HEATHROW CONSULTATIONS

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

HEATHROW CONSULTATIONS

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

Campaigners present CAA with 'flight paths' cake

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.

HACAN East community campaigner  Amina Gichinga presents cake to CAA's Tim Johnson

HACAN East community campaigner  Amina Gichinga presents cake to CAA's Tim Johnson

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 airspace.policy@dft.gsi.gov.uk

 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.

 Key points

 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 3rd 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.

http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Most-overflown-boroughs-in-London-2016.pdf

 

'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 - www.vaseemgill.com -  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. 

 

 

Concentrated flight paths bring a flood of complains

Press Release

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.

ENDS

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.

 

 

Meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority

Our Chair, John Stewart and Campaign Co-Ordinator Rob Barnstone met with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on Wednesday [15 June] to discuss the concentrated flight paths at London City Airport.

The CAA fielded at team of five and gave us nearly 2 hours.

They are aware of the unhappiness amongst communities and local authorities at their decision to allow City Airport to concentrate its flight paths in February 2016.

They listened to what we had to say.

 

We outlined the problems:

Things had changed noticeably for many communities in East and NE London. City Airport had argued that they could get away with minimal consultation because the changes they were making were not significant as many of the planes were already flying something approaching concentrated routes.  We pointed out that many people had noticed a real difference since February. 

We also pointed out that the CAA seemed to have no mechanism to look at changes over time.  The only reason City Airport could even begin to argue during the consultation that some of the changes proposed were not significant (for example, departures over Leyton, Leytonstone and Wansted areas) was because “significant changes” had been made in 2008 when the flight paths were changed to accommodate the larger planes which needed to make a much wider turn when leaving the airport.  The smaller ‘turbo-prop’ planes made a sharp turn when taking off, barely flying over many of the areas that now are under a concentrated flight path.  The CAA seemed to accept our point that there was no organisation responsible for assessing the changes over time.

 

This map shows the current concentrated flight paths across north-east London

This map shows the current concentrated flight paths across north-east London

We also outlined what the February changes meant for South London.  City aircraft fly over South London when an east wind is blowing before turning over the West End and City to land at the airport.  Until February they were dispersed pretty widely over South London but now they are concentrated over particular communities.  Most of these communities are overflown by Heathrow planes on the days there is a west wind.  They now get concentrated City aircraft when there is an east wind, thus no break from aircraft noise.  The CAA accepted that there was no organisation which assessing the implication of these kind of flight path changes.

The concentrated route across south-London

The concentrated route across south-London

We stressed that respite was important to local communities.  The CAA felt the introduction of respite was difficult in East and North East London because the airspace City aircraft use is very constrained – largely by Heathrow aircraft. Therefore, spreading City aircraft or creating additional flights paths (in order for those under concentrated flight paths to obtain respite) would be difficult.  They accepted that this would be less problematic South London, although an expansion of the airspace which City aircraft are permitted to use might be required.

The CAA outlined what happens next:

City Airport is required to gather data on whether the airspace changes made in February are functioning as expected.  The data gathered will also include a noise impact – City Airport would need to record any unintended consequences.  That data must arrive at the CAA by February 2017 (although the CAA would be looking for a 6-month interim report).  The CAA will then analyse that data and decide within three months, in May 2017, whether changes need to be made or to authorise the continuation of the scheme.  However, the CAA played down the likelihood that they would intervene to make changes, and they certainly won’t propose or initiate changes.  They are likely, though, to take into consideration any significant discontent from local communities or local authorities about the changes.

It became clear that pressure needs to be put on the airport by communities and local authorities to consider changes.  City Airport is keen on the concentrated routes because they make it easier to guide planes when landing and taking off.  NATS also like them because the new computer technology in the planes means that air traffic controllers are much less involved in guiding the them, thus saving NATS time and money.

 

What do we do next?

HACAN East will:

·         Lobby City Airport to abandon its current plan to concentrate all its flight paths over particular communities and instead to introduce respite so people an get some relief from the noise

·         Bring together a cross-party group of politicians to assist in this lobbying

·         Organise a series of public meetings to inform local communities about the latest development

·         Encourage local people to email and write to the airport and the CAA.

What you can do:

Email or write to the airport and the CAA to tell them about your experience of living under the concentrated flight paths. Two key contacts are below.

 

London City Airport: James Shearman, Environment Manager at:

London City Airport, City Aviation House, Royal Docks, London E16 2PB

Email: environment@londoncityairport.com

Or call +44 (0)207 646 0200

 

Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) - information or complaints concerning flight paths:

Directorate of Airspace Policy, K6 G7, CAA House, 45-59 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE

Email: aree@caa.co.uk

 

Please include info@hacaneast.org.uk in your emails to one of the above organisations, as it helps us build an even broader picture of your thoughts and feelings on the issue.

Concentrated Flight Paths: big concern for Leytonstone residents

HACAN East was delighted to speak at the Annual General Meeting of FORA, the residents' association which represents many of the Leytonstone residents right under the new concentrated flight paths.  We heard about the real impact the flight paths are having on people's lives but were able to give them some hope in that the Civil Aviation Authority, which is required to review the changes by February next year, has agreed to meet with HACAN East.