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Assembly calls for changes to City Airport airspace to prioritise Londoners over profit

PUBLISHED: 15:32 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:32 14 August 2019

City Hall has called on decision-makers to prioritise Londoners over airport profit as City puts forward new plans to modernise its airspace. Picture: Ken Mears.

City Hall has called on decision-makers to prioritise Londoners over airport profit as City puts forward new plans to modernise its airspace. Picture: Ken Mears.

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City Hall's environment committee has called on airspace decision-makers to prioritise the health and wellbeing of Londoners over the commercial interests of City Airport.

The call comes as a national effort gets under way to modernise the UK's airspace to improve things like efficiency. The Civil Aviation Authority is the body in charge of that process.

With airports responsible for designing airspace routes under 7,000 feet, City has released a draft document outlining what it wants the new design to do.

Among the "musts" is the maintenance or enhancement of safety and airspace that provides "sufficient capacity to support future demand".

Among lower priorities, things the new design "should" achieve, is minimisation of CO2 and noise, as well as lower air pollution.

Different groups and organisations are now responding to the plan.

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Assembly Member Caroline Russell is a Green Party politician and chairwoman of the environment committee.

She said: "According to the Civil Aviation Authority, there are already 331,000 people overflown by flights arriving at City Airport, and 416,300 overflown by departures, all under the altitude of 4,000 feet.

"The damaging effect of aircraft noise on Londoners' lives can no longer be ignored.

"The London Assembly is recommending that any changes to airspace and flight paths at London City Airport prioritise the health and wellbeing of overflown Londoners, over and above the commercial interests of the airport."

A spokesman for London City thanked the committee for its response, adding that air capacity is vital for jobs, to support business and to encourage trade and tourism.

"As London's most central airport, we know we have a responsibility to be a good neighbour, which is exactly why we are participating in this airspace modernisation programme, which is anticipated to result in quicker, quieter and cleaner journeys.

"We have also previously highlighted evidence to the environment committee of the extensive work we are doing with airlines, manufacturers, air traffic control services, and other stakeholders, to actively limit noise and mitigate its effects."

The airspace document comes as City is also consulting on its draft master plan, which calls for more flexibility for early and late flights, and during the 24-hour weekend break.

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