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.

city Airport complaints.jpg

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

London City at 30: what we are looking for now

On 26th October London City will be 30 years old.  Below are extracts from a blog we have just published - 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?

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

CONSULTATION ON QUIETER PLANES UNDERWAY

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.

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.   

 

No change proposed for night flight regime at Heathrow

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)

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.