HACAN East Advice: Legal challenge to decision to concentrate flight paths unlikely to succeed

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

EXPANSION PUBLIC INQUIRY: HACAN EAST’S STATEMENT OF CASE

 

HACAN East will be giving evidence to the Public Inquiry in March 2016 where London City Airport’s appeal to expand was refused – on noise grounds – by the Mayor of London.

London City wants to expand the taxiways, build bigger parking bays for the aircraft and expand the size of the terminal to allow bigger planes and more passengers to use the airport.

You can read HACAN East’s Statement of Case here:

HACANEastStatemnetOfCaseFinal

CAMPAIGN GROUP TO TAKE ON AIRPORT AT PUBLIC INQUIRY

 

Local campaign group Hacan East has been granted Rule 6 Status at a planning inquiry assessing whether or not City Airport should be granted permission to expand.

‘Rule 6 Status’ means the group will be recognised as a formally involved party at the Inquiry, due to begin in March.

The other Rule 6 parties are the Mayor of London, Newham Council and London City Airport.  Their statements of case are below.  The Public Inquiry will be held in March next year.  It follows the Mayor of London’s refusal to approve City Airport’s expansion proposals on noise grounds (1).

The Airports wants a bigger terminal and new taxiways to allow bigger planes to use the airport which would enable it to serve destinations further way  – places like Moscow and Istanbul – in addition to the short-haul destinations it mostly serves today.

On receiving the news that the Planning Inspectorate had granted the group Rule 6 Status, HACAN East Chair John Stewart said: “This will be the chance for a residents-led group to go face-to-face with City Airport bosses to question them on their expansion proposals, which would inflict unacceptable noise and air pollution on east Londoners.”

Newham Council granted planning permission in February but Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London directed the council to refuse such permission.(1)

(1) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/boris-johnson-ditches-200m-london-city-airport-expansion-plans-10137328.html

Statements of Case (the arguments the different bodies will be putting forward at the Public Inquiry).  HACAN East’s will be available at the end of September.

London City’s: FULL STATEMENT OF CASE – STATEMENT OF CASE 15 5 15 FINAL

Mayor of London Statement of Case – 19 August 2015 APPG5750W153035673

Newham’s: Statement of Case on Behalf of the Local Planning Authority (Final) 19.8…

LONDON CITY AIRPORT UP FOR SALE

 

Press Release

 6/8/15 for immediate use

 London City Airport up for sale

London City Airport is to be put up for sale at the end of the year, its owners, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), announced yesterday.  GIP is looking to get £2 billion but airport’s value could be limited by its recent failure to get planning permission for a £200m development that could increase the number of passengers it handles to 6m by 2023.

London City won planning permission for expansion from Newham Council in February, but this was then overturned by Boris Johnson, the mayor of London, the following month over noise concerns. London City is appealing against the mayor’s decision. A Public Inquiry will take place in March next year but the outcome is not likely to be known until summer next year by which time GIP hopes to have completed the sale.

GIP has always argued that expansion was essential to the future of the airport because the extra terminal and taxiway capacity would allow bigger planes needed to open up the airport to more distant destinations, such as the Gulf, the Middle East, Russia and North Africa.

Local campaign HACAN East published a report last year which argued that there would be more economic benefits to the area if the airport closed.  The report by the New Economics Foundation found that the economic and employment benefits the airport brought to East London were small in comparison to other new developments in the area.

John Stewart, the chair of HACAN East, said, “When Crossrail opens Docklands and the City of London, the key business markets London City serves, will be within half an hour of Heathrow.  We will be pressing developers to seize this chance to buy the airport and use the valuable land it occupies to build developments which would enhance the local economy without all the downsides of noise and pollution that the airport has brought.”

ENDS

 For more information:

John Stewart on 0207 737 6641 or 07957385650

CITY CAMPAIGNS UNITE WITH HEATHROW AND GATWICK TO CALL FOR RESIDENTS’ VOICE TO BE HEARD OVER FLIGHT PATH CHANGES

 

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.”