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.

UPDATE: City Airport Planning Inquiry - HACAN East gives evidence

City Airport Public Inquiry - Update

 

HACAN East chair calls for insulation to match the best in Europe

John Stewart, chair of HACAN East issued a call on Friday 18 March for London City Airport to provide insulation for many more residents, to match the best noise mitigation of all airports in Europe. The call came during the opening week of the Public Inquiry into the airport’s expansion plans.

We are calling for City Airport to offer compensation for residents that match the levels offered by the best airports in Europe. If expansion goes ahead, the number of people overflown by City Airport planes will be higher than that of any airport in the UK, other than Heathrow and Manchester.  Airports like Frankfurt or Charles de Gaulle in Paris are twice as generous with the insulation schemes offered to residents as London City.

City Airport wants to expand in order to allow more air traffic movements.  Newham Council, the planning authority, gave permission for the airport to expand in February 2015, but this was overturned by Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, on noise grounds the following month. The airport appealed against the Mayor’s decision.  The result is this public inquiry.  

Lawyers for the Mayor argued in the opening week of the Inquiry that City Airport should compensate more people than it is prepared to do in the event of expansion happening.

HACAN East remains firmly opposed to the expansion.

The Inquiry sits at City Hall and is expected to last until April 7.

More information about the Inquiry can be found at http://lcy-appeal.persona-pi.com/index

 

Below are our submissions of evidence to the Inquiry.

HACAN East’s opening statement

Evidence of John Stewart

Evidence of Alan Haughton

 

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