'Enraged' Leytonstone residents speak about air traffic affecting their lives

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.