Below, you can find an at-a-glance summary of all our articles, blog posts and news to do with Flight Paths.
550% increase in complaints to City Airport following introduction of concentrated flight paths
Complaints to London City Airport have gone up by 550% since the introduction of the new concentrated flight paths. The figures were revealed in the airport’s 2016 Annual Performance Report, published yesterday (1). Last year there were nearly 400 complaints, up from 95 in 2015. In its report, London City admits the increase is down to the concentrated flight paths which were introduced in February 2016: “The spike in complaints, particularly from areas outside Newham, can likely be attributed to the implementation of Phase 1a of the London Airspace Management Plan (LAMP) which occurred at London City Airport from 4 February 2016.” LAMP was the plan which concentrated the flight paths.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN East which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, said “This dramatic jump in complaints comes as no surprise to us. It reflects what we have been hearing. It is essential that the airport reconsiders its decision to concentrate all its flight paths”.
The release of the complaint figures comes just a week after the London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for an end to the concentrated flight paths. In an answer to a question from Green London Assembly member Caroline Russell, he said, “It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flight paths that will address the severe noise impacts.
At present the Civil Aviation Authority is assessing a report from London City into the operation of the concentrated flight paths. It is expected to make its recommendations in the next month or two.
(1). Link to the report: https://www.londoncityairport.com/content/pdf/LCY%20Annual%20Performance%20Report%202016%20AW.pdf
London Mayor backs campaigners' call for end to concentrated flight paths
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has backed campaigners' calls for London City to end its concentrated flight paths. Below is the Mayor's written answer to a question put to him by Green Assembly member Caroline Russell
London City Airport - noise complaints
Question No: 2017/2794
According to London City Airport's statistics, presented to its Consultative Committee, since City Airport introduced concentrated flight paths, noise complaints from residents have increased four-fold in 2016, compared with the previous year. Will you press London City Airport to review their concentrated flight paths and clarify the steps they are taking to guarantee communities a break from aviation noise?
Written response from the Mayor
It is clear that the concentrated flight paths introduced by London City Airport are not working. Valerie Shawcross, my Deputy Mayor for Transport, met with London City Airport to raise these concerns with the Airport directly and press them on steps they can take. As part of the statutory airspace process, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is scheduled to undertake a review of the changes this year. We will continue to raise the issue with London City Airport. We also continue to make the case to the CAA that there must be a fairer distribution of flightpaths that will address the severe noise impacts.
You can now watch and track the London City aircraft as they arrive and depart. You can see the flight paths they use and, by inserting your postcode, you can see what happens over your home: https://www.londoncityairport.com/home/page/track-aircraft-in-your-area
Read people's stories about life under the concentrated flight paths: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/HACAN-East-booklet.pdf
Campaigners present 'flight path' cake to caa
On Friday 28th July HACAN East campaigners handed a 'flight path' cake to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to remind them of their opposition to City Airport's concentrated flight paths (at a time CAA looking at City Airport's report into the first year of operation of the flight paths). The CAA is expected to make recommendations in September regarding the flight paths. The CAA very much entered into the spirit of this fun event, but with a serious purpose.
WHEN A NEW FLIGHT PATH COMES YOUR WAY, UNEXPECTEDLY…..
This is taken from a paper produced by Gatwick Area Conservation Group, which represents residents impacted by Gatwick Airport, but people around most airports will share the emotions it describes when a new flight path unexpectedly comes their way......
Stage 1. Astonishment.
‘What are all these planes suddenly flying over our house? We’ve never had it like this before. OK yes, the occasional one once or twice an hour but these are absolutely nose-to-tail! Why haven’t we been told? Is it just a trial or is it going to be permanent?’
Stage 2. Anxiety.
‘I’m not sure we can live with this. We can’t go out-of-doors, can’t open the windows, we feel trapped in a hermetically sealed prison. Perhaps we should sell our house, move to somewhere quiet? But that means our children having to go to a new school and us leaving all our friends behind. And anyway this new flight path has knocked thousands of pounds off the value of our house, so we would have to make do with somewhere smaller.6 Trapped, with no escape! It’s all getting on my nerves. No wonder it causes heart attacks and strokes.’
Stage 3. Anger
‘Why weren’t we told? Meeting in the town hall – never heard about it. Parish Council objected – of course no one takes any notice of them. All this misery just for more and more cheap holidays, stag and hen nights. And I hear that airlines don’t pay any fuel tax or any VAT. Why should those bastards get all the benefit and we don’t get a penny in compensation for having our lives ruined?’
Stage 4. Determination
‘We hear there’s a local protest group started, and hundreds have already joined. So will we. We’ve got to fight this injustice. Worth subscribing generously if only we could get this flight path moved.’
Stage 5. Action
Protest group employs noise experts. Considers judicial review but usually finds it too costly. And each protest group encourages its members to write to the airport, or to NATS, or to the CAA, or to the DfT, or to local MPs, or to all of them. Thousands of emails are written, many addressed to the chief executives. Judicial review is sometimes successful.
Stage 6. Fury
The CAA confirms the route. The thousands of emails are ignored. Experts are over-ruled. Hard luck! No compensation. Distrust of the system….. in a recent case 17,000 objections were consigned to the waste bin because most of them came from outside the 57 leq contour, a ridiculous excuse when the Government is proposing to reduce the standard metric to 51 leq…
Stage 7. Despair
Gloom and resignation but with an enduring hate and distrust of the airport and all the bodies that are supposed to regulate the environmental impact of aviation.
NB: There is still hope for residents impacted by London City! The airport has not ruled out looking again at its concentrated flight paths later this year.
The full Gatwick paper can be found here: http://www.gacc.org.uk/resources/GACC%20Airspace%20Design%20response%20.pdf
HACAN EAST GIVES BROAD WELCOME TO AIRSPACE CONSULTATION
AIRSPACE POLICY CONSULTATION
On February 2nd the Department for Transport (DfT) launched its Airspace Consultation. It is a national consultation. The closing date for responses is 25th May.
On the same day the DfT launched its consultation on a 3rd runway at Heathrow. For more details of that consultation visit the website of HACAN, our sister organisation: www.hacan.org.uk
HACAN East broadly welcomes the Airspace Policy Consultation. Below we summarise the key points.
You can find the consultation at:
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/589099/uk-airspace-policy-consultation-executive-summary.pdf (summary). Responses to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, in order to respond, you don’t need to be an expert. Just say what you think and explain how aircraft noise affects you. But also feel free to use the points below.
The concentration of London City Airport’s flight paths in February 2016 caused a lot of grief across many communities. The introduction of concentrated flight paths at Gatwick also resulted in a huge number of complaints. The reaction of residents at London City and Gatwick to their concentrated flight paths was one of the things that persuaded the Department of Transport to produce this Airspace Policy Consultation. And it contains much that residents under London City flight paths will welcome.
It is proposing much more public engagement before new flight paths are introduced or changes are made to existing flight paths. This is to be welcomed.
It says that multiple routes are an option to avoid concentration over particular communities. This is welcomeIt argues that noise should be the key issue when flying planes below 4,000 ft and only one of the factors between 4,000 and 7,000 ft. That would be a continuation of the current situation. On the basis of where complaints come to us, HACAN East argues that noise should be the main consideration up until at least 6,000ft.
It proposes an Independent Noise Authority, ICCAN. It proposes a fully independent body; advisory rather than regulatory. Funding would come from Government to pay for a Board and a Secretariat. It would be housed within the CAA but independent of it. Local communities generally welcome the setting up of an Independent Noise Authority but will want guarantees that it will be truly independent and will have teeth.
It is proposing new metrics to replace the 57 decibel contour as ‘the onset of community annoyance’. This 57 decibel contour has been much criticized as not reflecting reality. For example, places like Leyton and Leytonstone are outside the 57 contour yet ircraft noise is clearly a problem. The DfT proposes replacing it with a 54 decibel contour and even, on occasion, with a 51 decibel contour. These are overdue changes which will reflect more accurately the areas where noise is a problem.
SURVEY CONFIRMS WALTHAM FOREST THE THIRD MOST OVERFLOWN BOROUGH IN LONDON
Research carried out by the campaign group HACAN has confirmed that Waltham Forest is the third most overflown borough in London (1). Although Hounslow and Richmond occupy first and second place, the survey revealed that only three of the top 12 most overflown boroughs are in West London.
HACAN calculated the combined impact of Heathrow and London City aircraft on each borough. It didn’t factor in the heights of the planes; only the number flying over each borough. It follows up a similar study carried out in 2009. It also put Hounslow, Richmond and Waltham Forest in the top three positions.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, “Our survey once again shows that aircraft noise is not just confined to West London. It has become a London-wide problem. Somewhere like Waltham Forest is bombarded by planes from both Heathrow and London City airports.”
HACAN found that the most significant change from the 2009 survey was the reduction in the number of flights over some of the inner London boroughs such as Camden and Islington. This was matched by an increase in flights over the South East London boroughs of Lewisham, Southwark and Lambeth. It put it down to the introduction of concentrated London City flight paths over these boroughs plus the fact that aircraft coming into land at Heathrow appear to be crossing the Thames further east than was previously the case.
The study comes out at the start of an important year for aviation. In a few weeks the Government is expected to release its consultation document on a Heathrow third runway as well as a consultation on future airspace strategy.
south london flight paths meeting
HACAN East held a Public Meeting in Catford on 7th December about the impact of London City Airport’s concentrated flight paths. The impact on South London has been considerable, affecting communities in Eltham, Lee, Catford, Dulwich, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall. Before the decision to concentrate the flight paths planes from City Airport were dispersed across a wide swathe of South London and resulted in few complaints from the area. Amongst the speakers were Len Duvall, the London Assembly member for Greenwich and Lewisham, and the local MP Heidi Alexander.
Leytonstone residents engraged about concentrated flight paths
By Laura O’Callaghan Waltham Forest Guardian, 5/10/16
People living under a flight path of London City Airport say they are “enraged” that they were not consulted about the increase in air traffic. The airport were given the paths in February meaning more planes will fly in a narrower space, which people say is impacting their sleep and quality of life. Michael Plant, who lives in Leytonstone, said the problem has got so bad that he is sleep deprived and almost crashed his car one day. The 45-year-old said: “It is just a complete nightmare. I might as well be sitting in the middle of a runway. “For eight months I was having between three and five hours sleep a night and I started to get migraines. “I ended up nearly crashing the car on the way to Sussex one day and I had to turn around and go back home. “Sometimes I hear the planes as early as 4.30am and they come every 50 seconds and I have to go out of the house just to keep myself sane.” Mother-of-two Saci Lloyd, who lives in Leytonstone, said she is angry that the airport didn’t consult residents and she feels there is no need for all the flights. The author said: “I feel enraged that they can do this without a public consultation. “It makes me feel powerless and like I am not being listened to, “Many of the planes are not full and they are carrying businessmen to Amsterdam and Geneva who could make a call instead. “Even when it’s hot I have to close the windows because of the noise and my son gets woken up early in the morning.” Steve Cushion, of Fladgate Road, Leytonstone, has lived in the area for 35 years. The 66-year-old said: “I think it is disgusting and I see no reason for building an airport in central London just so a few business men can save half an hour to get in and out. “I would like it to close but I realise it is really unlikely. “I want a reduction of their flights so I can sit outside in my garden because now it is not pleasant hearing planes all the time.” Chair of Forest Residents’ Association, Vaseem Gill, who has lived in Leytonstone for 30 years, said: “When my family sits out in our garden and a plane passes we cannot hear ourselves talk. “Also, when we go for a nice leisurely walk in the forest nearby it is annoying because there are planes constantly overhead.” A spokesman for London City Airport said: “From February this year, the airport was required to replicate its existing flight paths to enable a new form of aircraft navigation, as part of a wider programme to modernise airspace over south east England. “In practice, this means aircraft fly the same routes as previously, but more accurately. “A new system for arrivals was also introduced, positioning aircraft over the Thames Estuary to reduce time flying over residential areas.
WHERE THE PLANES ARE FLYING
Flights over Leyton, Leytonstone and Wanstead on 26th August 2016. Heathrow flight paths in blue taken from Webtrak between 5am and 11pm. London City flight paths in red taken from Travis Tracker between 9.30am and 11pm.
CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS BRING A FLOOD OF COMPLAINTS
29/8/16 for immediate use
Concentrated flight paths bring a flood of complains
London City Airport’s decision to concentrate all its flights paths earlier this year has resulted in a flood of complaints. HACAN East, which gives a voice to residents under the flight paths, today launched a short report outlining some of the complaints they received in just one month - read report: HACAN East booklet
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group, said, “We have received dozens of complaints over the last month. The hot weather has made people particularly aware of the planes. The concentrated flight paths have brought complaints from many areas for the first time. The complaints have come from vast swathes of east and south east London.”
One person in south London said, “We have gone from having little or no flights to one every 3 minutes. Some of us have spent a lifetime trying to get on the housing ladder only for this to happen.”
Another wrote: “I moved to Dagenham from Kingsland Road in Hackney in 2014 because my family & I wanted more peace and quiet; now it's noisier than living on Kingsland Road in Hackney; we are heart-broken.”
Stewart said that HACAN East has met with the airport who said they ‘have not closed their mind’ to looking again at the concentrated flight paths but will not do so until next year after the Government has issued its forthcoming consultation on national airspace policy.
CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS LATEST
Over the summer months we have had a steam of emails and phone calls from people disturbed by the new flight paths. They have come from huge swathes of east and south London.
This is a short update on the situation.
We have had meetings with both the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the airport in the light of the fact that the airport is required to review the concentrated flight paths. It seems clear from the meetings that the CAA does not consider it to be within its remit to initiate change but it will assess any changes the airport process. The airport told us that by February 2017 they need to produce a report for the CAA on whether the flight paths have achieved their purpose in operational terms. The CAA will comment on that report by May 2017.
But, more encouragingly, the airport did tell us it ‘has not closed its mind’ to some form of respite. They may look at that about this time next year. The Government is expected to consult on its airspace policy either later this year or early next year and City Airport wants to see what that says before looking again at its concentrated flight paths.
Meanwhile we have set up a group of MPs, GLA members and senior local councillors to keep pressure on the airport.
Many residents in East London are in despair following yesterday’s announcement by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that it will allow London City Airport to concentrate its flight paths (1). Campaign group HACAN East is considering legal action against the CAA.
Departure routes will be concentrated places like Bow, parts of Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Dagenham and parts of Havering. Areas of South London will also experience more concentrated routes.
The decision follows uproar at the lack of consultation on the proposals last year. City Airport just put a technical document on its website and inform the Consultative Committee. It was left to HACAN East to hold public meetings in the areas which would be affected. The airport argued that, because the change was largely replicating what was already happening, it was only required by the CAA to carry out a minimal consultation.
Local people, backed by many local authorities, MPs and members of the Greater London Authority, said that a full consultation should have been carried out as some areas would get 30% more planes than they do at present. The CAA was inundated with letters calling for a fresh consultation. Yesterday’s announcement means that the CAA has ruled out a new consultation.
HACAN East chair John Stewart said, “Many people will be in utter despair of the decision. It means that residents who were hardly overflown at all by planes from London City a few years back face (2) the prospect of living under a concentrated flight path for the rest of their lives. It is a terrible prospect.”
Stewart added, “The CAA is already under fire for its attitude towards residents around Heathrow and Gatwick. It is simply wrong that a body largely funded by the aviation industry should be taking these decisions. In our view it is not fit for purpose to have these responsibilities. We are discussing a possible legal challenge with our lawyers.”
For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641