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.
UNLIKE DIAMONDS, FLIGHT PATHS ARE NOT FOREVER
There is no doubt that the Civil Aviation Authority’s backing last month of London City’s concentrated flight paths was a huge blow to very many people.
But I suspect that is not the end of the matter. There may be renewed pressure on London City to offer some respite.
The pressure could come from three directions:
Local discontent will not go away. And may intensify as thousands more homes are built under or close to the flight path in East London over the next few years. These homes may be well-insulated and many of the newcomers will have some awareness that they will get aircraft noise. However, it is expected that, London City could come to impact at least 74,000 people which would mean it would overfly more people in the UK than any airport except Heathrow and Manchester and almost twice as many as Brussels or Schiphol. Will they all really keep quiet if they get no predicable break from the noise?
Flight paths at airports across London and the South East will be altered. Before Christmas NATS, the air traffic controllers, will publish a major report looking at how the flight paths changes at the different airports can mesh together. It is probable that NATS will not expect to see changes to London City’s flight paths but the wider changes will be so fundamental that nothing is guaranteed.
Heathrow is committed to introducing respite. Heathrow’s new flight paths are not expected to come in before 2025 (when a third runway would open if it is given final permission) but Heathrow flight paths which were rotated to give people respite would highlight just what a poor deal people were getting from London City.
OVER 900,000 under ConcentRated flights
The CAA report, released on 23rd October, which backed London City’s decision to concentrated its flights paths (see post below for details) also revealed the number of people who live under the concentrated flight paths.
Number of people overflown by arrivals:
Under 4,000ft 331,000
4,000 – 7,000ft 72,000
Total under 7,000ft 403,000
Number of people overflown by departures:
Under 4,000ft 416,300
Total under 7,000ft 531,400
There is a smaller number impacted by both arrivals and departures but the CAA has not done that calculation.
The overall numbers overflown before the flight paths were concentrated were of course much higher as planes were more dispersed but each area had fewer flights than people under the concentrated flights are now experiencing. If complaint numbers are anything to go by, there was much less annoyance.
LONG-AWAITED CAA REPORT BACKS CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS
The long-awaited CAA report assessing London City Airport’s concentrated flight paths was released this afternoon (23rd October). It has backed the concentrated flight paths. Below is the press release HACAN East has issued. It includes a link to the report.
23/10/18 for immediate use
ANGER AND DESPAIR IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES AS CAA BACKS LONDON CITY FLIGHT PATH CHANGES
Local residents reacted with fury to the report (1) published today by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which backed the controversial changes London City Airport made to its flight paths two years ago. In 2016 the airport narrowed all its flights paths. It resulted in a fourfold increase in complaints as people under these new concentrated flight paths experienced many more planes than before.
Today’s report from the CAA assesses the changes that were made. It has recommended that the concentrated flight paths remain in place.
The report did ask London City to look into why the fuel and CO2 savings from the new flight paths were less than predicted. It asked the airport to explain why the aircraft were flying slightly off the predicted routes. But the CAA felt the variations were negligible as far as noise was concerned and backed the new concentrated routes.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, the campaign body which gives a voice to residents experiencing the noise, said, “There is anger and despair that the CAA has backed the concentrated flight paths. Many people hoped that today’s report would end two years of misery and they would be able to get their lives back. This decision is a cruel blow for them.”
Stewart added, “This will not be the end of the matter. We had support from a wide range of politicians in calling for an end to concentration. These included the Mayor of London, leading members of the Greater London Authority and lots of local councillors. We will be liaising with them about next steps.”
The flight paths were concentrated in 2016 after minimal consultation. Subsequently the CAA introduced more rigorous consultation procedures but they came in too late for the London City changes.
Over the next few years flight paths will be altered at most of the UK’s airports. The changes are driven by new technology. Ground-based technology is being replaced by satellite systems to guide aircraft as they land and depart. It means that planes can be steered along more precise flight paths, saving fuel, cutting climate emissions and reducing delays at airports.
This results in more concentrated flight paths but it also allows the airport more scope to create a number of concentrated flight paths which could be rotated to give residents some respite from the noise. This is what residents have been calling for.
Notes for editors:
For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
NEW WHO NOISE GUIDELINES: AIRCRAFT NOISE CAN CAUSE HEALTH PROBLEMS MANY MILES FROM AN AIRPORT
Yesterday (October 10th), the World Health Organisation published its new noise guidelines. They confirm what local residents have been telling us that aircraft noise can cause annoyance, stress and potential health problems many miles from an airport.
The new noise guidelines from the World Health Organisation, published 10th October 2018, are tougher on aircraft noise than previously.
Road 53Lden 45Lnight
Rail 54Lden 44Lnight
Aircraft 45Len 40Lnight
Wind Turbines 45Lden no recommendation
The World Health Organisation has found that when average noise is 45 decibels it can have health effects. Previous WHO guidelines argued that people could start to become annoyed by noise when it averaged out at 50 decibels over the day.
This extends significantly the number of people impacted by either London City or Heathrow or both. There are no public figures for the number of people living within the 45Lden contours but, in the case of Heathrow, it is likely to extend to areas 20 miles, and possibly further, from the airport. That would include Greenwich and probably also the Leyton, Leytonstone and Wanstead areas as they get both Heathrow and London City aircraft.
The 45Lden contour from London City would stretch less far but would include a much wider geographical area than the current 54LAeq contour which goes about as far as Blackwall.
The World Health Organisation guidelines applies to all countries within Europe, not just those in the European Union but are simply guidelines. Their main purpose is to outline the health impacts of noise on the basis of the available evidence. The WHO does not expect the levels to be adhered to overnight as that would entail the closure of most airports and many roads. But, in due course, they should affect the policies of airports. HACAN East will be pressing for that to happen as soon as possible.
Our sister body, HACAN, put out this press release: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/WHO-new-noise-guidelines-Press-Release.pdf
HEATHROW REMAINS IN A NOISE LEAGUE OF ITS OWN
London City the fastest riser
Heathrow remains in a noise league of its own, according to figures unearthed by campaign group HACAN. 725,000 people are impacted by noise from Heathrow flights, over seven times as many as second-placed Manchester. But compared with the 2006 figures London City is the fastest riser. The population impacted by East London's airport have more than doubled. This is thought to be down to the number of new homes being built in the area. All the figures are take from official reports produced by the airports.
HACAN chair John Stewart said, "These updated figures confirm just how many more people are impacted by noise from Heathrow than by any other airport in the country. It puts a huge onus on Heathrow to find ways to lessen the noise burden whether or not a third runway is built. We will be pressing hard for a tough night flight regime, steeper angles as planes approach and depart the airport and a period of respite from the noise for everybody overflown."
Stewart added: "But the London City story is significant. It simple and stark. As more homes are built in the area, the number of people impacted is racing up the national league table."
The numbers are taken from the new action plans drawn up by the airports (except for Belfast City which has not yet published its new one). Every few years airports are required by the EU to produce plans to show how they will tackle noise. The airports' new plans must be submitted to DEFRA this autumn before they go to the European Commission for approval.
The European Commission mandates that the 55Lden contour is used when drawing up Noise Action Plans. In geographical terms it goes as far as Clapham in London. Last year the Government published a report it had commissioned from the Civil Aviation Authority which found that people can be annoyed by aircraft noise at lower levels.
South East London – No Respite from aircraft noise
Our sister organisation HACAN today (13/8/18) published an important report by Forest Hill resident Tim Walker outlining what happens when London City and Heathrow airports combine to create community noise hotspots in south east London
Using London SE23 as an example, the paper aims to make clear to policymakers, campaigners and the two airports what the problems for communities are with the introduction of concentrated flight paths (City Airport) and separate development of the two London airport flight paths.
Noise from arriving London City Airport aircraft combined with departing and arriving Heathrow aircraft blights thousands of south east London homes, with no respite.
City Airport’s low altitude air superhighways, beginning in Feb 2016, have resulted in a perfect storm of aircraft noise for many SE London residents.
Respite means scheduled relief from aircraft noise for a period of time. There are community noise hotspots in SE London that receive no respite from 6.30am to 10pm nearly every day of the year.
CAA CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS REPORT sLILL NOT OUT
The much-delayed report by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) into London City's concentrated flight paths is still not out. London City controversially concentrated its flight paths in February 2016. The CAA is required to assess its first year of operation. Its report was initially due out last year. The airport received a record number of complaints following the introduction of the concentrated flight paths. There has been pressure from communities, local authorities, politicians (including the Mayor of London) for them to be changed.
Construction work starts at london city
Construction work has started on the work for a new taxiway, larger parking places for the planes and ultimately a bigger terminal and more parking. There has been some criticism from local people that the insulation on their homes to deaden the noise from the construction work, particularly the piling, has not been completed in time. The airport has acknowledged it is behind schedule but expects the speed of the insulation work to speed up.
London city noise action plan out to consultation
The airport has just released its Noise Action Plan covering the years 2019-2023 for consultation: https://www.londoncityairport.com/corporate/noise-and-track-keeping-system/noise-action-plan. Closing date for comments: 5th September.
You can read the response from HACAN East: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/London-City-Noise-Action-Plan-response-from-HACAN-East.pdf
And here is a summary of what we are calling for::
London City Airport:
Works on the basis that the 54 and 51 decibel contours are now regarded by Government as ‘the onset of community annoyance’
Produces annual 51 and 54 decibel contours
Extends the mitigation measures currently on offer to residents within the 57 contour to those within the 54 contour
Commits to informing all residents within the 51 and 54 contour areas – and their elected representatives - of the latest airport developments on a regular basis
Confirms whether London City can commit to the retention of the existing cap and operating hours through the years 2018 to 2023
Looks again at the concentrated flight paths, with a view to providing respite for communities
Commits to doubling the number of noise monitors
Gives more prominence to TraVis2 on the airport website
Explores the possibility of London City aircraft flying higher
Spells out cooperative working with Heathrow
london city starts to draw up masterplan
London City has started the process of revising its Masterplan. Most airports produce masterplans. They outline their aspirations for decades ahead. City has yet to decide whether to look ahead to 2040 or 2050. The airport has said that at this stage nothing is off the table including seeking to lift the annual cap on flight numbers (see story below) or even to seek permission to fly between midday Saturday and midday Sunday when the airport is currently closed. But it does stress it is all at a very early stage and no decision has been taken. It is also worth stressing that the Masterplan is an aspiration document. If the airport wanted to make any changes, it would need to go to public consultation and public inquiry where it would meet considerable opposition to the lifting of the cap or in any changes to operational hours.
LONDON CITY MAY SEEK TO LIFE CAP ON FLIGHT NUMBERS
The boss of London City told the Press Association in a story published on 9/7/18 that London City may seek to apply to life the cap on flight and passenger numbers at the airport. Below is the press release issued by HACAN East and below that a link to the story.
9/7/18 for immediate use
RESIDENTS PLEDGE TO FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL ANY EXPANSION OF LONDON CITY AIRPORT
Residents have said that they would fight ‘tooth and nail’ any plans to lift the cap on annual flights at London City Airport. Robert Sinclair, the new chief executive of the airport, told the Press Association in an interview that the airport is considering an application to raise limits on flights and passenger numbers.
London City is currently limited to 6.5 million passengers and 111,000 flights per year. Last year just under 5 million passengers and a little over 80,000 flights used the airport.
John Stewart, chair of HACAN East, the campaign group which gives a voice to residents’ under London City flight paths, said “Local residents would fight tooth and nail any attempt by London City to raise its limits on flights and passengers. Many of them feel their lives are already blighted by planes from the airport. The preservation of the current cap is the reddest of red lines for residents and I suspect for many local authorities.”
Stewart added, “It is difficult see the logic in what Sinclair is saying. Over the last two years flight numbers at London City have fallen. There has been a slight rise in passenger numbers due to the use of larger aircraft.”
London City has been primarily a business airport with over 60% of its custom made up of business travellers, the highest percentage by some distance of any UK airport. Robert Sinclair said in the interview that the airport now wanted to ‘reposition’ itself to attract more leisure passengers.”
For further information:
John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650
Link to the full story:
Read out latest newsletter
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://travislcy.topsonic.aero/
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO
HACAN East HAS released this very human video where local people are giving a heartfelt message to the airport: https://youtu.be/6dMy7cGUVo4
Noise Complaints continue to Rise
Figures released yesterday (9th March 2018) show complaints about aircraft noise continue to rise at London City Airport (see chart below). Higher in 2017 than 2016 and about five times higher than before the flight paths were concentrated in early 2016. Flight numbers using the airport, though, fell from 19,286 in 2016 to 18,205 in 2017 but passenger numbers were up. This is down to the use of bigger, fuller planes.
Heathrow has launched to consultations consultations. The one which is of importance to us is the one of flight paths. Heathrow is planning the biggest changes to its flight paths since the airport began. It is being driven by new computer technology which allows planes to land and depart much more precisely. New flight paths will be introduced whether or not a third runway is built. They are asking what are the principles would influence the design of the new flight paths (e.g. pure concentration or respite). In other words, the sort of consultation London City didn't carry out before it concentrated its flight paths. The other thing you may want to respond on is the conditions which should be mandatory should a third runway be given the go-ahead. We’ve suggested some possible conditions in the briefing. http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Consultation-Briefing-from-HACAN.pdf
For more details about the consultations, see our sister site: www.hacan.org.uk
Read the official response from HACAN East to the airspace consultation: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/HACAN-East-response-to-Heathrows-Airspace-Consultation.pdf
CROSS-PARTY SUPPORT TO END CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS AT CITY AIRPORT
At the People’s Question Time in Dagenham on 2nd November there was cross-party support from London Assembly members to end the concentrated flight paths London City Airport introduced last year. Caroline Russell, who speaks for the Greens on transport at the London Assembly, joined Conservative Keith Prince, the chair of the assembly’s transport committee, the deputy chair Liberal Democrat Caroline Russell and Labour’s Len Duvall in opposition to the flight paths (above). The local MP Jon Cruddas also backed the call for them to go (below).
Since London City concentrated its flight paths in early 2016 complaints to the airport have increased fourfold. The Civil Aviation Authority is currently studying a report produced by the airport into the first year’s operation of the flight paths and is expected to make recommendations by the end of the year.
This was one in a series of People's Question Times held around London where the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and London Assembly members answer questions from the public.
London City at 30 - what we are looking for now
Below is an extract of a blog we have written. The full blog can be found on our blog page.
I first remember walking along the North Woolwich Road in 1978, the year I came to London. The lively pubs my uncles – seamen from Scotland – had talked about were lively no more. Much of the area was on its last legs. The docks, which had provided so much employment for the area, were to close down just three years later, in 1981.
Only people who have never experienced the pain of unemployment would dismiss lightly any development which brings jobs. As a boy I heard stories from an earlier generation of my family who had experienced the utter despair of not having a job during the Depression in 1930s Glasgow.
It was this mission to create jobs and prosperity in East London that drove many councillors to back the expansion of the airport in the 1990s. It was a noble aim but it did leave a litany of broken promises made to residents about the noisy neighbour in their midst.
So, three wishes as you move beyond thirty.
1. No further expansion – it is essential that the current cap on the number of planes allowed to use the airport remains.
2. No concentrated flight paths – the concentrated flight paths have created noise ghettos in areas across east and south east London. A solution needs to be found which provides some relief for the people of the noise ghetto.
3. No increase in noise and pollution – planes are becoming a little quieter and cleaner. The way to ensure residents benefit from that is to make sure that the current cap on the number of flights permitted to use it each year remains.
And one more thing. Moving forward, no more broken promises?
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