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.
LATeST Newsletter out now!
Sunday 25th June 2017
CHECK OUT THE FLIGHT PATHS
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
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.
City Airport is consulting on the introduction of new and quieter planes and lower noise limits. This is quite a technical consultation. Essentially, it is a proposal to more accurately measure the noise of the planes.
You can see the details at https://www.londoncityairport.com/aboutandcorporate/page/aircraft-noise-categorisation-scheme. The consultation runs from 2nd June to 14th July. Responses can be emailed to ANCS@londoncityairport.com .
The new system is due to be fully operational in November 2019. Although by then bigger planes will be using the airport, they should be quieter than the jet planes currently in operation and the total number of aircraft permitted to use the airport will be cut from 120,000 to 111,000.
Below is a list of key MPs and other politicians. With a new Parliament in place it is worth emailing your MP outlining your concerns about City Airport and the concentrated flight paths in particular. Here is the list of key politicians and their email addresses:
Here are lists of key candidates standing key constituencies affected by Heathrow and/or London City: You may want to email them to let them know your experiences and ask them, in particular, whether they would back a review of London City's concentrated flight paths: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/HACAN-East-General-Election-candidates-emails-1.pdf
The density of the population living around London City Airport is the highest of any airport in London
In response to the Government consultation on night flights at Heathrow, HACAN East has called for a ban on night flights for at least seven hours (from 11pm – 6am). It would improve people’s quality of life and their health. Most of our members are living over 25 miles from the airport, yet many complain of being woken up by night flights. This shows the extent of the problem- more people are overflown by Heathrow night flights than any other place in Europe.
The Government is proposing to extend the current night regime for another five years. On a typical night 16 flights are allowed between 11.30 pm and 6 am. The first flights lands at 4.30 am. There are no scheduled departures. Thee are no night flights at London City Airport.
The full response is below: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/HACAN-East-response-to-night-flight-consultation.pdf
Night Flight Consultation
Response from HACAN East
HACAN East gives a voice to residents in East and South East London, many of whom live under the flight paths to both Heathrow and London City airports. This response has been agreed by our Management Committee.
Q1a. How strongly do you agree or disagree with our proposed environmental objective for the next regime.
We would like to see a ban on night flights for at least seven hours (from 11pm – 6am). It would improve people’s quality of life and their health. Most of our members are living over 25 miles from the airport, yet many complain of being woken up by night flights. This shows the extent of the problem- more people are overflown by Heathrow night flights than any other place in Europe.
Q2a. How strongly do you agree or disagree with our proposal for the length of the next regime?
We would agree that 5 years is about right given the uncertainty surrounding the third runway at Heathrow.
Q3a. How strongly do you agree or disagree with our proposal to introduce a new QC/0.125 category for aircraft between 81 and 83.9 EPNdB?
We strongly agree with this proposal
Q3b. How strongly do you agree or disagree with our proposal for all aircraft quieter than this to remain QC/0 but count towards the airports movement limit?
We strongly agree with this proposal
Q3c. Do you have any additional comments on proposals for the Quota Count System?
Q4a. How strongly do you agree or disagree with the proposal for movement limits to remain unchanged at Heathrow?
We strongly disagree. As we have argued in response to the first question, we believe there is a powerful case to be made out for a seven or even eight hour night.
We have not responded to the questions specifically relating to Gatwick and Stansted.
Q10. Do you have any further views on our proposals, or their potential impact on the Government's ability to fulfil the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty?
No comments on this.
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.
The Government is proposing no change to the number of night flights at Heathrow. The consultation document, released last week by the Department for Transport, argues that the current regime should continue for the next five years. It will then be clearer whether a third runway will be underway. Permission to build a third runway is expected to be conditional on a tougher night flight regime being introduced when it opens.
At present an average of 16 flights each night are allowed to land at Heathrow between 11.30pm and 6am. There are no scheduled departures during this period. The first flight lands at 4.30am.
The consultation is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/night-flight-restrictions-at-gatwick-heathrow-and-stansted
A Briefing from our sister body HACAN on the consultation is available at http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Night-Flight-Consultation-2017-HACAN-Briefing.pdf (pdf)
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.
HACAN East is to hold a Public Meeting in Catford 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. All welcome!
7th December, 7.30pm – 9pm
St. Laurence Church,37 Bromley Road, Catford, SE6 2TS http://www.stlaurencecatford.org.uk/
Nearest stations: Catford and Catford Bridge.
Speakers include Len Duvall, the London Assembly member for Greenwich and Lewisham
On November 18th John Cryer, MP for Wanstead and Leyton, launched his Aircraft Noise Campaign. If you are troubled by aicraft noise, email him at email@example.com
The first meeting of the HACAN East Parliamentary Group was held in November in the House of Commons. It was chaired by John Cryer MP (centre). Amongst the attendees were Jon Cruddas MP, Redbridge councillor Sheila Baines, HACAN East chair John Stewart, and Clyde Loakes, deputy leader of Waltham Forest.
In a survey over 50% of Waltham Forest residents "strongly agree" that they are disturbed by aircraft noise in their homes.
HACAN East will be speaking at an open public meeting organised by the Green Party about City Airport expansion and the concentrated flight paths on 26th October
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.
The concern about the concentrated flight paths became very clear indeed when we took a stall at the Wanstead Festival on 18th September. People were queuing at the stall to tell us how the flight paths where badly affecting them. Our chair John Stewart, a veteran of numerous stalls over many years said he had never seen so many people come so eagerly to a stall to talk about their experiences.
- 1st October: Reclaim the Power is organizing a day of protest against airport expansion. Check our sister site HACAN site for details: http://wp.me/p5NPQ9-CF