Now City Hall wants to ground London City Airport expansion over noise and air pollution
PUBLISHED: 12:00 02 October 2019 | UPDATED: 13:48 02 October 2019
Opposition is stacking up against London City Airport’s expansion with a scathing attack from the London Assembly insisting that people in the flight path are entitled to “have a weekend break” from aircraft noise.
The Assembly's environment committee has joined growing protests with a formal objection to the airport's draft Master Plan for the next 15 years to increase flights by expanding into the weekend "respite" period.
There are no landings or take-offs at the Royal Docks runway from lunchtime Saturday to lunchtime Sunday — but all that could change if the Master Plan gets the green light.
"We oppose any increase in City Airport's operational hours," the Assembly's environment chair Caroline Russell said. "Londoners who constantly have planes flying over need their weekends.
"We have found aviation noise and disturbance are a huge concern for those living under flight paths and have huge impact on the lives of Londoners.
"The expansion whittles away the short break people get from aircraft noise."
City Hall's condemnation follows objections from both Newham and Tower Hamlets local authorities which each declared a "climate emergency" earlier this year.
Newham's Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz called the airport's initial public consultation event "fundamentally flawed" in August over how emissions would be tackled.
The airport wants to double the flights by ending the weekend "noise break" and adding more early morning and late evening landings and take-offs, while saying it recognises "the challenge of climate change".
An airport spokesman said: "Our record on air quality, noise and carbon reduction demonstrates that we take our environmental responsibilities seriously. Our aim is a step change in sustainable aviation, while meeting continued demand and unlocking significant local economic benefits."
But the London Assembly's environment chairwoman insists "quality of life should be priority over commercial gain", while the Hacan East campaign fighting for communities in the flight path across east London says the expansion isn't justified because of noise and air pollution.
The consultation deadline is October 18, but the eventual application to Newham Council to expand flights could be grounded by growing opposition with this week's added weight from the London Assembly.