying which aircraft and pilots are not using noise reduction methods when possible, the situation cannot be improved. However with the use of noise monitoring of aircraft from beneath the flightpaths a positive improvement in noise levels could be achieved with best practice.

Climate Change

  1. We would welcome a focus on reducing emissions and hence the impact on climate change. This would of course be in line with the Governments Aviation Policy target of returning aviation emissions to 1996 levels. The direct routing of aircraft would contribute in some way towards this and minimize disruption for some areas.

  1. We feel that the section dealing with strategy on climate change is somewhat misleading: The statement ‘Aviation CO2 emissions currently account for [..]1.6 % of global GHG emissions’ is indeed the global figure but it is relevant to acknowledge that UK airport departures account for about 6% of UK total emissions. In addition this figure is set to increase considerably in future years if aviation expansion is to continue. By presenting only the global figure it does not give a clear picture of aviation emissions in the UK at all. The majority of aircraft seats in the UK are filled by UK citizens, therefore the climate change attributable is even higher. Any strategy should therefore be based on a realistic assessment of the damage caused by air travel.

  1. In addition it is stated: The [IPCC] review estimated in 2050 under ‘business as usual’ projections that CO2 emissions from aviation … would account for around 5% of the total warming effect in 2050. Airlines often quote this in order to minimize their responsibility to reducing emissions, but again this is misleading. The 'business as usual’ term makes the unrealistic assumption that neither Britain nor any other country will take any action to reduce C02 emissions during the next forty years. The CAA should not build an Air Space Strategy on an uncritical acceptance of airline propaganda and to do so would be irresponsible and short sighted.

  1. The draft Strategy refers to the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) advice that the UK aviation demand growth should be restrained to around 60% by 2050 if it is to be compatible with the target of keeping CO2 emissions no higher than 2005. The Strategy is at fault in not mentioning that the CCC considered this equivalent to a 55% increase in the number of flights. It therefore appears wasteful and irresponsible for the CAA to base the draft Strategy on an 80% growth in flights. Indeed an 80% growth, not by 2050 but by 2030.

  1. We would like to see the Air Space Strategy revised to take into account the recommendations of the Climate Change Committee.

Other comment

  1. We would like to reiterate the value that any decisions which will have an impact on communities should be fully researched and are based on objective analysis and fairness. We do not support a moving of a problem from one area only for it to be given to a new area. We very much value looking at positive and fair solutions to mitigate and improve the quality of residents lives and environment in a fair and transparent manner.