IS LONDON CITY SOFTENING US UP FOR FURTHER EXPANSION?
23rd April 2019
London City Airport is up to something. The quirky story in last week’s Evening Standard is part of its new approach. The paper reported that the airport is planning to create a “chilled” atmosphere, featuring “muted colours, less background noise and better directions” as part of the £500 million redesign of its terminal which is due to be completed by 2022. The airport hopes that better the interior design will boost mental wellbeing of passengers
This is all very admirable but begs the question why London City is doing it. I suspect it is part of a charm offensive before it unveils proposals for a further expansion of the airport. This summer London City will publish its Master Plan where it will set out its ‘vision’ for the future. This is expected to include an option to lift the current cap on the number of flights permitted to use the airport each year.
Read our full blog here: http://www.hacaneast.org.uk/blog
LONDON CITY: the little airport with the big noise footprint
Figures released by campaign group HACAN East reveal that, although London City is only the 14th busiest airport in the UK, it comes in the top three for impact. It affects 74,000 people, more than any airport in the country except Heathrow and Manchester (1). And that is just those people living within the EU-defined noise contour.
Figures published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) late last year show that 747,300 people are impacted by City planes flying below 4,000ft (2).
HACAN East has produced a montage of photographs showing places, some of them many miles from the airport, where aircraft are lower than 3,000ft; and in many places less than 2,000ft.
HACAN East Chair John Stewart said, “We all know how very noisy it is to live close to the airport in places like Thamesmead and the Royal Docks but the size of the airport can often mask the extent of its noise footprint. It extends many, many miles from the airport.”
MORE PEOPLE ARE BLIGHTED BY NOISE FROM LONDON CITY THAN FROM MAJOR EUROPEAN AIRPORTS
Because of the densely-populated areas London City planes fly over, it impacts more people than any UK airport bar Heathrow & Manchester despite being only the 14th busiest UK airport. Astonishingly more people are blighted by noise from City Airport than from major airports like Schiphol, Brussels, Madrid or Munich.
INCREASE IN FLIGHT NUMBERS BIG CONCERN for LONDON CITY RESIDENTS
Yesterday (27/3/19) the Civil Aviation Authority published its survey of people's concerns about aircraft noise. Of 4,000 national responses, 10% were from London City. Top 3 London City concerns: aircraft numbers increasing, flights early in the morning & planes flying low http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAP1748%20-%20CAA%20Noise%20Impact%20Survey.pdf … … …
ONLY HEATHROW AND MANCHESTER IMPACT MORE PEOPLE THAN LONDON CITY
New figures compiled by campaign group HACAN East (26/03/19) shows that London City Airport impacts 75,000 people (see table below). That places it third in the UK behind Heathrow and Manchester. It affects more people than all the other airports in the South East combined excluding Heathrow. The figures are taken from the noise action plans which airports are required to produce every five years. The latest plans were released in early 201`9.
TOP NEWS: LONDON CITY TO LOOK AGAIN AT ITS CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS
London City Airport is to look again at its controversial concentrated flight paths. It told its Consultative Committee yesterday (7/3/19) that it will consult on new proposals later this year. This will be a wide-ranging consultation conducted under the new rules laid down by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The airport will need to consult people on how they want the flight paths designed - for example, do they want pure concentration as now or do they want multiple flight paths which can be rotated in order to give communities a break from the noise.
When London City concentrated its flight paths in 2016, the airport saw a fourfold increase in complaints. While some people did not get planes anymore, the communities over which they were concentrated felt the pain.
HACAN East response to Heathrow airspace consultation
Here is the link to our response to the current Heathrow consultation on airspace change. Feel free to make use of it in your own response. Closing date 4th March: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Heathrow-Consultation-response-from-HACAN-East.pdf
LONDON ASSEMBLY REPORT CALLS FOR END OF LONDON CITY CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS
A clear call from the London Assembly in its report on London's airports, out yesterday, for City to get rid of its concentrated flight paths and to work with Heathrow to tackle the problem of areas being overflown by flights from both airports resulting in at times 50 planes an hour https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/aircraft_noise_final.pdf
Heathrow Consultation: Impact on East and North East London
21st January 2019
Heathrow is consulting on the biggest changes to its flight paths since the airport opened in 1946. The consultation ends on 4th March.
It could bring benefit to East and NE London. For the first time they could get a daily break from the aircraft.
At present many areas are overflown all day long by Heathrow planes. That could change.
A lot of places also get overflown by London City aircraft. They are not subject to this consultation but some of the changes proposed for the Heathrow planes could ease the burden on these areas.
Read more here in our special briefing: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/HACAN-East-Heathrow-Consultation-East-London.pdf
Major Heathrow consultation launched today
8th January 2019
Heathrow Airport launched a major public consultation today. It runs for 12 weeks until 4th March.
Runway alternation in West London will be cut from half a day to a third of the day to allow for alternation on a third runway if it is built. The consultation is asking for views on how this should be implemented.
Significant changes to airspace are proposed to allow for vast swathes of London and the Home Counties, which currently get all-day flying, to get respite from the noise for the first time. It applies to both arrivals and departures.
The night period when there are no scheduled flights allowed will be extended from 5 hours to six and a half hours. Views are sought on how this should operate.
Views are sought on whether ‘westerly operation’ should remain – this is where planes continue to fly as if a west wind is blowing when there is an east wind (of up to 5 knots)
Heathrow is proposing to bring in 25,000 extra flights a year in the years running up to the opening of any third runway.
The full Heathrow document is here: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Heathrow-Airspace-and-Future-Operations-Consultation-document-Final-low-res.pdf
HEATHROW PLANS ‘NEAR REVOLUTION’ IN ITS FLIGHT PATHS
EAST AND SOUTH EAST LONDON COULD BE THE BIG WINNERS
East and South East London could be the big winners in the proposed changes to its flights paths Heathrow announced today. Many of these areas look set to enjoy a daily predicable period of respite from the noise for the first time.
John Stewart, chair of the campaign group HACAN, said, “The proof will be in what happens in practice and it is still some years away but it looks as if all-day flying could become a thing of the past for very many people. Heathrow are planning a near revolution in their flight paths. They plan to rotate their new flight paths in order to give people some relief from the noise.”
The proposals are part of a wide-ranging 12 week public consultation which Heathrow launched today (1). Under the proposals people in West London, who currently enjoy a half day’s break from the noise when planes switch runways at 3pm, will find that cut to one third of the day if a third runway is built. But all-day flying will become a thing of the past for many places as the principle of respite is extended to people living under departures routes and areas such as Windsor and South East London which at present do not get it (2).
The consultation also asks for views on night flights. One condition Parliament laid down when it gave Heathrow the go-ahead to work up proposals for a third runway is that the current 5 hour night break is extended to 6½ hours. Heathrow is asking for views on how this should be implemented.
Heathrow is also proposing to bring in 25,000 more flights a year before any new runway opens. The plan is called Independent Parallel Approaches (IPA). It would require the lifting of the 480,000 annual cap on flights which was imposed as a condition of Terminal 5.
Heathrow will only ask for these flights until the third runway is operational. They would only start once Heathrow’s detailed plans for a third runway had been approved – expected to be 2021. Heathrow aims to open a third runway in 2015 so it is likely IPA would be in place for about 4 years.
Notes for Editors:
(1). Full Heathrow document: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Heathrow-Airspace-and-Future-Operations-Consultation-document-Final-low-res.pdf
(2). See page 23 of the document
Aviation Green Paper Published
‘Aviation 2050: The future of UK aviation’ – key points
On December 17th the Government published its Green Paper with proposals for its new aviation strategy which it will finalise and release in the second half of 2019. It is an important document. It sets out proposals for UK aviation policy until 2050.
There will be a 16 week consultation ending on 11 April 2019
Link to the full paper: https://aviationstrategy.campaign.gov.uk
There’s also a NATS paper on the new type of flight paths being introduced: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/763085/nats-caa-feasibility-airspace-modernisation.pdf
And a CAA paper on past and future noise levels:
The Green Paper sets out to cater for the significant growth in flying it predicts will take place in the UK and around the world.
It argues that this growth can take place without exceeding the UK’s aviation climate targets.
It assumes a third runway will be built at Heathrow
It contains some welcome noise proposals that campaigners have been lobbying for over many years.
It lays describes the implications of the move from ground-based technology to satellite technology when designing flight paths
It sets out measures to improve and monitor air pollution from aircraft
Read more in the 3 page summary our sister organisation HACAN has put together: http://hacan.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Green-Paper-summary-four.pdf
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
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Please include firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
This is part of a heartfelt letter we received from a resident in Catford
"The main issue for concern has been the concentration of the flight paths over my house in Catford.
I can’t begin to express my frustration as when we bought the house last year this was not a publicly known issue...Read More
HACAN East is a residents’ group set up in 2011 to represent the views of people affected by both noise and pollution from London City Airport. A number of areas are also impacted by Heathrow flights.
Currently just under 85,000 planes use the airport each year. It has permission for over 110,000...Read More
On a cold and wet Friday evening on 22nd April, angry residents packed a Public Meeting staged by HACAN East in Leytonstone. The meeting heard from HACAN East chair John Stewart and from local MP John Cryer.
Resident after resident told the meeting about how their quality of life has got a lot worse since the flight paths from City Airport were concentrated over them. But both John Cryer and John Stewart felt that, as a result of the pressure that has been brought, both London City Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are becoming more response to residents.
John Stewart is expected to be invited by the CAA to a meeting to talk about how local residents can become involved in the review of the concentrated flight paths which the CAA must conduct before February 2017.
And it became clear at the recent Public Inquiry into City Airport's expansion plans that, in response to pressure from MPs, local councils and residents, Newham Council (the planning authority for the airport) looks like it will become more rigorous in ensuring that City Airport obeys the rules and regulations under which it is allowed to operate.
- Mar 10, 2018 Noise complaints continue to rise Mar 10, 2018
- February 2018
- Oct 27, 2017 HACAN East campaigners present special cake to City Airport to mark its 30th BirtHday Oct 27, 2017
- Oct 23, 2017 London City at 30: what we are looking for now Oct 23, 2017
- Jul 29, 2017 Jul 29, 2017
- Jul 29, 2017 Campaigners present CAA with 'flight paths' cake Jul 29, 2017
- June 2017
- May 2017
- March 2017
- Feb 28, 2017 Latest newsletter out now! Feb 28, 2017
- Feb 24, 2017 HACAN East calls for nighT flight ban at Heathrow Feb 24, 2017
- Feb 5, 2017 HACAN East gives broad welcome to Airspace Consultation Feb 5, 2017
- Jan 15, 2017 No change proposed for night flight regime at Heathrow Jan 15, 2017
- Jan 3, 2017 Survey confirms Waltham Forest the 3rd most overflown borough in London Jan 3, 2017
- Dec 6, 2016 November Newsletter: "Plane Speaking" Dec 6, 2016
- November 2016
- Oct 29, 2016 Aircraft Noise Problem in Waltham Forest Oct 29, 2016
- Oct 19, 2016 Public Meeting on City Airport expansion and flight paths Oct 19, 2016
- Oct 6, 2016 'Enraged' Leytonstone residents speak about air traffic affecting their lives Oct 6, 2016
- Sep 22, 2016 HACAN East at Wanstead Festival Sep 22, 2016
- Aug 29, 2016 Concentrated flight paths bring a flood of complains Aug 29, 2016
- Aug 24, 2016 CONCENTRATED FLIGHT PATHS LATEST Aug 24, 2016
- Aug 11, 2016 Plane Speaking, August 2016 Aug 11, 2016
- Jul 27, 2016 Government gives City permission to expand Jul 27, 2016
- Jun 17, 2016 Meeting with the Civil Aviation Authority Jun 17, 2016
- May 22, 2016 Concentrated Flight Paths: big concern for Leytonstone residents May 22, 2016
- May 22, 2016 Life Under the Concentrated Flight Paths May 22, 2016
- May 19, 2016 Plane Speaking, May 2016 May 19, 2016
- May 19, 2016 Letter from South London May 19, 2016
- Apr 24, 2016 Problems with London City Airport? Apr 24, 2016
- Apr 24, 2016 'Dodgy' Poll released by London City Airport Apr 24, 2016
- Apr 23, 2016 Angry Residents Pack Public Meeting Apr 23, 2016
- Apr 23, 2016 City Airport issues "community pledge" for Waltham Forest Apr 23, 2016
- Apr 11, 2016 Public Meeting on Flight Paths Apr 11, 2016
- Apr 5, 2016 Public Inquiry closes on 5 April Apr 5, 2016
- Mar 22, 2016 UPDATE: City Airport Planning Inquiry - HACAN East gives evidence Mar 22, 2016
- Mar 8, 2016 HACAN East Advice: Legal challenge to decision to concentrate flight paths unlikely to succeed Mar 8, 2016
- February 2016
- Jan 10, 2016 LONDON CITY GIVEN PERMISSION TO CONCENTRATE ITS FLIGHT PATHS Jan 10, 2016
- Nov 23, 2015 City Airport wants to acquire part of King George Dock Nov 23, 2015
- Oct 3, 2015 EXPANSION PUBLIC INQUIRY: HACAN EAST’S STATEMENT OF CASE Oct 3, 2015
- Sep 9, 2015 CAMPAIGN GROUP TO TAKE ON AIRPORT AT PUBLIC INQUIRY Sep 9, 2015
- Aug 6, 2015 LONDON CITY AIRPORT UP FOR SALE Aug 6, 2015
- June 2015
HACAN East will be holding a Public Meeting with John Cryer MP as key speaker on 22nd April 7pm at Epicentre Leytonstone, 1 West Street, off Leytonstone High Road, London, E11 4LJ .
The main topic will be the recent decision of London City Airport to concentrate flight paths but all issues regarding aircraft noise can be raised.
HACAN East consulted lawyers to ask whether there was any reasonable chance of challenging the CAA’s decision to allow the concentrated flight paths in court. (The concentrated flight paths were introduced on February 4th 2016). It seems not.
The CAA argued that City Airport was allowed to carry out a minimalist consultation (a technical document on its website and discussions behind closed doors at the supine consultation committee) because the change was minimal.
It argued that, because a lot of the planes already flew the proposed concentrated routes, the proposed change to concentrate the flight paths was not significant enough to require a fuller consultation.
Our lawyers say that, in law, they may be correct. But, if this is right, in our view it just shows how inadequate a body the CAA is to carry out this function – see blog: The CAA – in urgent need to significant reform
A useful article, reproduced from Airways News, on the current state-of-play at City Airport. The original article can be accessed at http://airwaysnews.com/blog/2016/02/09/testing-times-for-london-city/
By Alan Dron in London / Published: February 9, 2016
Like the airliners that take off from its short runway, London City Airport (LCY) has been climbing steeply in recent years. But a combination of factors suggests the airport is running into turbulence. Its expansion plans have been blocked, its largest operator is threatening to reduce, or even withdraw, its services and a new flightpath plan is arousing the ire of nearby suburbs.
Built on abandoned wharves in London’s old dock area east of the city center in the 1980s, the airport has benefited hugely from being adjacent to the new Docklands financial district, which has boomed over the same period.
Financiers and executives are just a 15-minute taxi ride away from the compact terminal’s front door. And, in a throwback to the golden days of 1960s aviation, executives with only carry-on items can theoretically be walking across the apron to their flight just 15 minutes later. (If you need to check baggage, the airport recommends a 30-minute minimum.) It’s a very slick operation.
The airport operates with a single runway – 27/09 – that is 4327ft (1319m) long by 100ft (30m) wide. This limits usage to regional jets and turboprops, which have to make a steep, 5.5⁰ approach from the west to clear the Docklands’ district’s high-rise buildings. Bombardier Q400s, Embraer E-Jets and Avro RJs are the usual inhabitants of the apron, soon to be joined by Sukhoi Superjets when Ireland’s CityJet starts to take delivery of 15 this spring. Destinations are primarily short-haul western European, although British Airways (BA) operates a twice-daily, all-business class Airbus A318 from LCY to New York JFK.
A record 4.3 million passengers passed through LCY last year, a rise of 18% compared to 2014. But with success comes problems. The airport needs to expand. Soon.
Under the City Airport Development Programme (CADP), LCY proposed extending the terminal and adding aircraft stands to provide much-needed additional capacity. It already had permission to increase the number of annual movements from the current 70,000-plus to 120,000 by 2023.
In February 2015, the London Borough of Newham, within which LCY is located, approved the CADP. The following month, however, London mayor Boris Johnson, blocked the proposal on noise grounds.
Johnson is a long-running opponent of airport developments near the capital. He has been vehemently opposed to plans to build a third runway at Heathrow, west of the city, instead touting his preferred option of a giant new airport built at a location on the Thames Estuary, well to the east of the capital.
This would be seriously expensive, take at least a decade to construct and was ruled out last year by a commission set up by the UK government to give an unbiased appraisal of how runway capacity in southeast England should be expanded. (It opted for a third runway at Heathrow.)
LCY is appealing against the mayor’s refusal and a public inquiry, chaired by a government planning inspector, is due to start in March.
In the midst of this, LCY’s majority owners, US-based Global Infrastructure Partners, last summer put the airport up for sale for a reported £2 billion ($2.9 billion) price tag.
This has alarmed LCY’s largest user, BA, which believes that a new owner will have to raise landing charges to recoup its investment. In a warning shot across the bows of any prospective buyer, BA’s parent company, International Airlines Group, said 3 February that it would pull some or all of its flights if charges rose.
“Any potential new owner for London City should be left in no doubt that British Airways can move flights elsewhere if it ramps up airport charges to fund its investment,” it said. “BA’s customers will not swallow increased fares to fund unrealistic returns for a monopoly airport supplier.”
BA’s CityFlyer division operates 13 Embraer E190s and six E170s from LCY. BA mainline handles the LCY-JFK service.
New owners might question whether BA would really pull the plug on an airport whose passengers include an unusually high proportion of last-minute bookers who pay top rate for the privilege. However, as trade unions have discovered to their cost in the past, bluffing in a poker game with IAG’s no-nonsense CEO Willie Walsh is a high-risk strategy.
Meanwhile, unrest has also arisen from new, nationally-mandated area navigation (RNAV) regulations, which will have the effect of funnelling aircraft departing LCY into a tight corridor to improve efficiency. Anti-noise campaigners say this will create ‘noise ghettos’ for those underneath it.
Ironically, complaints are coming not from the airport’s immediate surroundings, probably because some 85% of the airport’s 2000 employees come from Newham, one of London’s poorest boroughs. Instead, mutterings have arisen from suburbs a few miles from the airport, over which climbing aircraft will pass at an altitude of a few thousand feet.
LCY can probably overcome this problem. Whether it can do the same with Mayor Johnson’s refusal to allow expansion lies in the hands of the government inspector.
Posted on January 10, 2016
Just before Christmas the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that it had given London City Airport permission to concentrate its flight paths.
The change is due to come into effect on February 4th.
But HACAN East is consulting with lawyers about the possibility of a legal challenge
If the flight paths are introduced:
Most days Bow, Leyton, Leytonstone, Wanstead, Redbridge, Barkingside and Collier Row will get all the departures from the airport. Thamesmead will be badly hit by arrivals. All these areas will be hit about 70% of the time in a typical year: the days a west wind is blowing.
When the wind comes from the east all the departures will go over Barking Riverside, Dagenham and Hornchurch. And all the arrivals will go over Sidcup, New Eltham, Mottingham, Catford, Forest Hill, Dulwich Village, Herne Hill, Brixton, Stockwell and Vauxhall.
Although these changed flight paths are due to come in on February 4th, most of the communities that will be affected have not been told about them.
The information is hidden away in:
http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/Module%20B%20final.pdf (page 26 indistinct map for South London and p27 for Thamesmead).
And in http://publicapps.caa.co.uk/docs/33/B05-LCAL_A_ConsultationDocumentIssue1.0.pdf (page 24 for Dagenham and page 26 for Leyton and Leytonstone).
For more details on this and the background behind the changes, see our blog: http://www.hacaneast.org.uk/2016/01/when-injustice-becomes-law-rebellion-becomes-duty/
Campaigners from London City joined those from Heathrow and Gatwick air today to deliver a joint letter to Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, demanding a voice for residents in flight path changes which are expected to be introduced over the next few years. Campaigners have asked for a meeting with the Transport Secretary.
Read the letter here: Gatwick Heathrow and City Airport Flight Path Letter to DfT
The letter is not about new runways. There are differences amongst the campaigners on whether a new runway is needed and, if so, where it should be.
The move followers anger from residents at the changes to flight paths which have taken place over the last couple of years. Protest groups have sprung up around Gatwick in response to the changes to both arrival and departure routes. The recent trials at Heathrow sparked a record number of complaints. And in East London furious residents staged public meetings at not being proper consulted about London City’s proposals to concentrate flight paths.
The airspace changes are part of a Europe-wide programme to make more effective use of airspace and are now impacting the whole of the UK. They are designed to enable airlines to save fuel, to allow aircraft to land at and depart from airports more efficiently. In the UK Gatwick and London City have been earmarked as first in line for the changes. Heathrow is expected to have its changes in place by 2019 with national changes by 2020.
Residents fear that the changes will result in excessive concentration of aircraft along selected routes. They are particularly critical of NATS (National Air Traffic Control) and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority), the two organizations who are driving the changes.
John Stewart, who chairs HACAN East, the organisation which gives a voice to residents under the Heathrow flight paths, said, “NATS and CAA are remote from residents. They plan these flight path changes in their hi-tec ivory towers. Our letter to the Transport Secretary contains positive proposals for flight paths that could work for both the industry and for residents. They involve providing all residents with some respite from the noise. HACAN is actively engaging with Heathrow to see what can be done. But it does require NATS and the CAA to play ball”.
Stewart added, “London City Airport have been much less willing to engage with us and seem content to simply do what NATS asks them even if it means the creation of noise ghettos.”